The pilot reported that during landing rollout at the airport in Atlanta, the Van’s RV-8 began to veer to the left and he attempted to counter with a right rudder input.
He told investigators that the rudder pedals seemed jammed, and the airplane continued to veer to the left side of the runway.
He quickly applied right brake, but it was not enough, and the airplane departed the runway and entered a marshy area, which resulted in substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and fuselage.
During a telephone interview, the pilot stated that his passenger experienced a leg cramp and was depressing the left rudder pedal during the landing roll. A statement received from the passenger confirmed the leg cramp.
Probable Cause: A loss of directional control and subsequent runway excursion resulting as a result of the inadvertent rudder input by the passenger.
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This September 2021 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.