Piper Cherokee vs. Bambi leads to substantial damage

We have written about incidents involving emus, dogs, rabbits, wild pigs, turtles, bulls and even cat fish either running, hopping or slithering across runways but General Aviation news has recently mentioned an October 2010 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident report that involved a Piper Cherokee and a deer on a runway. According to the accident report, the flight was a cross country night flight with a student pilot and a CFI. After landing at the destination airport in Titutsville, Florida, the pair taxied back to the runway in order to practice more flying in a traffic pattern.

However and as the aircraft was on a takeoff roll, the CFI noticed a deer (no doubt with the deer in the headlights look!) right in front of the aircraft on the centerline. Hence, the CFI took control of the aircraft as it began to climb and a loud bang was heard.  After that, the left rudder pedal was looser than normal and there was no brake pressure in the left toe brake.

Before attempting to make a landing, the CFI made a few low passes to confirm from the control tower that the left landing gear was damaged. When a final landing was attempted, the left wing hit the ground – resulting in substantial damage to the left wing spar but no human injuries.  No word about the deer but since there was no mention of an obstruction on the runway when the Piper Cherokee came in for a landing, we can probably assume that Bambi survived!

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