On Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report on the September 8 helicopter crash that killed Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentry and the helicopter’s pilot, James Evan Robinson. The report states that, several minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported that he was unable to control engine rpm with throttle inputs. After discussing his landing options with the company flight instructor and another certified flight instructor, the pilot elected to perform a “power-off, autorotational descent to landing,” a procedure he had performed “numerous times in the past.” According to the report, witnesses say that the helicopter entered the autorotation maneuver at an altitude of roughly 950 feet, and the rotors slowed so much that the individual rotor blades could be seen.
The report states that the cockpit was “significantly deformed by impact damage, and the tailboom was separated at the fuselage.” No flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which, according to the chief flight instructor for the operator, was provided as an “orientation/pleasure flight” to Gentry who was scheduled to perform at the airport later that night. The full preliminary NTSB report can be seen here.