Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Landing plane hits deer at P’ville Airport, rolls off hill


DAMAGE TO THE PROPELLER and landing wheel of a Beechcraft Bonanza G35 can be seen on the aircraft that was parked at the Placerville Airport Tuesday morning. Democrat photo Pat Dollins

From page A1 | December 11, 2013 | 9 Comments

Mike Hickox was refueling his plane after night operations at the Placerville Airport on Dec. 1 when a man, identified only as “Nate,” walked up to him. Nate, Hickox said, had just hit a deer with his plane upon landing, causing the plane to crash down the side of an embankment on the left side of the runway. Nate, however, seemed no worse for the wear.

The Placerville Airport confirmed that a Bonanza aircraft had indeed hit a deer and ended up down an embankment. “No one was hurt, the plane lightly rolled” down the embankment, a spokesperson said. The airport was unable to give out any information about the pilot. The airport, however, was able to confirm the tail number of the plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza G35, owned by Jonathan Stong of Placerville.

At about 6 p.m., Hickox was approached by Nate, Hickox said, who asked if his Emergency Locater Transmitter had gone off.

“The ELT goes off anytime a place crashes and provides a beacon for other aircraft to find it,” Hickox said. “I then turned my radio to frequency 121.5 to see if his ELT was activated and sure enough it was.”

Nate borrowed Hickox’s flashlight to go turn the ELT off. After parking his own aircraft, Hickox went to investigate. He “walked out to the crash site and saw the aircraft which was not visible from the runway surface as it was down the embankment about 30 feet below runway level and 100 feet off the left side of the runway. The Bonanza was nose-down with the tail extending up, quite a sight no one wants to ever see — especially a pilot like myself.”

Hickox called the other pilot a “true hero,” as “Prior to my flight, Nate was able, in a matter of minutes after the collision with deer and going off the runway, to walk back up the embankment and clear the remains of the dead dear off the approach end of runway 23. I took off for my night operations shortly thereafter not having any idea a collision had taken place.”

Discussing the incident, Nate told Hickox “that there needs to be some strong measures to have the deer removed from the airport operations area as the airport is now fenced in and somehow they have been able to get inside the fenced area,” Hickox said. He added his own opinion, that the deer “have been inside the area for many years but this is the first time I heard of a collision between an airplane vs deer even though I’ve seen them around the airport.”


Discussion | 9 comments

  • Love to spend your money...December 10, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    Uh, oh...looks like we'll need to build a deer tunnel under the runway...

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  • Jody WillsDecember 11, 2013 - 10:01 am

    That's a good one, Love to spend your money!

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  • Jim RiordanDecember 11, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Mtn Dem: . . . perhaps Mr. Hickox was misquoted. There is no "runway 23" at Cameron Park . . . The runways are now and have always been 31 and the reciprocal, 13 . . .

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  • R.j. CarterDecember 11, 2013 - 10:05 am

    Hey Jim...Last I heard you didn't use runways..LOL....Just teasing ya buddy.....Happy holidays to you and yours..

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  • Jim RiordanDecember 11, 2013 - 11:19 am

    Hey RJ . . Merry Christmas Bud. Yup, when you can't make it to 31 or 13, you can always glide to "50" . . worked for me!

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  • Jim RiordanDecember 11, 2013 - 11:57 am

    OOops sorry Mtn Dem, PLACERVILLE does indeed have runway 23 . . .and a nice hill to run down. A friend had called and said it happened at Cameron park . . NOT. I have seen LOTS of deer crossing the runway at Placerville during the day, and night, and had a few near misses with them over the years. Nate was lucky. BTW, Nate is the City Engineer for Placerville.

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  • rDecember 11, 2013 - 5:52 pm

    The new 8 foot fence around pville airport cost taxpayers over 3 million dollars. A county person said it was paid for by FAA to keep the deer from causing problems! Hello... the fence is now built .. but no one herded the deer out of the enclosure??? Having used Pville runways for years, I have maintained the new fence had nothing to do with deer, it is about TSA working under the DHS umbrella for THEIR security in the future. This aircraft accident proves my point... no authority gives a hoot about the deer.

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  • EvelynDecember 12, 2013 - 8:27 pm

    r: About that extravagantly expensive new airport fence, some info, please. A friend who uses the airport says the old fence was perfectly good and kept the airport secure. True/False? Further, several months ago I was told that with the new fence put in by the County the airport no longer is secure. Lack of gates, or some such (I've forgotten). True/False?

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  • JimBoDecember 12, 2013 - 8:19 pm

    The Beech Bonanza is built like a tank, kind of stout like the King Airs. I'd be surprised if the deer even scratched it.

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