Saturday, May 24, 2014

Randy Rhoads Crash Site

The infamous crash site where Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist Randy Rhoads lost his life is at Airway Road, Flying Baron Estates, Leesburg, FL. The house, which was almost totally ruined by the 1982 disaster, has since been restored.

Ozzy and the band had been on their way to Orlando to play a gig, but got sidelined in Leesburg, Florida, to have repairs done to the air conditioning unit on their tour bus. While Ozzy slept in the bus, Rhoads, the band's hairdresser/makeup artist Rachel Youngblood and the bus driver, Andrew Aycock, sneaked over to a private airport nearby.

They stole a small Beechcraft F35 plane and Aycock, a licensed pilot, flew several close erratic passes around the tour bus in an apparent prank to surprise those on it. One of the plane's wings accidently clipped the bus, breaking a wing off and sending the plane out of control. It crashed into the garage of the nearby mansion, bursting it into flames and killing all three on board on plane. (Ozzy himself ran into the house and rescued an elderly man inside, who was near deaf and had not even heard or noticed the impact of the plane.)

The bodies were burned beyond recognition, and Rhoads' remains were identified only by his jewelry. According to Sharon Osbourne in her autobiography, "They were all in bits, it was just body parts everywhere".

According to the toxicology report, Rhoads' remains showed no drugs or alcohol, but Aycock's tested positive for cocaine. The NTSB investigation determined that Aycock's biennial flight review, required for all pilots, was overdue. It was later learned that Aycock had been the pilot in another fatal crash, six years prior, in the United Arab Emirates. One wonders what might have been, had they never decided to stop in Leesburg to fix the air conditioner. But given Aycock's drug use, the odds are high that a road accident could have occurred, thus killing the entire band.

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