On July 23, 2001, about 2215 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N48228, was substantially damaged during take-off from Gallis-Meigs Regional Airport (GAS), Gallipolis, Ohio. The certificated flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a telephone interview, the instructor stated that he and the student pilot had completed two take-offs and landings on runway 5. For the third take-off, they decided to use runway 23, since the wind was calm. He reported that the landing, beacon, strobe, and navigational lights were turned on, and the runway lights were activated. In a written statement, he said:

"Upon full short field run-up, released brakes, checked engine gauges, airspeed was alive, centerline maintained, contacted deer near rotation of Vr 50 knots. Neither student or instructor saw deer. Instructor verbalized 'his airplane', and brought aircraft to full stop on runway 23 with a full shutdown already being executed immediately upon contact. Exited aircraft, checked damage, towed aircraft with tow bar to ramp (to clear runway). Looked for deer with flashlight. No signs of deer, just patches of hair on sharp cracked plastic on elevator."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector had a certified airplane and power plant mechanic examine the airplane. In a written statement, the mechanic stated:

"The tailcone in front of the horizontal stabilizer has all the rivets sheared on the right side, of course this has sprung and distorted the tail cone skin. The dorsal fin (in front of the vertical stabilizer) is bent and distorted. The right side of the horizontal stabilizer has damage to the tip, including the spar."

Runway 23 was a 3,998 feet long by 75 feet wide asphalt runway that was equipped with medium intensity runway lights. The runway lights were available 24-hours a day and were pilot controlled.

A review of published information about Gallia-Meigs Regional Airport revealed that deer and birds are reported to be on and in the vicinity of the airport.

Weather at Huntington Tri-State/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS), Huntington, West Virginia, at 2215, was wind from 120 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, and sky clear.

The flight instructor reported a total of 525 flight hours.

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