Cessna 172 hits deer during night landing

The pilot reported that, while landing at night at the airport in Princeton, New Jersey, the Cessna 172 hit two deer on the runway. He added that he did not see the deer on the runway during the approach and landing.

The airplane suffered substantial damage to the right horizontal stabilizer.

The FAA Airport Facility Directory, for the accident airport, in part stated: “Deer and birds on and [in the vicinity of the airport].”

The pilot stated that the airport’s fencing was intermittent, and that deer were frequently seen in and around the airport. The airport manager added that the airport’s perimeter fence only covered the eastern and southern perimeter and that a deer strike occurred at least once every two years.

According to the FAA Wildlife Strike Database, the last reported wildlife strike occurred on April 10, 2012. The FAA maintains a comprehensive program to address wildlife hazard through a database and a reporting strike form.

Probable Cause: A collision with deer on the runway while landing at night and the airport’s lack of a complete perimeter fence.

NTSB Identification: 99032

This February 2019 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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