Airplane collides with cow

Aircraft: Cessna 182. Injuries: None. Location: Roundup, Mont. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land on a dirt road. He overflew the area, noting a group of cows nearby before entering a left-hand pattern.

During the landing flare, the pilot saw a cow approaching from the left. He attempted to swerve to miss the animal but was unsuccessful and hit the cow.

Despite the pilot’s attempts to regain control of the aircraft, the airplane continued to the left, landed hard, bounced, and settled back onto the ground, resulting in substantial damage.

The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from an obstacle during the landing flare.

NTSB Identification: WPR11CA439

This September 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it isintended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.



  1. says

    Sounds like this dude was in “utter disbelief!
    The cow plans on suing the airport, Cessna , and the pilot in a personal injury case.
    Who said cows were dumb?
    NOTE: Rumor has it the “cow” also will be a featured guess at the local Hooter’s once she is released from the animal hospital!
    The farmer (her owner) also is getting into the act: he’s getting an “exclusive” to be her agent for 25% of all show event fees!

  2. says

    I believe that we at Kissimmee, Florida have the “distinction” of being the first government anywhere to make a law concerning avaition. In 1911 an aircraft hit a cow here, generating the ordinanace. With a brahma bull on our city seal, and being the location of largest annual rodeo east of the Mississippi, can you guess who the law favored?

  3. Mária says

    “Injuries: None”? Did it not say “hit the cow”?

    Not blaming the pilot at all: clearly an unfortunate, true accident; clearly he did all he could to minimize injury to all concerned. Glad the gentleman was OK; hope he tells this story, especially to student and new pilots, as a great real-world learning tool.

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