NTSB: Troy Gentry helicopter crash caused by engine problems

Ethan Miller  Getty Images

Ethan Miller Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board says the helicopter pilot in the crash that killed country musician Troy Gentry was unable to control the helicopter's rotor speed using the twist-grip throttle.

On Wednesday, the NTSB published its preliminary report into Friday's fatal crash in Medford, New Jersey. But the aircraft soon went down and crashed in a wooded area near the airport.

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The helicopter never made it that far.

In autorotation, the helicopter's blades are turned by the air moving up through the rotor during descent. It began the maneuver about 950 feet above ground level and crashed about 220 feet short of the runway, according to the report.

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Radio communication between emergency responders and the pilot reveal that an emergency landing was in the works, reports Billboard. "Both instructors reported that a high-pitched "whine" could be heard from the helicopter during the latter portion of the descent". Earlier on September 8, Robinson had taken the helicopter out for a 1.2-hour flight. Gentry, the lone passenger, was cut from the wreckage and transported to Virtua Marlton in Evesham, where he was pronounced dead.

It also indicated that investigators examined the engine, but did not make any conclusions about what might have caused any mechanical problems before the crash.

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"Known for his wide smile, Gentry was personally driven by faith, family and living life to the fullest", read a statement for the late 50-year-old husband and father of two. The country duo was scheduled to perform at a concert at the airport later that evening.

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