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Deer Strike 5-15-2008
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Today was a beautiful day for flying. The winds were calm and the sky was blue with clouds floating around at 9,000' with temps hovering at 70F. I departed KSTE and climbed to 11,000' for an hour of flying on top and enjoying the beautiful view. I began a spiral descent to KSTE and entered a left downwind for 21, turned base and then set up on final with about a half mile to touch down. I kept power about 50% and lowered the speed brake. This allows me to keep the nose low enough to see the runway all the way to touchdown which gives me a 70 mph touchdown speed. Anyway, my wheels had just touched the pavement and I remember thinking to myself "now that is the way to land a KR" when on my left, I seen a deer jump up from the grass on the side of the runway and ran away from me. I then returned my focus to the runway and all of a sudden, a second deer was on the right side of the runway and bolted right in front of me. I had absolutely no time to react and in a split second, the deer's head hit my spinner. Now that had to hurt. The prop struck the left side of the deer's body and he rolled under the plane, striking my right cowl and continuing to go under the right wheel. When the deer rolled under the wheel, the right wing abruptly rose sending me toward the left side of the runway. I threw in full right aileron and brought the wing down before the left wing tip hit the pavement. This however, raised my left wing and sent me toward the right side of the runway. Somehow, I managed to gain control of the airplane and came to a stop right on the centerline. My first thought was "I rolled to a stop so at least the gear did not collapse. Once I had everything shut off, I began inspecting the plane and realized just how fortunate I was to come out as good as I did. Fortunately, the engine was at idle as I had just chopped power before hitting the deer. Unfortunate for the deer, he will now be the main course of a BBQ party. One thing I did not realize was my ELT activated and sent out a signal for an hour before I turned it off. At least I know the ELT works. So, now it's back to fabricating a new cowl and having to sand again. I hate sanding....