NTSB Identification: SEA01LA072.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 16, 2001 in Bonners Ferry, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Maule M-4-210C, registration: N51463
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that his wife had told him she wanted a divorce the day before the accident, and stated: "I believe now I was not prepared to taxi the aircraft, lack of concentration due to stress [sic]." The pilot stated that he applied power, the tail went up, and the aircraft started drifting left. He stated that he then tried to apply right rudder, but "I had left a small cockpit electric heater on [the] floor by [the] rudder pedals, which moved forward [and] locked up [the] rudder pedals." He reported that he was unable to correct the drift and that he then "chopped power" and applied brakes. However, the aircraft went off the left side of the runway, collapsing the right main landing gear and damaging a wing. The pilot indicated on his NTSB accident report that no mechanical malfunction or failure was involved in the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Inadequate preflight inspection/preparation of the aircraft by the pilot and consequent foreign object fouling of the rudder control, rendering directional control impossible. A factor was the pilot's distraction/preoccupation with personal problems.

Full narrative available

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