The pilot stated that just after takeoff, the RANS S6S entered “uncoordinated flight to the left.” He applied right rudder to correct, but felt that the rudder was ineffective.
After clearing trees at the end of the runway in New Berlin, Pa., he elected to conduct a precautionary landing in a field.
He stated that the airplane’s rate of descent was “high,” and that the nose landing gear collapsed upon touchdown. The plane subsequently nosed over and came to rest inverted.
Post accident examination revealed substantial damage to the engine firewall, both wings, and the vertical stabilizer. Examination of the rudder controls revealed no anomalies.
According to the pilot, his passenger was “apprehensive” about the flight, and inadvertently applied pressure to the left rudder pedal with his foot throughout the takeoff and accident sequence.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the passenger’s inadvertent interference with the rudder controls during the takeoff.
NTSB Identification: ERA14CA385
This August 2014 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.