Pilot Killed in Troy Gentry Crash Was Instructor with Two Years of Experience: He 'Loved What He Was Doing'
The pilot of the ill-fated helicopter that crashed and killed country singer Troy Gentry is being remembered fondly by those who worked alongside him
According to his Facebook profile, Robinson worked as a commercial pilot and flight instructor at Helicopter Flight Services, which was based out of the Flying W.
The company paid tribute to Robinson in several posts on the social media network, writing,”It is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to our dear friend. May God shine his light on you and keep you safe in his arms. God speed Evan, you will always be in our hearts. Many prayers and love to his family and friends.”
Helicopter Flight Services added in the comments of one Facebook post, “[Robinson] lived in heaven here on earth. Loved what he was doing.”
According to the FAA, Robinson – originally of Georgia – received his commercial pilot license to operate a helicopter in August 2015. In January of this year, he received his flight instructor license, and last underwent a medical exam in April.
Helicopter Flight Services is an FAA-approved helicopter flight school that offers private, instrument and commercial training, according to its website. They also offered sightseeing tours of Atlantic City, Philadelphia and New York City, and have “over 20 years of professional flying and instructional experience using the Schweizer 300 fleet.”
Brian Rayner, senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, tells PEOPLE that the helicopter ride is being preliminarily described as “impromptu, spur of the moment.”
Gentry, 50, was scheduled to perform with Montgomery Gentry at the Flying W on Friday night.
“Not long after takeoff, the pilot announced over the airport frequency – which was being monitored by a number of people – that he was having difficulty controlling engine RPM,” said Rayner. “A couple of different responses to that challenge were discussed, and he was performing an auto rotational descent to runway one.”
Continued Rayner, “The helicopter landed short of the runway in low brush, it was substantially damaged and the occupants were fatally injured.”
In a statement about the tragic accident, the Flying W said, “The day started with such excitement as the Montgomery Gentry bus rolled through our gates. The nicest people got off the bus and joined us on the ramp for what we hoped would be the best concert we have ever had. Sadly this was not to be.”
“Instead the day turned to tragedy as a helicopter accident took the lives of the pilot and Mr. Gentry. No words can describe the sadness that the Flying W employees feel for the families.”
Neither the Flying W Airport nor the Helicopter Flight Services immediately returned PEOPLE’s requests for comment.