Kylie Jenner’s Connection to the Pilot in Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant’s life was cut short on Sunday, Jan. 26 when he died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He and eight others had been en route to a nearby city for a basketball tournament when the chopper smashed into a hillside and caught fire. The accident killed all nine passengers.

The news sparked thousands of tributes on social media, with many celebrities speaking out and paying their respects. Among them was Kylie Jenner, who mourned the pilot and said she knew him personally.

Kylie Jenner on the red carpet in 2016
Kylie Jenner on the red carpet in 2016 | Michael Stewart/WireImage

Who was the pilot in Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash?

The pilot at the reins of the fatal Sikorsky S-76B has been identified as Ara Zobayan, 50. He was an experienced flier who was very familiar with Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Zobayan reportedly received his commercial license in 2007 and had raked in more than 8,000 flight hours before the accident.

He was known to fly celebrities around, including NBA star Kawhi Leonard.

Outside of work, sources described Zobayan to CNN as an “affable and exacting” person.

“He was kind of a mild-mannered guy,” said Zobayan’s neighbor Angie LaPorte. “Always pleasant but never super talkative.”

“There’s a reason that people wanted to fly with him,” pilot Jared Yochim added. “He was just a cool, calm guy.”

On Jan. 26, Zobayan, Bryant, and seven others left Orange County and headed to Thousand Oaks, California for the game. The chopper reportedly encountered a thick fog after it took off and crashed a short time later.

As of writing, investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident.

Kylie Jenner’s post about the helicopter crash

Shortly after the news of the accident surfaced, the Kylie Cosmetics star posted a touching tribute to her Instagram Story. She shared a photo that included each of the victim’s faces and sent her condolences to the families affected by the crash.

“Rest in peace … and prayers to these families,” Jenner wrote (via Us Weekly). “I still can’t believe this.” That was the helicopter I would fly on from time to time with that pilot, Ara. He was such a nice man. Hold your loved ones close.”

Zobayan reportedly flew Jenner and her niece Dream Kardashian around California back in November 2019. Jenner detailed the moment in multiple posts shared to her social media pages.

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Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding

A post shared by Kylie Jenner Stories (@kyliejennersnapsongs) on

Kylie Jenner’s post created drama

Blac Chyna, who shares Dream with Rob Kardashian, allegedly had no idea that Jenner took her daughter on the helicopter ride — and was pissed to hear that she did so without asking her.

On Jan. 28, Blac Chyna’s lawyer, Lynne Ciani, shared a statement with Entertainment Tonight on her client’s behalf that said:

“Chyna has become aware that Kylie Jenner is using the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, his beautiful daughter, and seven other precious souls to profess her ‘distress’ that she and Dream had ridden on the same helicopter with the same pilot prior to Sunday’s horrific crash.”

“What Kylie failed to disclose was that Chyna never gave Kylie permission to take her precious daughter Dream on a helicopter ride and that Chyna never would have given Kylie that permission.”

“No parents should find out after-the-fact that their child has participated in a dangerous activity without their permission. Chyna was distraught to learn that Kylie had taken Dream on that helicopter ride in November 2019. [She] voiced her strong objections to Rob [Kardashian] and insisted that it never happen again. Chyna sends her heartfelt prayers and condolences to all of the families impacted by yesterday’s tragedy.”

Oops.

Hopefully, everyone can keep the peace in such a horrific moment. This surely isn’t the time for any drama.