Country singer Troy Gentry was killed in a plane crash on Sept. 8, 2017, and the crash has now been determined to be the fault of the pilot flying the helicopter, the National Transportation Safety Board made public on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Gentry and the pilot were the only people on board the craft, and both of them died in the crash, which occurred near the runway of the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, New Jersey. Gentry was scheduled to perform later that evening at the airport's resort with his bandmate, Eddie Montgomery, who was waiting at the airport when the crash occurred.
The report states that seven minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported that he was not able to control engine RPM with throttle inputs. Engine maintenance problems were also named as a contributing factor in the crash.
"The pilot's early entry into and failure to maintain rotor rpm during a forced landing autorotation after performing an engine shutdown in flight, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent," the report reads, via the Tennessean. "Contributing to the accident was the failure of maintenance personnel to properly rig the throttle control tie-rod assembly, which resulted in an in-flight separation of the assembly and rendered control of engine rpm impossible."
"I began to see individual blades instead of a translucent disc," a helicopter flight instructor who was present at the time and communicated with the pilot through radio transmissions, told the NTSB, via the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.
"During the descent, the rotor rpm decayed to the point where the instructor could see the individual rotor blades," the report stated. "The helicopter descended from view before reaching the runway threshold, and the sounds of impact were heard."
After Gentry's death, Montgomery was determined to honor his late bandmate's memory by continuing to make music, and Montgomery Gentry released a new album, Here's to You, in 2018.
"It's been tough," Montgomery previously told PopCulture.com of losing Gentry. "I ain't gonna lie about it. It's been on the heart — me and T. have been through a lot together. Me and T. put this together; it wasn't Nashville put together. This was two buddies and two friends, two brothers who ran up and down the road and had each other's backs and got in a lot of trouble sometimes and done a lot of stuff we shouldn't have done and loved it. And a lot of it I'd like to do over again."
Photo Credit: Getty / Matthew Eisman