NTSB Identification: CEN12LA146
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Sheridan, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-135, registration: N2677A
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the takeoff was normal until the airplane was climbing through about 200 feet above the ground, at which time he observed that the passenger suddenly tensed up. The pilot said he was then unable to move the rudder pedals because the passenger was stepping on the passenger-side rudder controls. The airplane skewed to the left, descended, and impacted terrain on the left side of the runway. A postaccident examination confirmed flight control continuity and revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The passenger reported this was his first flight ever in any aircraft. He also reported that he was not pressing on the rudder pedals. However, given the pilot’s experience in the accident airplane and the lack of evidence of a preimpact anomaly, it is likely that the passenger did inadvertently interfere with the rudder pedals.

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

The passenger’s interference with the flight controls during the initial climb, which resulted in a loss of control and impact with terrain.

Full narrative available

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