Sunday, November 4, 2018

Cessna 140, registered to and operated by the pilot, N140X: Accident occurred August 30, 2017 in Empire, Washoe County, Nevada

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Fatal Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N140X

Location: Empire, NV
Accident Number: WPR17LA193
Date & Time: 08/30/2017, 1000 PDT
Registration: N140X
Aircraft: CESSNA 140
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 30, 2017, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 140 airplane, N140X, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing on a dirt road in Empire, Nevada. The private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Gerlach, Nevada, about 0930 and was destined for Bishop, California.

The pilot stated that about 20-25 minutes after departure, he smelled a bad odor and noticed the engine's oil temperature gauge was indicating that it was hotter than normal. In an effort to avoid having the engine seize while in flight, the pilot opted to perform a precautionary landing. He selected an empty dirt road that had an uphill gradient. After touchdown, the airplane bounced and a wind gust lifted the airplane to the right of the road. As the pilot applied full power, the right main landing gear wheel contacted the edge of the road and sheared off. The airplane could not out-climb the rising terrain of the road and the remainder of the right main landing gear dug into the dirt. The airplane made a 180o turn and came to rest with the right-wing tip on the ground. During the accident sequence, the right-wing spar was substantially damaged. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/10/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/18/2017
Flight Time:  1862 hours (Total, all aircraft), 32 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N140X
Model/Series: 140 G
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 11387
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1601 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 32 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C1B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 108 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The pilot reported that he had purchased the airplane in October 2014.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-C1B engine, s/n L-8106-15, and, according to the manufacturer, is rated at 108 horse power. According to the aircraft maintenance records and the recording tachometer in the cockpit, the engine had accumulated a total time in service of 302.4 hours. The pilot reported that the most recent annual inspection was completed in June 2017 equating to 32 hours flight time prior to the accident. The maintenance records were not provided. The Federal Aviation Administration's airplane records revealed that the engine was installed in June 1981. The facility that last overhauled the engine was located by the sticker on the engine. The records they had on the engine showed that the last overhaul was performed June 2015 after which, the customer picked up the engine (they did not perform the installation).

Fuel System Design

The airplane's fuel system was a gravity-fed design where fuel flowed from the 12.5 gallon metal tanks in the inboard section of each wing. The right tank was plumbed into the upper cockpit where there was a fuel shutoff valve. From the shut-off the fuel would flow to the selector. The left fuel tank was plumbed directly to the selector and from there the fuel would continue through the firewall to the gascolator and then to the carburetor.

The pilot reported that he had 20 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the accident.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRTS, 5053 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 53 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1715 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 206°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:  15 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: GERLACH, NV (88NV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: BISHOP, CA (BIH)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0930 PDT
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  40.462778, -119.366667 (est) 

The engine remained mounted to the airframe. An external visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of catastrophic malfunctions or failures. The exhaust muffler was pushed into the firewall and it could not be determined if this was a result of the accident sequence. The throttle knob in the cockpit was manipulated to the full forward and aft position which resulted in the throttle arm moving from stop to stop on the carburetor. The upper spark plugs were removed and no mechanical damage was noted; the electrodes and posts exhibited a dark coloration, which according to the Champion Spark Plugs Check-A-Plug chart AV-27, is consistent with a normal to rich operation. The crankshaft was rotated by hand utilizing the propeller. The crankshaft was free and easy to rotate in both directions. "Thumb" compression was observed in proper order on all four cylinders.

The propeller, damaged from the accident, was removed from the engine and a club propeller was installed on the engine. The gascolator bowl was removed from its attachment point; it contained blue liquid consistent with 100LL fuel. The gascolator screen was clear of debris.

The airplane was secured to a forklift and weighted down. A fuel source was attached to the left wing inlet port and the fuel selector was positioned to the left tank. The engine was successfully started and run for over 5 minutes at various power settings from idle to about 2,000 rpm. A magneto check was conducted on the left and right magnetos with an approximate a minimal rpm drop per magneto.

No mechanical anomalies were noted with engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The tailwheel appeared to be a Scott 3200 tailwheel with the bent style steering arm that was converted to a larger tire size. The tailwheel could be manually rotated clockwise to the stop, but investigators were unable to rotate the tailwheel completely in the counterclockwise direction. The control cables remained attached to the rudder pedals. The right control cable was catching and rubbing on a displaced fairing behind the pedals. It could not be determined if this was a result of the accident sequence or had occurred prior. The complete examination notes with pictures are contained in the public docket for this accident

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA193
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 30, 2017 in Empire, NV
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N140X
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 30, 2017, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 140, N140X, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing on a dirt road in Empire, Nevada. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight originated from Gerlach, Nevada about 0930 with a planned destination of Bishop, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed

The pilot stated that about 20-25 minutes after departure, he smelled a bad odor and noticed the engine's oil temperature gauge was indicating that it was hotter than normal. In an effort to avoid having the engine seize while in flight, the pilot opted to perform a precautionary landing. He selected an empty dirt road that had an uphill gradient. After touchdown, the airplane bounced and a wind gust lifted the airplane to the right of the road. As the pilot applied full power, the right main landing gear wheel contacted the edge of the road and sheared off. The airplane could not out-climb the rising terrain of the road and the remainder of the right main landing gear dug into the dirt. The airplane made 180-degree turn and came to rest with the right-wing tip on the ground. During the accident sequence, the right-wing spar sustained damage.

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