Country music star Troy Gentry was killed on September 8 when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed.


According to a preliminary report, the chopper had an engine control problem, which led the pilot to attempt an emergency landing. To do so, the pilot had to shut down the engine, a process called autorotation, at about 950 feet in the air. The blades slowed rapidly and stopped as the aircraft disappeared from the sight of other pilots on the ground, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“Several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported over the airport UNICOM frequency that he was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs,” said a statement. “He reported he could ‘roll’ the twistgrip, but that there was no corresponding change in engine rpm when he did so.”

The helicopter plummeted from the sky around 1 p.m. and crashed into a field away from the runway. Gentry, 50, died at Virtua Hospital shortly thereafter. The pilot, 30-year-old James Evan Robinson, died at the scene. According to the NTSB, the pilot radioed the airport shortly after takeoff when he realized something was wrong. Another flight instructor monitored the situation from the ground, and discussed options with Robinson. Robinson opted for the “power-off autorotation descent,” which he had performed before.


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The helicopter had passed its 100-hour inspection on August 17, and had been safely flown by Robinson since. The Schweizer 269, built in 2000, had logged nearly 8,000 hours of flight time in its life.

Gentry was taking a sight-seeing flight from New Jersey before he was set to perform later that night. He was a beloved Nashville musician who performed as half of the group Montgomery Gentry for more than 15 years. Their hits include “My Town” and “Where I Come From.”

A memorial service for Gentry was held Thursday, Sept. 14 in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry. His bandmate Eddie Montgomery, as well as Keith UrbanTravis TrittRandy Owen, and Randy Travis were in attendance, among others. Gentry was laid to rest in Nashville.

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