Small Plane Strikes Deer on Alabama Airport Runway

Feb. 3, 2006
The plane was forced to fly on and make an emergency landing in Birmingham.

BESSEMER, Alabama_A small airplane struck a deer while attempting to land on the runway of the Bessemer airport, forcing the plane to fly on and make an emergency landing in Birmingham, Alabama.

The pilot of the single engine plane was warned about a herd of deer on the runway before a landing attempt Wednesday evening, said Abe Alibrahim, the airport owner. The plane avoided most of the herd, he said, but struck one of the animals with its landing gear.

The aircraft continued onto the Birmingham International Airport, about 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) away, where the four-seater Cessna 172 Skyhawk landed safely. The pilot, the only person aboard the plane, was uninjured, said Patty Howell, spokeswoman for the Birmingham airport.

The plane's landing gear was "significantly damaged," she said.

Alibrahim said a similar incident occurred at the Bessemer airport four to six years ago. The airport is enclosed by a fence.

Such incidents involving wildlife are not uncommon, especially on runways in rural areas, said Paul Turk, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Turk said the FAA has been notified about the incident in Bessemer.

"It usually works to the disadvantage of the deer," he said.