Remembering Randy Rhoads 30 Years Later

(Gibson) On this day in 1982, Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and former Quiet Riot member Randy Rhoads was killed when the plane he was riding in crashed. After driving much of the night, the band had stopped near a small airstrip. The tour bus driver, Andrew Aycock, talked the band's keyboardist, Don Airey, into taking a test flight in a '55 Beechcraft Bonanza, the joyride ended, and the plane landed safely. Then Aycock took Rhoads and Rachel Youngblood on another flight and attempts were made to "buzz" the tour bus. The left wing clipped the bus, which sent the plane spiraling into a nearby house and bursting into flames. Gibson takes a look back: Since teaming up with Ozzy Osbourne and playing a key role in the Prince of Darkness's post-Sabbath solo success, Rhoads was flying high. Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman had put Ozzy back in the limelight and the band were in Knoxville for a show at the Civic Coliseum on March 18, 1982. It was Randy Rhoads' last gig.

After the show, the band left Tennessee for Florida where they were playing a festival in Orlando. Stopping for a rest break and to run some repairs, the caravan stopped at some property in Leesburg, Florida. There were just two houses on the property. One of them belonged to Ozzy's bus driver, Andrew Aycock.

Early on the 19th, while the entourage was resting, Aycock rose and�being a pilot�took advantage of the property's airstrip and collection of airplanes. Aycock took keyboard player Don Airey and tour manager Jake Duncan for a flight on a '55 Beechcraft Bonanza F-35. After that, Aycock took off again, this time with Randy and hairdresser Rachel Youngblood. After that jaunt, Aycock took Rhoads on another flight. It was a terrible mistake. more on this story

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