Kobe Bryant's pilot had special permission to fly Sunday morning. His final exchange with air traffic control could be a key clue to the crash

  • Moments before the crash, the pilot received SVFR clearance -- or special visual flight rules clearance, according to audio recordings between the pilot and air traffic control.
  • Pilots sometimes request SVFR clearance mid-flight if weather conditions suddenly change, CNN transportation analyst Peter Goelz said.
  • After the pilot requested special permission to fly through the area, the helicopter circled for 12 minutes until air traffic control approved SVFR clearance, Homendy said.
  • When the pilot flew into the Burbank and Van Nuys airspace at 1,400 feet, he requested radar assistance to avoid traffic, Homendy said.
  • But air traffic control said the helicopter was too low to be able to get that assistance.
  • Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach for a private school in Corona del Mar, California, was also killed in the crash.

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