On May 6, 1997, about 1415 mountain daylight time, N9480R, a Cessna TR182RG, operated by the owner/pilot, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing on a road near Ennis, Montana. Both private pilots and their two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight had departed from West Yellowstone, Montana, and was destined for Deer Lodge, Montana. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

According to the first pilot (pilot-in-command), he received a weather briefing for a flight back to his home in Deer Lodge from Las Vegas, Nevada. During the flight, the first pilot decided to fly over Yellowstone National Park due to deteriorating weather conditions along the more direct route. The first pilot stated that he landed at the Yellowstone Airport near West Yellowstone and remained there for about an hour. He then departed from the airport en route to the Ennis Big Sky Airport for another interim stop after telephoning the Ennis Big Sky Airport and receiving a favorable weather report.

During the approach to the Ennis Big Sky Airport, the airplane encountered "severe crosswinds." The pilot discontinued the approach and decided to attempt a landing back at the Yellowstone Airport. He discovered that the weather conditions were not favorable there, so he returned to the Ennis Big Sky Airport for another landing attempt. He discovered that the weather conditions had worsened there also, so he decided to perform an off-airport landing into gusting westerly winds on a road located about 10 miles south of Ennis. He stated that he had about 45 minutes of fuel remaining in the airplane.

During the landing rollout, the airplane encountered "a strong gust of wind" and veered off the edge of the road into a ditch. The airplane was substantially damaged when it encountered the ditch. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions were reported.

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