The NTSB yesterday published its preliminary report on the crash that killed country music star Troy Gentry, one half of the popular country music duo Montgomery Gentry. The fatal crash took place after the helicopter’s commercial pilot, James Evan Robinson, shut down the non-throttle-responsive engine and attempted an autorotation to the runway at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey. The Schweizer crashed short of the runway and was destroyed in the crash.
While numerous mainstream media outlets are reporting that the NTSB has issued a statement on the cause of the crash, the Board’s Thursday release was its standard preliminary factual report, though it did go in to greater detail than most such reports do, no doubt based on the high visibility of the passenger. Gentry was 50 years old. Also killed in the crash was the commercial pilot flying the helicopter, James Evan Robinson, 30.
Numerous reports say that the flight was a spur of the moment affair to give Gentry a sightseeing flight before his concert at the airport later that evening.
After finding the engine was non-responsive to throttle control, Robinson called on the common frequency and spoke with two other helicopter pilots, discussing the options for the landing. One was autorotation with shutting down the engine, a maneuver that is simulated in standard practice in normal helicopter training. That is the route Robinson elected to take.
NTSB investigators checked the wreckage and found that both the engine and flight controls were functional at the time of the crash.