Animals Are Attacking US Airways, Run For Your Lives

“No injuries were reported when a passenger jet hit a deer Wednesday evening while taxiing at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport,” reported the Charlotte Observer. An airport official told the paper that it was a “freak accident.”

Calls to CEO Doug Parker inquiring as to what he did to piss off Mother Nature were not made.

It happened shortly after 7:30 p.m., when US Airways Flight 3215 arrived from Nashville and was taxiing on Runway 36C, according to the FAA. The pilot was directing the craft to a gate when it hit the deer.

The plane, an Embraer 175, was carrying 53 passengers and a crew of three.

The only casualty was to the deer, which did not survive.

US Airways plane hits deer at Charlotte/Douglas [Charlotte Observer]
(Photo:Travelin’ Librarian)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Yossarian says:

    A deer that couldn’t escape an airplane taxiing to a gate probably wasn’t long for this world anyway.

  2. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Rifle season may have ended a week ago, but bows, muzzleloaders, and props are still okay.

  3. jamar0303 says:

    Deer? In an airport? Don’t they watch for those kinds of things? I mean, the birds and the Hudson were one thing, but a deer is quite another.

    • Canino says:

      @jamar0303: Unchecked they breed like rabbits and are as hard to eliminate as coyotes – and they adapt to suburban environments. Tough to get rid of all of them in every pocket of green space.

      • floraposte says:

        @Canino: Plus they pretty much fly like geese. I don’t think any fencing is really deer-proof, just temporarily lucky.

      • damitaimee says:

        @Canino: its true.

        deer come down every single night from the hills behind my neighborhood and eat the grass from the park.

        it’s really weird to go for a night walk and suddenly see a huge family of deer running back to the hills.

      • cordeliapotter says:

        @Canino: Yeah, but aren’t all airports surrounded by electric fences? Otherwise what’s all the security theater for?

        • Canino says:

          @cordeliapotter: Yeah, but aren’t all airports surrounded by electric fences?

          I don’t think so…too much liability I’m sure. I think they’re just regular high fences with barbed wire at the top.

          • Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

            @Canino: Most airports don’t even have barbed wire. Most rely solely on the deterrent that it’s a federal crime to do just about anything at an airport.

            Unfortunately, deer can’t read. Maybe there’s an earmark in the stimulus package to help rectify this.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @jamar0303: I remember an airport in Ireland where sheep were grazing butt up against the runway. Made me totally nervous. (But that whole airport experience was lot a wacky sitcom that jumped the shark.)

      @Canino: And in many suburban environments, hunting isn’t a popular pastime and is seen as “cruel”, and there can be protests against attempts to cull the population. Which is sad because then the deer just starve.

      • Tmoney02 says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Which is sad because then the deer just starve.

        or get hit by cars and possibly suffer slow death. Or in this case planes.

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @Eyebrows McGee: Clearly the solution is to re-introduce their natural predators.

        • Canino says:

          @David Brodbeck: Clearly the solution is to re-introduce their natural predators.

          Hello, zoo? This is Charlotte/Douglas Airport. Do you have any extra bears we can borrow?

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @David Brodbeck: THEY TOTALLY DID THAT in the forest preserve where I grew up! Suburban parents kept objecting to hunting licenses (with some merit, as the preserve backs up to tons of grade schools and it only takes one stray bullet to end in tragedy), but also to the department of natural resources doing culling … so they brought in coyotes, which people had weirdly little problem with. Until they started carrying off toy poodles from backyards. Oh well.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @jamar0303: you’ve apparently never been to Charlotte, NC
      on my way home from work, i see deer along my street about once a week, and come upon one standing in the middle of the road about once a month. (i’ve learned to go well below the posted speed limit on the road)

      • Con Seannery blames Obama for Facebookers says:

        @Gstein: Oh yeah, deer are all over the place around my house near Greensboro, too. Not as prolific as it sounds like near you, though. Thank God for hunting to keep the population under control.

  4. Segador says:

    Laughing as I imagine looking out the window of my plane and seeing the back end of a deer sticking out from the engine.

  5. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    US Airways promptly charged each person on the plane a $25 fee for keeping them safe from the deer.

  6. larrymac808 says:

    D’oh! A deer!

  7. smashedpotats says:

    Uncle Jimbo: “It’s heading right for us!”

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This reminds me of a Bill Engvall joke (I was bored, it was this or watching static) about how he was on a plane, and the plane accidentally hit a deer on the runway. He calls his wife, tells her what happened, and she says, “Oh my God! Were you on the ground?”

    But on topic, Dulles International over here is a massive area of runways, fences, side roads and access paths for vehicles, but there are also a good amount of woods. You can’t guarantee every wooded area is wildlife free.

  9. swedub says:

    Just yesterday there was a stray dog loose on the runway/tarmac at Miami International airport …


    The article doesn’t say much about the outcome but the local news mentioned the dog getting tired and laying down. So it was eventually caught.

  10. AceEdit says:

    What I would like to know is how the deer got through the security fences. It could have been a terrorist deer!

  11. Davan says:

    Deer : The new, Improved suicide bomber!

    • orlo says:

      @Davan: Seriously, how does a dear have access to the runway when ticket-holders barely are allowed to get on the plane because of security checks

  12. nicemarmot617 says:

    You’d think the absurdly loud noise of plane engines would be enough to scare the stupid deer back into the woods. Bird hits make sense – birds are scared by a loud noise, they fly up. Apparently deer like to head into danger.

    • Katxyz says:


      I live in an area with a huge deer population, and they used to people and cars and are not afraid at all. I had a friend whose car was charged and severely damaged by a buck when he stopped to let it cross the road, and I’ve heard of other cases of similar things happening. And even when deer are skittish, their only response is to start running in any direction, including directly in front of whatever they’re afraid of. They get disoriented amazingly easily.

  13. Wild Monkey says:

    Shortly after 7:30pm. Is this a case of deer caught in the headlights?

  14. nbs2 says:

    what is it with US and accidents? things are being handled well and the people are safe, but at some point you just have to wonder if this is karma for the way they’ve been treating their passengers for years…

  15. econobiker says:

    Tim Bedore has commentary about the animal conspiracy:


  16. hills says:

    I think they probably meant to say, “No human injuries were reported…” – I imagine the deer didn’t run off unscathed after being hit by a plane….

  17. ekthesy says:

    It’s a geese-suckin’ deer-crushin’ flying machine!

  18. K-Bo says:

    Not all US Airways planes they are aiming for, just ones headed into Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. That’s where the last one was headed too. Coincidence? Or evil plan?

  19. El Gato en mis Pantalones says:

    Oh deer! too easy?

  20. superdantx says:

    The BUCK stops here!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Bird Strikes and animal strikes happen almost daily at US Airports. If you go to the FAA’s website about wildlife hazard mitigation,, you can read the stats on some of these strikes. For example in the past twenty years there were 14 strikes between alligators and aircraft in Florida; if you look for deer you can find that in all fifty states there was at least one strike attributed to a deer and there was a total of 811 strikes between the years 1990 and 2008. Think about that for a second.
    The only reason we are hearing more about these strieks is that the media is playing it up post USAIR 1549 accident. All the media is doing with stories like this is stirring up fear.

  22. f86sabre says:

    Stuff like this happens all the time and all over the world. Aircraft, especially the newer ones like the Embraer, are really very quiet at low power setting when you are anywhere except directly in front or behind the engines. Combine that with darty animals and things happen. Sadly, people also get hit, run over or sucked through engines on a pretty regular basis.

    Want to see what a buffalo does to a plane?

  23. nevets68 says:

    I figured a easy solution for the overpopulation of deer and geese at airports.

    The kind folks @ setup speed dating at the airport tarmacs. Seeing couples walk arm in arm with a ruger mini 14, taking pot shots at deer on the tarmac.

    “I met Jeb @ Charlotte/Douglas International airport. I knew it was love at 1st site when he took down that 10 point buck with .270”.

  24. BMRFILE says:

    I say pick it up, take it home and dress it. But they’ll charge me baggage fee for it.

  25. Psychicsword says:

    I am surprised I haven’t seen a snakes on a plane reference.

  26. Smorgasbord says:

    I’m surprised PETA hasn’t filed a class action lawsuit against the airline industry for killing or injuring the animals they do.

  27. Anonymous says:

    i do a bit of flying at the local airport, its surrounded on 3 sides by farmland , and one by a river. We generally have to keep out wits out on landing , taking off and taxiing for any animals/birds that can get in the way.
    Since about september of last year a pack of coyotes have started using the runways as nice places to catch birds and small prey. They love walking down the runways.
    I have a few times had to overshoot because of them. And yes a cessna-172 is very fun to fly at 5 feet above ground level chasing coyotes off the runway.

  28. jwissick says:

    This is what happens when there are not enough hunters and not enough areas for hunters to go. Overpopulation of the herds and flocks.

    Take up hunting. Keep the skies and roads safer for everyone.

  29. egoods says:

    “The only casualty was to the deer, which did not survive.”

    That’s not redundant, or repeated!

    Seriously though, what kind of self respecting animal can’t get out of the way of an airplane going AT MOST 25mph.

  30. vladthepaler says:

    Doesn’t “dead deer” count as a “reported injury”?