Helicopter In Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant Previously Owned by State of Illinois

By Benjamin Cox on January 26, 2020 at 8:13pm

The helicopter’s information page on Helis labels it as “VIP Governor.” The winning bid for the helicopter was $515,161 in 2015.

The helicopter crash that took the life of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna has ties to the State of Illinois.

According to a report by Capital News Illinois, the helicopter was a part of a fleet of aircraft sold by former Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015 to save the state money on operations and maintenance costs.

The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter was built in 1991, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft registry. The state of Illinois used it from 2007 to 2015, according to the helicopter information database Helis. The state had previously tried to sell the aircraft in 2014 but it received no bids.

Under Rauner’s direction, the helicopter and four other aircraft were sold for $2.5 million on the state’s online auction website Ibid. Both the aircraft and its two engines had just under 4,000 hours of airframe time when the copter was sold.

At the time of the crash, the registered owner of the helicopter was Island Express Holding Corp of Van Nuys, California, which registered it a month after it was won at auction.

A public information officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services did not return any information to Capital News Illinois on the aircraft’s previous service in the state.