The pilot reported that, during the landing flare at Falcon Field (KFFC) in Atlanta, as the main landing gear touched down, he saw three deer run across the runway from the right to the left and “directly under the plane.”
He added power and increased pitch for a go-around, but was not able to clear the animals. He heard and felt an impact under the Piper PA23.
He looked at the left engine mirror and observed the nose landing gear “dangling.” He decided to abort the go-around, so he reduced power and landed back on the runway. The nose landing gear collapsed.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The FAA Airport Facility Directory page for the airport, in part, stated: “Deer on and [in vicinity of] airport.”
Probable Cause: The airplane’s impact with a deer on the runway during landing.
Wildlife is a constant hazard at smaller, non-towered fields. Extreme vigilance helps but not is a solution. This pilot handled the impact well; minimized damage.
This May 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.