Pilot Reported Throttle Trouble Before Troy Gentry’s Fatal Helicopter Crash
The official preliminary report about the helicopter crash that killed Montgomery Gentry singer Troy Gentry says the pilot reported trouble with the throttle prior to the fatal accident.
Gentry died when the helicopter he was riding in crashed just a few hours before a concert Montgomery Gentry were slated to perform in Medford, N.J., on Sept. 8. 911 audio emerged showing the vehicle experienced mechanical issues before the crash.
According to a preliminary report the National Transportation Safety Board released Wednesday (Sept. 13) , pilot James Evan Robinson said that "he was unable to control engine RPM with throttle inputs" when he radioed for help, adding, "He reported he could ‘roll’ the twist-grip, but that there was no corresponding change in engine rpm when he did so."
The 30-year-old pilot reportedly hovered while waiting for emergency crews to arrive before attempting to make a forced landing at the Flying W Airport in Medford using "a power-off, auto-rotational descent" from an altitude of 950 feet. The helicopter's rotors slowed so much that witnesses to the crash could see "the individual rotor blades," the report states.
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An earlier press report stated that part of the investigation the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting will focus on whether the pilot should have attempted a landing instead of hovering and waiting for assistance. The preliminary NTSB report does not assign blame or pinpoint the cause of the crash.
Local police video forwarded to investigators shows the helicopter going into what "appeared to be a descent profile consistent with an autorotation," the report further states. "Toward the end of the video, the descent profile became more vertical and the rate of descent increased before the helicopter descended out of view. No sound could be heard from the helicopter."
Gentry and Robinson both died in the crash. No other passengers were on board. The preliminary reports says Gentry decided to take the helicopter ride at the last minute to get the lay of the land before the show later that night.
Country music turned to social media to mourn Gentry's death. He will be laid to rest with a public celebration of life at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on Thursday (Sept. 14), followed by a private burial.
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