On September 12, 1998, at 1100 central daylight time, a Stinson 108-1 tail-wheel equipped airplane, N8548K, was substantially damaged upon impact with the ground during takeoff from the Tahlequah Municipal Airport near Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The non-instrument rated commercial pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 flight destined for Okemah, Oklahoma.

During a telephone interview, conducted by the investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that an annual inspection had just been completed on the airplane and he planned to fly the airplane back to its home base. The pilot stated that the run-up and systems check were normal.

The pilot stated that during the takeoff roll from runway 17, approximately at rotation speed, a "gust of wind pitched the nose up 25-30 degrees and raised the left wing." The pilot lowered the nose but the airplane drifted to the right side of the runway where it impacted the ground with the right wing, rolled over to the right, impacted the left wing and came to rest inverted.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed no anomalies in the flight control system. The FAA inspector confirmed that the vertical stabilizer and wing spars were bent and the right wing lift strut was broken.

The FAA inspector interviewed a witness that stated he saw "dust devils" in the vicinity of the airport at the time of the accident.

The nearest weather observation facility is located at Davis Field near Muskogee, Oklahoma, which is 23 nautical miles southwest of Tahlequah Municipal Airport. At 0953 the facility recorded the winds at 110 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 23 knots.

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