Deer bends Cheetah

Aircraft: Grumman Cheetah Injuries: None. Location: Ray Township, Mich. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, the landing was normal and uneventful, but during the roll out he noticed noticed two deer on the left side of the runway.

One of the animals ran across the runway and into the left wing of the airplane. The  airplane veered off the side of the runway onto the grass.

The pilot applied full power and raised the flaps in an attempt to go around, but the airplane hit a runway light shearing off the nose gear and crushing the lower engine cowling.

The underside of the fuselage and the right horizontal stabilizer were also substantially damaged.

Probable cause: The airplane’s collision with a deer that ran in front of the airplane during the landing roll.

NTSB Identification: CEN12CA419

This July 2012 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.


  1. Doug says

    Clever poetry aside, why in the world did the pilot attempt a takeoff from the grass AFTER hitting the crossing, spooked deer which caused a veer of the AA5A off the made runway into the grass? In an accident, fly the airplane to the end of it, not takeoff with unknown aircraft damage. The pilot had already landed normally on the runway before the deer ran into it.

    • Tom says

      Yes, Doug you are most astute,
      To have noticed the obvious errors,
      The pilot’s decision to gun it,
      Placed him in abundant peril.

      So what’s the moral of this sad story?
      Is it inevitable that these things come to pass?
      Careful prayer can produce so great a glory,
      To God and prevented this crash.

  2. Tom says

    The pilot was not in the clear,
    When he made the approach that day,
    Too bad some wandering deer,
    Ruined his airplane – now he’ll have to pay.

    But I don’t understand of this happening,
    As a deer in the wild is no match,
    For a Cheetah that’s hell bent on landing,
    On his prey – it’s a usual catch.

    Must have been some revengeful spirit,
    That drove that deer to his maker,
    Some refuse to understand about it,
    A need to put evil spirits way down under.

  3. Brett Hawkins says

    What!? Surely the pilot was at fault for (a) not getting out to shoo away the deer prior to landing, (b) failing to establish radio contact with the deer to coordinate use of the untowered field, and/or (c) getting out of bed and going flying without obtaining all information necessary for a safe flight.

    NTSB is falling down on the job these days.

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