On this day in 1982, Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash.
Black Sabbath was touring in Florida and had stayed the night at a farm in Leesburg. During the night, an ex-aircraft pilot and friend of the band, Andrew Aycock, took a small Beechcraft F35 plane registered to Mike Partin without permission to take members of the group on flights. Sabbath guitarist Randy Rhoads agreed to go on a short flight with hairdresser and seamstress Rachel Youngblood.
During the flight, the pilot made three low passes at treetop level in an attempt to “buzz” the tour bus. On the fourth pass, while the plane was flying approximately ten feet above the ground at speeds of up to 180 mph, the plane’s left wing collided with the rear of the bus. The mass of the plane crossed over the bus and severed a large pine tree before crashing through the wall and roof of the mansion’s garage. The plane exploded and burned on impact with the house, which was also gutted by the ensuing fire. Two vehicles parked inside the garage were also destroyed. Keyboardist Don Airey was the only member of the band to witness the crash; the rest were asleep in the bus.
Visibility conditions were clear and the weather was not a factor in the crash.
Rhoads’ funeral was held at the First Lutheran Church in Burbank, California. Pallbearers at the funeral included Osbourne, Aldridge, Sarzo, and Rhoads’ former Quiet Riot bandmate Kevin DuBrow. On his coffin was a photo of the guitarist, as well as a photo of himself on stage with Osbourne in San Francisco. Rhoads is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California.
Randy Rhoads was 25 years old.