Randy Rhoads – Plane Crash Location
Flying Baron Estates, Leesburg, FL.
Osbourne’s tour bus driver, Andrew Aycock, had driven the band all night from a show in Knoxville, TN the previous night to Leesburg, FL just outside of Orlando. Arriving that morning, Aycock, stopped at the tour bus company’s headquarters at the Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg to make some repairs on the bus. The band had a show in Orlando that evening. The bus headquarters had a small airstrip and Aycock offered to take band members up in a small aircraft for a quick flight.
According to an accident report filed by the National Transit Safety Board, Rhoads, 25, Rachel Youngblood, the band’s 58-year-old seamstress and cook, and bus driver Andrew Aycock, 36, a licensed pilot, commandeered a small, single-engine 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza F35 plane sometime between nine and 10 a.m. on March 19, 1982. The aircraft had been parked in a hangar at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida, where its owner, Jerry Calhoun, owned a house. Aycock, who also owned a home there, reportedly took the plane without permission. The group’s tour bus–a Greyhound-type vehicle with a golden-brown top and white bottom–was parked approximately 60 feet from a north-facing residence, a white Georgian-style mansion adjacent to the airstrip. Ozzy Osbourne, manager Sharon Arden, and bassist Rudy Sarzo were asleep on the bus at the time of the accident. Keyboardist Don Airey, who was on the bus but awake, witnessed the crash. During the flight, the pilot made three low passes at tree-top level in an attempt to “buzz” the tour bus. On the fourth pass, while the plane was flying approximately 10 feet above the ground at speeds between 140 and 180 m.p.h., the plane’s left wing collided with the rear of the bus. The bulk of the aircraft crossed over the bus and severed a large pine tree before crashing through the north side wall and roof of the garage on the west end of the mansion. The plane exploded and burned on impact with the house, which was also gutted by the ensuing fire. Two vehicles parked inside the garage, an Oldsmobile and a Ford Granada, were destroyed. Visibility conditions were clear and the weather was not a factor in the crash. The bus was extensively damaged on both its right and left sides. Meanwhile, at the crash site, one victim was found outside the window of the garage, just below where the plane struck the wall. The other two victims were found inside the garage, one beside and one atop the burned-out automobiles. The bodies were burned beyond recognition. Rhoads had to be identified by his jewelry and Aycock through dental records. Fiberglass from the explosive impact of the plane was scattered over more than an acre, with no part of the plane larger than a telephone, expect the one crumpled wing which struck the bus. Toxicology reports conducted on Rhoads and Aycock at the Federal Aviation Administration’s civil aeromedical institute in Oklahoma City, determined that Rhoads had only nicotine in his system, but no drugs or alcohol. Cocaine was found in Aycock’s urine.
A day after the crash, a shaken Ozzy Osbourne gave a sworn affidavit to the authorities: “At approximately nine a.m. on Friday, March 19, 1982, I was awoken from my sleep by a loud explosion. I immediately thought that we’d hit a vehicle on the road. I got out of the bed, screaming to my fiancé, Sharon, ´get off the bus!´ Meanwhile, she was screaming to everyone else to get off the bus. After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn’t know who was on the plane at the time. When we realized that our people were on the plane, I found it very difficult to get assistance from anyone to help. In fact, it took almost a half-hour before anyone arrived. One small fire engine arrived, which appeared to squirt three gallons of water over the inferno. We asked for further assistance, such as telephones, and didn’t receive any further help. In the end, we finally found a telephone and Sharon phoned her father.”
The house that the plane crashed into still stands today. A bus company still operates out of the location as well. The property is gated and can barely be seen from the road.