A new report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) gives new details of the helicopter crash that killed country star Troy Gentry.
On Sept. 8, Gentry took a helicopter ride with a helicopter instructor on a New Jersey airfield where Montgomery Gentry was scheduled to perform later that evening. According to the NTSB report, the ride was a pleasure cruise that also aimed to give Gentry an orientation of the airfield prior to the concert.
The helicopter company’s chief flight instructor was in contact with the pilot during the malfunction.
“Several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported over the airport UNICOM frequency that he was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs,” reads the report. “He reported he could “roll” the twist-grip, but that there was no corresponding change in engine rpm when he did so.”
The instructor and the pilot discussed a few emergency options for landing. The piloted opted for a maneuver that involved shutting off the engine from nearly 1,000 feet above the ground and entering autorotation in an attempt to land on the runway.
“…the helicopter was quiet during its descent ‘because the engine was off.’ During the descent, the rotor rpm decayed to the point where the instructor could see the individual rotor blades. The helicopter descended from view prior to reaching the runway threshold and the sounds of impact were heard. Both instructors reported that a high-pitched “whine” could be heard from the helicopter during the latter portion of the descent.”
According to the report, the pilot was up to date with his training and held both commercial and instructional pilot certificates. In April, he was issued a second-class medical certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration. In total, he’d logged 480.9 hours of flight experience, 300 of which were in the helicopter’s same make and model.
As for the helicopter, its last 100-hour inspection was reportedly completed in August. The aircraft was built in 2000 and had logged nearly 7,900 aircraft hours.
Troy Gentry is missed dearly by his fans, family, friends and greater country music community. A public memorial will take place on Thursday (Sept. 14) at the Grand Ole Opry.