I thought that this would be an interesting topic that got me to check my pants after this incident. Brief Background of me and the aircraft: I had about 200 hours at the time, the aircraft is a 2005 Cessna 172R NavIII G1000. Took place at KRFI Rusk County Airport, Texas
I was doing some pattern work in the later part of the afternoon/early evening during the Summer of 2016. I had been in the pattern for about 30 minutes, and got about 8 landings in during that period. From the pictures that you can see, there is a tree line that surrounds the airport but there is no fence. The only fencing on the field is that near the main entrance of the airport and near the service road which are not visible in the pictures.
Fast forward a few minutes, I’m on left downwind for Runway 35 for Touch and Goes, advising traffic in the area to communicate with me. I was also informing those around me my intentions. By the time, I turn base, and final for Runway 35, I have the aircraft on speed, the aircraft fully configured. Everything was going perfectly, until I heard a massive “THUD”. I knew right off the bat, that something had happened and it was not good. With quick thinking, I aborted the touch and go, advising Unicom at the time of my intention, and pulled off the runway immediately. Fortunately/Unfortunately, depending on how you look at this, this airport, KRFI, is a Class E. This airport was not as busy with air traffic, and I was the only one utilizing the runway at the time. There was no tower, or emergency personnel etc.
As I stepped out of the aircraft and turned around to the approximate point that I hear the “Thud” you will see that from the picture that I struck a Deer, yes a Deer. I have blurred out the photo for those that may be sensitive to this. (There is no blood) The damage to the aircraft was done, but not as significantly as one would expect. The left main strut, and the prop, missed the animal completely…thank god, but the horizontal stabilizer was not as fortunate. There were some other pilots that were in the lounge when they saw the incident occur. Their quick thinking was helpful as they called the Department of Wildlife to the scene. In the first picture you can see the truck. I had to fill out paperwork, and a bunch of other not so fun stuff.
In a situation like this, it is imperative that one maintains control even through a crash, collision, whatever you want to call it. Making the right decision to abort a takeoff rather than continuing was the right call as you could see from the damage done to the horizontal stab. If you have made it this far in this anecdote, you will understand where my username for the forum has now come from. 😉
Both images are watermarked by me and were taken by me.