On July 23, 1995, at 1910 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 172, N55212, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during a landing approach to runway 32 (5,600' X 150' wet asphalt) at the Springfield Regional Airport, Springfield, Missouri. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The flight departed from Ozark, Missouri, at 1800 cdt.

According to the pilot's written statement on NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the purpose of the flight was to pick up a passenger at Ozark, Missouri. The pilot was preparing to depart Springfield, Missouri. Before departing, he said he noticed bluish colored clouds west of the airport. He asked the tower controller about the clouds and was told they were associated with rain northwest of the airport. The pilot said the controller advised him that the rain was moving in a northeasterly direction. He said he decided to depart based on the tower controller's report and the information he had obtained about his destination airport. He arrived at Ozark, Missouri, and picked up his passenger.

After departing Ozark, Missouri, the pilot contacted the Springfield, Missouri, control tower. He said the controller advised him there was "" about 5 miles west of the airport. He said he assumed the weather was the rain he had been told about before departing Springfield, Missouri.

About 2 minutes after the conversation the pilot was advised of a wind shift by the controller. The winds, according to the pilot, were reported to be "...350 degrees at 10 gusting to 16." The pilot said the controller was changing the active runway from runway 20 to 02. The controller offered the pilot runway 32 for his use when he was on a 2 mile final for runway 32.

The pilot said his airplane was on short final for runway 32. He said the airplane was about 300 to 400 feet above the ground, "...when the wind jolted the airplane sharply, pushing us down." He said the airplane encountered a second downdraft that not only caused it to descend further, but also moved the airplane to the right. The pilot called the control tower and advised them that he was going to try to land on runway 02. A few moments later, the airplane encountered a third downdraft. This forced the airplane onto the ground about 200 to 300 yards north of runway 32, near runway 20.

The pilot and passenger removed themselves from the wreckage as a "...torrent of rain began." According to the pilot, the wreckage cleanup had to be postponed about 30 minutes due to the rain and wind intensity. At 1915 cdt, the control tower reported thunderstorms with heavy rain showers, and 3/4 mile visibility.

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