Blocked rudder pedals lead to off-runway trip

Aircraft: Cessna 180. Injuries: None. Location: Abingdon, Va. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, after the airplane touched down it started to veer to the left as he began to apply the brakes. Attempts to apply right rudder were blocked because the passenger had stretched his legs out and blocked the rudder pedals. The airplane went off the left side of the runway and into a ditch.

Probable cause: The passenger’s inadvertent blockage of the rudder pedals, which resulted in the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control during the landing roll.

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA288

This April 2012 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.


  1. Mike says

    That very thing is why I’ve ALWAYS emphasized on passenger briefings that they keep their feet back and away from those pedals. And I tell them why in no uncertain terms so they understand what could happen. One more thing, I slide their seat all the way back even if they are short to lessen the chance of this happening.

  2. Greg W says

    Once again,”hands and feet clear of controls”, before take-off and landing. Especially to those who you THINK would know this,don’t assume it, assure it.
    Also why do so many use brakes on landing? Most licensed airports have more than enough runway to just let the plane run out to a stop. I have used brakes when landing as well but not normally and I operate from a 1000 ft strip. Brakes on light planes are meant for maneuvering on the ground and taxi operations not stopping the airplane at landing speed.

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