Less than a week after the January 26 crash that killed basketball star Kobe Bryant and eight others, long-time aviation industry critic, California Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Thousand Oaks), introduced legislation to mandate terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) on all helicopters. In a press release accompanying the announcement of the “Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant Helicopter Safety Act,” Sherman declares, “Had this [TAWS] system been on the [accident] helicopter, it is likely the tragic crash could have been avoided.” The press release does not cite evidence for this claim.
Sherman’s bill would also “establish a commission on helicopter safety and require a report to Congress on best practices for helicopters in cases of low visibility.”
This is not the first time Sherman has introduced helicopter legislation. In 2011 he co-sponsored the “Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act” which would have mandated flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopters within the Los Angeles basin, proposals roundly criticized as ineffective, unworkable, unsafe, and ultimately rejected following thorough evaluation by the FAA in 2013.