NTSB Identification: DEN01LA155.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 31, 2001 in Pagosa Springs, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Vans Aircraft RV-6A, registration: N199LH
Injuries: 1 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 pilot was practicing a short field takeoff. He held the brakes and set the engine to 2,650 revolutions per minute. When he released the brakes, the airplane immediately veered to the left and departed the runway. He attempted to apply full right rudder, but no right rudder was available. He said that he attempted to control the airplane with differential braking. The airport manager said that the airplane traveled approximately 350 feet, started down slope and struck an Elk fence (the fence was approximately 250 feet east of the runway). The pilot said that the nose wheel dropped into a ditch which was along the left side of the runway. The airplane's nose gear broke aft and the airplane came to rest in a nose down orientation. Postaccident examination of the airplane by the pilot revealed that a headset on the floor of the airplane had jammed the rudder controls.

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

The pilot's inadequate airplane preflight inspection which led to the subsequent lateral control of the airplane on the ground not being possible. A contributing factor was the unavailability of rudder control due to a headset blocking the rudder control mechanism during the takeoff roll.


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