On Thursday, March 18, 1982. Ozzy Osbourne played a concert at the Knoxville Civ…

Written by on March 19, 2018

On Thursday, March 18, 1982. Ozzy Osbourne played a concert at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. The next day, the band was heading to a festival in Orlando, Florida. After driving much of the night, they stopped in Leesburg, Florida, to fix a malfunctioning air conditioning unit on the bus while Osbourne remained asleep. On the property there was an airstrip with small helicopters and planes.

Without permission, tour bus driver and ex-commercial pilot Andrew Aycock took a small Beechcraft F35 plane registered to a Mike Partin. On the first flight, Aycock took keyboardist Don Airey and tour manager Jake Duncan. He then landed and a second flight took to the air with Randy Rhoads and makeup artist Rachel Youngblood aboard. During the second flight, attempts were made to apparently ‘buzz’ the tour bus, where the other band members were sleeping. Aycock succeeded in making two close passes, but botched the third attempt. At approximately 10 AM, after being in the air for approximately five minutes, one of the plane’s wings clipped the top of the tour bus, breaking the wing into two parts and sending the plane spiraling out of control. The initial impact with the bus caused Rhoads’s and Youngblood’s heads to crash through the plane’s windshield. The plane then severed the top of a pine tree and crashed into the garage of a nearby mansion, bursting into flames.

Keyboardist Don Airey was the only member of the band to witness the crash, as the rest were asleep in the bus. Rhoads was killed instantly, as were Aycock and Youngblood. All three bodies were burned beyond recognition, and Rhoads was identified by dental records and personal jewelry.

Randy Rhoads was a very talented guitarist. Before playing with Ozzy Osbourne, Randy played with Quiet Riot. His playing is said to influenced scores of guitarists over the years. Randy was only 25 years old. Rachel Youngblood was 58 years old and the pilot, Andrew Aycock was 36 years old.

It was such a senseless waste of human life.

RIP Randy, Rachel and Andrew.

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