Helicopter Crash That Killed Troy Gentry Caused By Engine Problems

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Helicopter crash that killed Troy Gentry caused by engine control problem

MEDFORD -- The helicopter that crashed, killing country music star Troy Gentry and its pilot, had an engine control problem that led the pilot to attempt an emergency landing by shutting down the engine, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot discussed the shut-down maneuver, called autorotation, by radio with other helicopter pilots on the ground at Flying W Airport and Resort in Medford, before he cut the engine at 950 feet, the NTSB found.

But the helicopter blades slowed rapidly and nearly stopped before the aircraft disappeared from the sight of the other pilots on the ground, the NTSB said.

The helicopter fell from the sky around 1 p.m. Friday and crashed in a field off the runway, according to the report.

Gentry was taking an sight-seeing flight on the helicopter at the airport, where he was scheduled to perform later that day. Gentry, 50, died at Virtua Hospital shortly after the crash. The pilot, 30-year-old James Evan Robinson, died at the scene.

Robinson reported mechanical problems shortly after takeoff, according to the NTSB report.

A flight instructor with Helicopter Flight Services, which operates the helicopter and runs a flight school at the airport, and another certificated helicopter flight instructor monitored the situation from the ground, and began discussing options with Robinson, according to the NTSB. 

Those included a "run-on landing" or a "power-off autorotation descent," which Robinson had performed in the past. 

Robinson elected to try the second option over the runway, and began the autorotation at around 950 feet in the air. 

The helicopter initially touched down about 10 feet away from where the wreckage was found, and nearly 220 feet away from the runway, the NTSB said. 

The helicopter, a Schweizer 269, was built in 2000 and had flown nearly 8,000 hours, the NTSB's report said. It had passed a 100-hour inspection as recently as Aug. 17, and was flown safely by Robinson, who had both commercial and instructor pilot certificates, for more than an hour earlier that day, according to the report. 

Gentry and Robinson took the flight on the sunny afternoon as a "spur of the moment" ride. 

Gentry was a beloved musician who performed as one half of Montgomery Gentry for more than 15 years. The band became famous for hits such as "My Town" and "Where I Come From." 

A memorial service for Gentry will be held Thursday at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. 

The information in the NTSB report comes from a preliminary investigation, and is subject to change. Final reports can take months or up to a year for the organization to complete. 

Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

 


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Source : http://www.nj.com/burlington/index.ssf/2017/09/helicopter_that_crashed_killed_troy_gentry_flew_sa.html

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