On November 1, 1996, at 2100 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N1216T, was substantially damaged when it collided with a visual approach slope indicator (VASI), while landing at the Norwood Memorial Airport, Norwood, Massachusetts. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Niagara Falls, New York, at 1825. An instrument flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot rented the airplane at the Norwood Memorial Airport (OWD), and flew it to Niagara Falls with two passengers. During the return flight, he flew the OWD localizer approach to runway 35. The OWD control tower was closed, and the ATIS stated that the pilot controlled lighting (PCL) was in operation. The pilot stated that he was not able to activate the PCL, and performed a go-around. During the go-around he was able to activate the runway lights, which included the VASI for runway 35.

He further stated:

"...This ride was smooth and aligned with LOC (localizer), and VASI. I had full flaps and reduced power at about 100 feet. A few seconds later I saw an animal (I believe a deer) just on the runway, and abruptly turned left, but did not pull up. By the time I leveled the wings out, I was hitting the VASI, and then landed on the grass..."

The Norwood Police report stated that there were tire marks in the grass for approximately 300 feet before the VASI lights. It also stated that examination of the airplane revealed "...damage to both wings and tail. There was also a large amount of mud on the underside of the plane..."

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