On May 29, 1999, about 0730 eastern daylight time, a Maule M7-235C, N126MC, was substantially damaged during takeoff from the William H. Morse State Airport (DDH), Bennington, Vermont. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said he flew to DDH to practice touch and go landings. The winds were calm and he used runway 31. After several uneventful touch and go landings, the pilot performed a full stop landing. He then back taxied on the runway for takeoff, with the intent of returning to ALB. The pilot further stated:

"...Takeoff power was applied, the plane moved to the left of centerline; more right rudder was applied and the plane came hard right. I immediately attempted to apply left rudder but it wouldn't depress....As we exited the runway, I noted my passenger had extended his right foot using my right rudder for his brake...."

The pilot pulled the power back; however, the airplane departed the right side of the runway, went into a ditch, and flipped over.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that in the future, his pre-flight preparation would include telling passengers to keep their hands and feet away from the controls.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector did not reveal any pre-impact malfunctions of the engine or airframe, which included the airplane's flight controls.

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