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N9344X accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Fallon, NV
39.473529°N, 118.777374°W
Tail number N9344X
Accident date 20 May 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 182E
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 20, 2001, about 1150 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182E single engine airplane, N9344X, was substantially damaged when it impacted a road sign during an emergency landing on highway 50, approximately 50 miles east of Fallon, Nevada. Neither the private pilot nor his two passengers were injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Hawthorne, California, at 1050.

According to the pilot's written statement, the purpose of the flight was to take some friends to a private airstrip. He noticed an odor (similar to sage) shortly after takeoff, but all systems appeared to operate normally. As the flight approached the Cold Springs area, the original odor "abruptly changed to a smell of something burning." The pilot did not detect any visible smoke, but the odor worsened, so he elected to land on highway 50 near a turnoff so he could steer the airplane off of the road.

As the pilot prepared for landing, he noted a car approaching; however, he thought he could land the airplane and clear the road in time. The car was moving faster than the pilot originally thought and did not slow down. It appeared the car driver did not notice the airplane conducting the emergency landing. As the car approached the airplane, the pilot attempted to maneuver the airplane to the shoulder of the road, which would lift the left wing allowing the car to pass beneath.

The pilot reported not seeing the sign located on the right side of the road as he was concentrating on the oncoming car. The right wing of the aircraft clipped the sign, and the nose gear sheared off at the nose strut. The nose impacted the road, and the airplane nosed over coming to rest inverted.

The passenger seated in the rear seat reported she could not hear what the pilot and front seat passenger were discussing during the flight. The pilot turned to her and pointed to the road and put his finger to his nose. She also noted the burning smell and realized they were going to land on the road.

The airplane was transported to H.L.M. Air Services Inc., Independence, Oregon, where it was examined by the facility owner. Prior to the airplane transport, the facility owner and pilot examined the airplane at the accident site. According to the facility owner, the remnants of a bird nest were found on top of the No. 1 cylinder near the cabin's heating system air intake. According to the facility owner, the nest remnants would not have been visible during a normal preflight inspection.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with a road sign during an emergency landing to a road. Contributing factors were the smoke created from a bird nest in the engine compartment, and the pilot's diverted attention due to an approaching car on the road.

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