The pilot stated that, about 20 to 25 minutes after departure for the cross-country flight in the Cessna 140, the engine’s oil temperature gauge was indicating that the oil temperature was hotter than normal.
He added that, to avoid having the engine seize while in flight, he chose to perform a precautionary landing on a dirt road that had an uphill gradient near Empire, Nevada.
After touchdown, the airplane bounced, the right main landing gear sheared off, and the airplane turned 180° and came to rest with the right wingtip on the ground.
Postaccident examination of the engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The engine was successfully started and run for more than five minutes at various power settings.
The tailwheel could not be manually rotated counterclockwise to the stop because the right control cable was catching and rubbing on a displaced fairing behind the pedals. It could not be determined if this occurred before the accident and the pilot was unable to maintain directional control or was a result of the accident sequence.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during an off-airport precautionary landing on a dirt road with an uphill gradient.
NTSB Identification: WPR17LA193
This August 2017 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.