I’m incredibly biased here. I love Kobe Bryant, and I have for decades.
That’s why I find it immensely cool that the sporting great and his beloved daughter Gianna, both of whom tragically perished in a helicopter accident will be remembered on most flights into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), likely forever.
LAX Changes Navigation ‘Fixes’
‘Fixes’, not to be confused with waypoints are a series of map markers which help guide pilots into certain approaches for specific runways. They each have short names which are programmed into a flight computer to create a course of approach, and are often like ROBBR, GVINE, etc.
Well, LAX, the FAA and Southern California airspace has done something incredibly cool in honor of the one and only mamba, naming fixes on two of the more common arrival approaches into LAX as KOBBB, and JIANA. These replace JETSA and LIMMA.
Pilots and air traffic control will relay this messages on the vast majority of flights into and out of the airspace, stating things like “BA 286 approaching KOBBB inbound for runway 24R”. Yep, pilots will call out Kobe or Gianna’s name, to let air traffic control know they’re lining up into position for landing.
As noted by YMMV, passengers won’t specifically hear this unless they’re tuned into air traffic control, but aviation fans who use apps such as LiveATC, and anyone who flies in the airspace will hear daily reminders of these special lives lost and their contributions to Los Angeles, and the world at large.
Navigation fixes around the world can follow many amusing themes, from names of fish along the eastern seaboard to legends and odes to local attractions around the globe. It’s great to know that LA’s most impactful athlete, and that of his 13 year old daughter Gianna will always be on people’s minds, flying into or out of LAX.
I, for one, will fondly think of Kobe dunking over Steve Nash, smiling in a team USA uniform at the Olympics, or sitting court side with family whenever my plane starts lining up for an approach into LA Airspace. Well done, FAA and LAX. Mamba forever.