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Investigator Details the Moments Before Troy Gentry Helicopter Crash

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board offered a few comments that explain Troy Gentry’s fatal helicopter crash on Friday (Sept. 8).

An invitation to take a helicopter ride was a “impromptu, spur of the moment” decision says Brian Rayner, speaking to People. The pilot was 30-year-old James Evan Robinson, described as a man who loved his job. Gentry was set to perform a Montgomery Gentry show on Friday night in Medford, N.J.

“Not long after takeoff, the pilot announced over the airport frequency — which was being monitored by a number of people — that he was having difficulty controlling engine RPM,” Rayner says. “A couple of different responses to that challenge were discussed, and he was performing an auto rotational descent to runway one.”

According to several sites including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, an auto-rotational descent is when a helicopter hovers to the ground with no engine power. Upward force of the wind on the blades causes the rotors to spin.

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Robinson crash landed the helicopter short of the runway in a swampy area. There was substantial damage and both men were killed — Robinson at the scene and Gentry after he was transported to a nearby hospital.

 

Rayner also shared how further investigation will work, giving some sort of timeline of events and malfunctions. A preliminary report will be issued early next week, while the full report on the crash make take a year or longer to compile.

Robinson worked for Helicopter Flight Services, an FAA-approved helicopter flight school. People reports that he’d held his commercial pilot’s license since 2015.

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Next: Fans Can Stream Troy Gentry's Public Memorial

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