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NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Troy Gentry’s Fatal Helicopter Crash

Troy Gentry helicopter crash 911 audio
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its preliminary report on Troy Gentry’s fatal helicopter crash on Sept. 8. The report’s findings expand upon initial reports that the helicopter pilot experienced mechanical issues prior to crashing.

Per the NTSB report, Gentry took a ride in the helicopter at Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, N.J., to get a lay of the land prior to Montgomery Gentry‘s scheduled Friday night concert. However, “several minutes” after takeoff, the pilot, James Evan Robinson — who was also killed in the crash — radioed to report “that he was unable to control engine RPM with throttle inputs.”

“He reported he could ‘roll’ the twist-grip, but that there was no corresponding change in engine RPM when he did so,” the report explains. Two certified helicopter flight instructors were attempting to help Robinson determine what to do and how to land as safely as possible, and Robinson “elected to stop the engine and perform an autorotation, which was a familiar procedure he had performed numerous times in the past.”

Robinson maneuvered the helicopter — a Schweizer 269C-1 — to Flying W’s Runway 01. However, “during the descent, the rotor RPM decayed to the point where the instructor could see the individual rotor blades,” and the helicopter crashed prior to reaching the runway.

“The sounds of impact were heard,” the report explains. “Both instructors reported that a high-pitched ‘whine’ could be heard from the helicopter during the latter portion of the descent.”

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Robinson was certified as both a commercial and instructor pilot, the NTSB reports, and had received a second-class medical certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in April; that same month, he had also completed a competency check in the helicopter that crashed. He had logged more than 480 hours of flight experience, and more than 300 hours in the specific make and model of helicopter that crashed. Earlier on Sept. 8, Robinson had taken the helicopter out for a 1.2-hour flight.

The helicopter itself was manufactured in 2000 and had been flown for approximately 7,900 hours. It was most recently inspected on Aug. 17.

Gentry was removed from the wreckage at the scene but was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Crews worked for hours to remove Robinson’s body from the wreck.

“Known for his wide smile, Gentry was personally driven by faith, family and living life to the fullest,” Gentry’s official obituary reads. “One of his favorite Bible verses was Deuteronomy 31:6, which says, ‘Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.’”

celebration of life event in Gentry’s honor is scheduled for Thursday (Sept. 14). According to Average Joes Entertainment, Montgomery Gentry‘s record label, Montgomery Gentry had recently completed a new album.

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