NTSB Identification: CHI01LA258.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 05, 2001 in Crane Lake, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N2904Q
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Uninjured.

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

The floatplane sustained substantial damage on impact with water during takeoff. The pilot reported that he sustained no injury. He reported that one of his passengers was uninjured and the other passenger sustained serious injuries. The pilot reported, "After refueling we taxied to east end of lake ... West wind at est. 12 knots. Prior to takeoff checklist completed controls tested free and correct. After aircraft on step and flying speed attained (60 kts) the right float was raised and slight back pressure we were airborne. On attempting to move control wheel to the right to level the a/c, the control wheel was jammed. I immediately suspected that the rf seat passengers knee was beneath the right side of the control wheel preventing return to neutral position. I shouted to him to move his knee but the control wheel remained jammed. The a/c continued in a left bank reaching est. altitude of 30 to 50 feet above the water. The left bank increased and we began to loose altitude despite full power. The aircraft impacted the water in approx. a 40 [degree] bank (lt) and 45 [degree] nose down attitude. We completed approx. 180 [degree] turn from our takeoff heading. ... After liftoff this happened very quickly. Probably in less than 10 or 15 seconds." The passenger stated, "I heard the pilot say '[the passenger's name], your knee' twice. I immediately looked down at my left knee and witnessed the left side of the control wheel situated against the inner aspect of the knee, but not appearing obstructed from movement. It never occurred to me to look at the right knee. ... I honestly do not know what precisely caused the accident. I never asked the pilot if he witnessed my knee blocking the control wheel. ... The absence of any bruising or abrasion on or about the knee/upper leg makes me suspect my knees weren't the cause as well." The recorded wind was 200 degrees at 5 knots. FAA examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact anomalies.

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

The inadvertant control interference by the passenger's knee leading to the pilot's directional control of the floatplane not being possible.

Full narrative available

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