When retired basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in early 2020, the basketball world, and its fans, reeled.
Since then, several tributes have been made to honor the shooting guard who spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Amongst them were these standouts:
- The NBA All-Star Game MVP Award was permanently renamed the Kobe Bryant MVP Award
- The Italian city of Reggio Emelia, where Bryant lived for several years during his childhood, renamed a plaza, “Largo Kobe and Gianna Bryant”
- A 3-mile portion of Los Angeles’ Figueroa Street, which runs outside the Lakers’ home court at the Staples Center, was renamed as, “Kobe Bryant Boulevard”
And now the FAA has done their part to honor the basketball legend.
But first some basic (VERY basic) background about flying a plane…
As pilots fly, they’re advised what to do by the air traffic controllers (ATC) in the area. This information – what height to fly and which path to follow, among other things – helps ensure the pilots won’t run into other planes, bad weather, etc. Planes are equipped with maps, GPS & ILS (instrument landing system) (all of which can be updated via download, same as a car), to make it easier to follow the paths they’re assigned (it’s usually done automatically nowadays, once coordinates are plugged in after such communication).
As they approach the airport, ATC then advises pilots which runway to use, and how/where/when/etc. to approach it, again, to avoid collisions with other planes that are also approaching the airport (think of ATC being like being a traffic signal at an intersection, but with many, many more moving parts). Each of these paths they’re told to take have what are called “fixes” along the way, which are arbitrary points in space used to establish positioning. Each fix is assigned a name.
Welp, the FAA has announced they have renamed two of the final approach fixes for the most common approaches into Los Angeles International Airport.
Formerly known as JETSA and LIMMA, the final approach fixes for runway 24R’s and 25L’s ILS approaches will now be known as, respectively, KOBBB and JIANA to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
From Pilot Edge, on Facebook:
From LAflyer on Facebook:
— LAflyer (@LAflyr) February 26, 2021
The software updates are available for download.
Passengers, of course, will have no idea of when/if this is happening. But from now on, ATC and pilots will be saying Kobe’s and Gianna’s names every day.
*** Many thanks to Julio & Mikal, who taught me the BASIC basics of “plane stuff” on those flights during our TN/NC weekend in 2019, and to Tereen who made sure my “one step further” was right.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary