On March 25, 1998, at 1200 central standard time, a Cessna 140 airplane, N2044N, owned and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during takeoff from the University of Oklahoma Westheimer Airport, Norman, Oklahoma. The private pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he had flown to Norman, Oklahoma, earlier in the same day and was returning to his base airport in Duncan, Oklahoma. The pilot stated that in the hours preceding the flight, he observed "terrific surface winds," while standing outside a hangar. He also stated that he was "apprehensive" about taxing in those wind conditions.

Ground control instructed the pilot to taxi the tail-wheel airplane to runway 17. While taxing the pilot observed the wind sock and determined that the winds favored runway 21. The pilot contacted the tower controller to verify the wind conditions he had received from ground control. The controller informed the pilot that he could use runway 21, if he chose to. The pilot positioned the airplane at the approach end of runway 21 and "adjusted [the] aileron and rudder in anticipation of a strong cross-wind." According to the pilot, "as soon as [the airplane] lifted off the runway, the wind blew [the] airplane," to the right and off the runway centerline. The airplane began to cross over a drainage ditch that is approximately 60 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Simultaneously, the airplane turned approximately 180 degrees, such that the airplane was put into a tail wind situation, "which caused the airplane to hit the ditch." The airplane came to rest upright, extending two feet into the far end of the drainage ditch.

According to measurements recorded by airport personnel and the University of Oklahoma State Police Department, the airplane traveled approximately 6/10 of one mile from the time it left the runway to the resting area of the airplane.

The following wind conditions were reported by the control tower at the time of the accident; winds from 190 degrees at 24 knots and gusting to 30 knots.

Examination of the airplane, at the site, by an FAA inspector, revealed that both wing struts sustained structural damage. The propeller blades were bent rearward (towards the engine cowling) and the main fuselage sustained structural damage. Both main landing gear were bent upwards into the fuselage.

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