Lake Park second grade students, from left, Raylee Greeson and Emily Wilson, present a memory book in honor of teacher Brittany Kerfoot to Kerfoot’s mother Sherry Washington and her sister Natasha Golden.
ALBANY — The Lake Park Elementary School family received some closure Thursday when a tree was planted in the school’s garden in memory of second grade teacher Brittany Kerfoot, who was tragically killed in a plane crash less than a month ago at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.
That sentiment was at the heart of an ceremony at Lake Park Elementary School Thursday where second grade teachers, students and faculty came together to honor the memory of fellow second grade teacher Brittany Kerfoot, who was one of three area residents killed in a plane crash at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport less than a month ago.
The ceremony, which was organized by Kerfoot’s colleagues, centered around the dedication of a Little Gem Magnolia tree donated by Oak Pond Nursery and planted in the school’s garden by Jim Houldridge, and a commemorative plaque donated by Matthews Funeral Home.
“We just wanted to come together as a school family to celebrate and remember Ms. Kerfoot,” said Kerfoot’s fellow teachers Tay McEwen, Janna Fretwell and Annette Pinkston in a prepared statement. “She had such a big impact on her students and everyone she worked with. This was just a small way to honor that. And to keep a little piece of her here with us.”
Brittany Kerfoot, a second grade teacher at Lake Park Elementary in south Georgia was among three killed in a plane crash after takeoff in Albany, Ga. on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.
Also in attendance at the tree dedication were Kerfoot’s sister, Natasha Golden, and her mother, Sherry Way, both of whom accepted a framed picture signed by Kerfoot’s students and a memory book containing a messages from the entire second grade.
The Lake Park faculty and students at the ceremony also wore light blue t-shirts featuring the words “be stronger, braver, kinder,” what had become Kerfoot’s words to live by, according to her peers.
In commemorating the tree, McEwen, who had served as Kerfoot’s mentor, read a quote from Maya Angelou, explaining the impact Kerfoot had on her students, her fellow teachers, and the entire Lake Park family.
“I came across this quote from Maya Angelou,’” McEwen read. “‘I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Brittany had an amazing connection with her students. She made them feel important. She made them feel special. And she made them feel loved. For the short time that she was with us she left a lasting impression on so many little hearts. And for that we are grateful that she was a part of our Lake Park family.
“Ms. Kerfoot’s spirit, her energy, her enthusiasm and how she made people feel, will be greatly missed, but we will never forget that about her. We’re proud to dedicate this tree today to Ms. Brittany Kerfoot. Though her time with us was brief, her spirit is forever rooted in our hearts and this will remind us all to be strong, braver, and kinder.”
After those remarks the students in Kerfoot’s class released into the air blue balloons, that featured messages the children wanted to send to her.
“She touched so many lives,” said Lake Park Elementary School Principal Kenosha Coleman. “She had a great impact on the staff here as well as her students. It’s always difficult to lose a staff member, but today we’re hoping that this could be a day that we could just remember her and be joyful and rejoice and keep her spirit alive.”
Although the loss of her sister is painful, Golden said the love and support she has received from the teachers and students at Lake Park has been important to her and has helped ease her pain.
“They have been excellent,” said Golden. “Mrs. Coleman has been wonderful keeping in contact with me and letting me come up here if I needed to. Lake Park really has been awesome.”
Golden also said it was a thrill for her to see what kind of influence her sister had on her co-workers and her students.
“It’s incredible to see the impact that she had,” Golden said. “I’ve always known she was a good teacher, but I didn’t realize how many lives she impacted.”
Thursday’s ceremony also had a positive impact on Kerfoot’s students, who were finally given some measure of closure, and their parents, who have had the difficult task of talking to their children about loss in the wake of Kerfoot’s death.
“This is just a beautiful way to remember her,” said Ashley Hutchins, whose son David was in Kerfoot’s class. “It’s good that the kids can have closure and yet also remember her each time they come out here (to the garden). And now they can also carry her memory with them.”
Original article can be found here: http://www.albanyherald.com
NTSB Identification: ERA16FA097
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 30, 2016 in Albany, GA
Aircraft: BROOK AARON D LANCAIR IV P, registration: N401PT
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On January 30, 2016, at 1445 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair IV-P, N401PT, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (ABY), in Albany, Georgia. The commercial pilot, pilot rated passenger and one additional passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
Witness reports indicated that the airplane taxied to the beginning of runway 22 at ABY, and lifted off within the first 1,000 feet of the 6,601 foot-long runway. The airplane began to bank sharply immediately after takeoff, and reached a 90-degree bank as it climbed to treetop height. The witness was not certain if the bank was to the right or left; however, the airplane then began to pitch downward and descend, while maintaining the 90 degree bank until it struck the ground.
A witness located about a quarter mile north of the accident site reported that the airplane sounded "normal" until shortly before impact, when the engine noise became louder.
The airplane impacted a grass field about 1,900 feet down the runway, and 280 feet to the right of the runway centerline. The wreckage path extended from the initial impact ground scar along a heading of 270 degrees, and was 170 feet long. A position light with green lens fragments and the right winglet were among the debris found closest to the initial impact scar. Both wings were separated from the fuselage at their root, and were fragmented along the wreckage path. The left wing tip and winglet were found about 130 feet along the wreckage path. The main wreckage area included the empennage, which was largely intact, with severe fire and impact damage forward of the rear seats. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were fractured about mid-span with the outboard portion displaced forward. The elevator trim tab was found slightly trailing edge down. The rudder trim tab was found slightly trailing edge right. The engine mounting structural tubes were fractured and the engine was found inverted. The propeller hub separated from the engine flange, and one of the three blades separated from the hub. All three blades exhibited some bending in the aft direction from about mid-span outward, and each had showed some amount of twisting deformation.
The engine power turbine blades were intact and exhibited slight bending at their tips and rub marks at their roots. The engine casing was displaced and twisted, and the engine could not be turned by hand at the starter or the propeller shafts. After removal of the planetary gear system, the propeller shaft turned easily and did not exhibit any evidence of twisting.
Examination of the airframe revealed that the main landing gear were retracted, however the position of the nose landing gear could not be determined. The position of the flaps could not be determined. Pitch control continuity was confirmed from the elevator though push-pull tubes to the aft cabin area. The elevator moved freely. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the rudder through a push-pull tube to the cable and bell crank assembly in the empennage. The rudder was free to move, however both cables exhibited binding as a result of fire damage. Both ailerons had separated from their respective wings and were found fractured and fire damaged. Both cockpit control sticks remained connected to their control tubes, however continuity from those tubes to the remainder of the control components could not be confirmed due to impact and fire damage.
A portable global positioning system receiver was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination.
A witness reported that as the occupants embarked, the pilot/owner was seated in the left front seat, and the pilot rated passenger was seated in the right front seat. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot reported 1,000 hours of flight experience at the time of his most recent third-class medical examination which was performed on January 20, 2015.The pilot rated passenger held airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates, and he reported 6,750 flight hours of experience at the time of his most recent FAA second-class medical examination, which was performed on July 8, 2015.
According to FAA records, the airplane was equipped with a Walter 601 series turboprop engine and issued an experimental airworthiness certificate in April 2002. It was purchased by the pilot on December 10, 2015. Initial review of maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent condition inspections of the airframe and engine occurred on October 29, 2015, and both were found to be in satisfactory condition.
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11