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Randy Rhoads Dies In Aeroplane Accident Aged 25
March 19th, 1982


Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads died in an aeroplane accident on March 19th, 1982 at the age of 25.

Rhoads was the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, former frontman of Black Sabbath. Having performed the previous evening on March 18th at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee, the band were travelling via coach to Orlando, Florida where they were scheduled to perform at Rock Super Bowl XIV with the likes of UFO, Foreigner and Bryan Adams.

After having apparently driven for much of the night, driver Andrew C. Aycock parked the coach at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida where his home was situated at roughly 8:00am EST on the 19th. Flying Baron Estates consists of three houses with an aircraft hanger and a landing strip, owned by Jerry Calhoun. Aycock parked the coach approximately 90 yards away from the landing strip. A licensed pilot, Aycock took a red and white 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza F-35 from the aircraft hanger without permission, an aeroplane which belonged to a Mike Partin of Kissimmee, Florida. It’s alleged that tour manager Jake Duncan and keyboardist Don Airey were taken for a flight initially.

At approximately 9:00am EST, Aycock took Rhoads and hairdresser / seamstress Rachel Youngblood for a flight. Flying low to the ground, the aeroplane “buzzed” the group’s tour bus no less than three times. On its fourth pass, the aeroplane’s left wing struck the left side of the tour bus, puncturing the coach in two areas halfway down its right side. Meanwhile, the plane’s main body struck a pine tree nearby, severing the tree at its 10 feet height, and then crashed into a garage attached to a home owned by Jerry Calhoun. Exploding upon impact, the plane was travelling at an estimated ten feet off the ground and at the time of impact was registering approximate speeds of 120-150 knots. Rhoads, Aycock and Youngblood were killed instantly. A civilian occupying the property at the time, Jesse Herndon, escaped without injury.

Randall William Rhoads’ first brush with fame was as a part of Los Angeles outfit Quiet Riot, formed with vocalist Kevin DuBrow and bassist Kelly Garni at the age of 16. The albums Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II featured the man’s guitar work, issued exclusively in Japan in 1977 and 1978 respectively. At the request of his friend Dana Strum, in the latter stages of 1979 Rhoads auditioned to be the lead guitarist of a group being assembled by former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. This would culminate in the issue of Osbourne’s debut solo effort Blizzard Of Ozz, released on September 20th, 1980 in the United Kingdom and on March 27th, 1981 in the United States, charting at position seven in the United Kingdom. Released in the United Kingdom on 7th November, 1981 through Jet Records, Ozzy Osbourne’s second studio album Diary Of A Madman charted at position 14.

He was survived by his parents Delores and William, as well as brother Douglas (‘Kelle’) and sister Kathy.

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