MEDFORD -- The pilot of the helicopter that crashed, killing him and country music star Troy Gentry, hovered for 10 minutes while he reviewed his options and waited for first responders to get on scene before he attempted an emergency landing, according to 911 calls.
Gentry, one half of the country duo Montgomery Gentry, died after the helicopter crashed on Sept. 8. He was scheduled to perform at the airport and resort later that evening.
The helicopter's pilot, James Evan Robinson, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had taken Gentry up in the helicopter for a "spur of the moment" ride, officials said.
A preliminary National Safety investigation into the incident determined that the helicopter crashed after experiencing a mechanical failure.
Employees at the Flying W Airport and Resort placed three calls to 911 that afternoon. In the first, the airport's manager tells the the dispatcher that she plans to close the airport so the pilot can land on the runway <a href="www.ctdonut.com/marlboro">Cheap Cigarettes Free Shipping</a>, but wants to wait for the fire department before giving the pilot the OK to do so.
The manager calls back a second time, inquiring about the fire department's response time.
"I have a helicopter hovering. He's going to make an emergency landing," she told the dispatcher. "I just want a fire truck here before I let him land."
In a third call, a man from the airport says it's been 10 minutes since the first call was placed, and that no one had arrived at the scene yet <a href="www.cheapusacigs.com">Newport Cigarettes</a>.
"I have a helicopter emergency. The fire department has been notified already," he said. "I'm curious about when they're getting here."
"We just dispatched them," a man answered. "You guys didn't give us an ETA of when the chopper was coming in. They're volunteers, so. but we did dispatch them <a href="www.sellcigarette.com">Marlboro Menthol</a>."
Medford Fire Chief Thomas Thorn said there was a delayed response that day after Lumberton firefighters were first dispatched <a href="www.cigarettesonlinesale.com">Marlboro Cigarettes</a>.
"This is unusal," he said, explaining that calls from the airport, which sits between Lumberton and Medford, prompt responses from both departments. Because Lumberton's fire department is comprised of volunteers, they generally take longer to arrive, while Medford has full-time staff that can respond immediately during the day.
Once Medford's firefighters received the call, they left the station within two minutes, Thorn said.
Still, he said, it's unlikely first responders could have assisted much at this type of scene, where impact, rather than fire and smoke, fatally injured Gentry and Robinson.
He also said this is his first time in 30 years with the department that he can remember being called to the scene before a plane or helicopter crashes, as the department usually responds to the scene after a craft is down.
"We were kind of blown away," Thorn said.
While there's little to nothing firefighters could have done to keep the situation from turning fatal, it's also unclear what the pilot could have done differently.
"It's like most of these aviation accidents," said Ladd Sanger, a Dallas-based aviation lawyer with Slack Davis and licensed helicopter pilot who has experience with the type of helicopter Robinson flew that day. "There are a series of things that contribute to the outcome. [The throttle issue] set the sequence of events in motion. That's definitely not on the pilot."
With only a preliminary crash report, there's no concrete explanation of what caused the fatal crash, and Sanger said it's unclear whether the risky, emergency autorotation landing method was performed poorly, or if there was an additional tranmission failure that made the crash landing inevitable.
While several options were discussed once Robinson realized there was a problem with the helicopter, he chose to kill the power and perform an autorotation, rather than a run-on landing.
"While we train for them, [power-off autorotations] are a high-stress event," he said. "You have very little margin for error, and everything happens quickly."
What strikes Sanger about the report, he said, is the fact that the helicopter attempted to land on the runway, but ended up in a field area nearby. If an autorotation was properly initiated over the runway, it's unlikely the helicopter would have crashed that far away <a href="www.cigarettesss.com">Tobacco Shop</a>, he said.
As for hovering and waiting for the fire department to arrive, Sanger said he can see both pros and cons in making that decision. While firefighters can sometimes save lives at crashes with a quick response, continued hovering can further damage the engine, depending on what type of mechanical issue has occurred.
"If it was a transmission issue, the longer that you let that run, the worst things are going to be," he said. "But it's unclear without knowing what the underlying mechanical issue is <a href="www.wholesalecheapcigarettes.com">Marlboro Lights</a>. It's easy to sit here after the fact and second-guess anybody."<br/>Related articles:<br/> <a href="http://officialguccimane.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-is-the-best-wing-design-for-a-jet-fighter-aircraft">Buy Cigarettes Online Cheap</a>
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