CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston flight instructor is being remembered two days after she was killed in a plane crash at Yeager Airport.
Brenda Gilland Jackson, who worked for Skylane Aviation, died Saturday afternoon, according to airport spokesman Mike Plante. The plane was owned by Skylane, a private company based out of Yeager that does flight training along with other aviation services.
Arrin Jay Farrar, 42, of Plymouth, Maine, was injured and remains in serious condition at Charleston Area Medical Center. He was taking training lessons as a student pilot.
“I had met Brenda, did not know her well, but you sort of feel it because she’s part of the Yeager Airport family,” Plante said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“I think all of us at the airport that knew her, or were aware of her, feel the gravity of the loss more acutely than you would in another kind of situation because of those bonds,” he added.
Jackson was inside the Cessna 172 Skyhawk four-seat aircraft that flipped over on Yeager’s runway 5 shortly after it took off at 12:08 p.m. A small fire erupted and the victims were pulled from the wreckage and taken to the hospital at 12:47 p.m., but Plante said it was a challenge to get them out.
“If you can imagine, the plane is on its back and so they’re suspended in their harnesses, their safety belts upside down, so the weight is on the harnesses, weight is on the buckles. I think there was also some leaking fuel and stuff like that,” he explained.
Plante said he did not want to speculate exactly where Jackson was inside the aircraft — if she was operating the plane or was in the passenger seat — but did say a report from the National Transportation Safety Board would provide more specific information.
“The NTSB is doing its work now. They’ll issue a preliminary report in about two weeks and then hopefully within about two to three months after that they’ll issue their final finding,” he said.
The investigation began Monday. NTSB Investigator Dan Boggs is in Charleston for the next few days to figure out a probable cause for the accident.
Yeager Airport is operating on a normal flight schedule.