By Joe Beck
A small airplane was heavily damaged in a crash shortly after noon Sunday at Winchester Regional Airport.
The two occupants of the aircraft left the aircraft unassisted and were uninjured.
State police and airport officials said the plane, a Cessna 195B, was attempting a landing at about 12:10 p.m. when the pilot saw deer run across the runway and swerved to avoid them.
"I know the pilot did exit the runway and strike a runway light and airport guidance sign," said David Foley, airport operations supervisor.
The identity of the pilot was unavailable. The plane was registered out of Charles Town W. Va., but the flight originated in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Sgt. F.L. (Les) Tyler said the crash left the plane with a damaged left wing and landing gear.
Foley said the airport was closed for four hours after the crash. Two other flights into the airport were immediately diverted, along with several others later on, Foley said.
Foley said the Federal Aviation Administration investigated the crash but it may take several months to issue its findings.
Foley called the appearance of deer on the runway an "occasional" problem that the airport tries to limit with a wildlife management program.
"We do what we can to mitigate it, but it's like telling VDOT to get all the deer off the interstate," Foley said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com