On August 21, 2001, about 1330 Alaska daylight time, a tundra tire-equipped Piper PA-18-180 airplane, N2871P, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from the Gulkana Airport, located about 6 miles south of Glennallen, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The certificated commercial pilot, and the one passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the accident airport, and was en route to Northway, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on August 21, the pilot reported that just after takeoff on runway 32, about four feet above the runway, the wind increased to an estimated 25 to 30 knots from the northeast, which pushed the nose of the airplane 90 degrees to the right. The airplane veered to the right of the runway centerline, and the right wing struck a stand of trees. The airplane pivoted to the right, and the left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.

Gulkana Airport weather observation at the time of the accident was: Wind, 010 degrees at 15 knots, gusts to 22 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, 1,000 feet scattered, 1,600 feet broken; temperature, 69 degrees F; dew point, 44 degrees F; altimeter, 29.51 inHg.

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