Remembering Randy Rhoads on his 60th Birthday

Guest Post by Michael Brenner

Tribute to a Legend

To acknowledge the passing of a legend, I decided to visit the location of Randy Rhoads final moments outside of Leesburg, Florida at the remote estate of Jerry Calhoun. Jerry is the owner of “Entertainment Coaches of America, Inc.” formally known as “Florida Coach”.

This is a gated community and normally closed off to the public, but I did drive onto the property that is lined with tour buses, aircraft, and a small airstrip that changed the course of music history. As I made my way to the office, I notified the staff that I was writing an article for and asked if I could speak with Mr. Calhoun about the accident.

Jerry invited me into his office where we discussed the events that occurred 30 years ago today. He stated that he was actually not at home when the accident occurred, but was deeply saddened when he learned that three people had lost their lives. He explained how and where the accident occurred and allowed me full access to the site. When asked if he ever planned to open a Randy Rhoads Monument to the public, he indicated that it had never been discussed, however, he seemed open to the possibility. Apparently, Peter Margolis has been on the property to film segments of the house for Dakota Films, but the status of the project is unknown at this time.

Where Heroes Fall

As I walked the airstrip and the property, it became a surreal event for me. The time was 8:00am. Exactly 30 years ago to the hour, on March. 19th 1982, the “Blizzard of Ozz” band arrived at the Calhoun property approximately 8:00am from an overnight drive from Knoxville, TN. The band was set to play at Orlando’s “Rock Super Bowl XIV”. The driver of the bus, Andrew Aycock, lived on the property and was also a pilot. He talked Keyboardist Don Airey into a test flight on a 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza. There may have been another occupant in the plane, but they did land safely. Unbeknownst to the band, Aycock’s medical certificate had expired making his pilot license invalid. It was around 9:00am when Rachel Youngblood, the band’s hairdresser, and Randy Rhoads climbed into the aircraft. The flight didn’t last long as the plane made three attempts to “buzz” the tour bus at low altitude. On the 4th attempt, Aycock clipped the left side of the bus spinning the plane through a pine tree and into the garage of the Calhoun home. The plane was flying at approximately 10 feet and 140mph to over 170 mph. All three passengers were killed on impact.

So there I stood, 30 years later to the moment. Saddened by the thoughts of what “might have been” had a young Randy Rhoads not walked down that airstrip and boarded that fateful plane. Reflecting on the very short career of someone I never met, but somehow changed the course of my life forever…it was surreal indeed.

See the pics below from the Randy Rhoads crash site:

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  • John Roberts

    It really makes you wonder what Randy would have accomplished in 30 years and sad about all of the wonderful music that we missed out on.

    Great Article!

    • cameron

      I heard he was leaving ozzy’s band to get his masters degree in classical guitar.

  • Amazing article Michael! Thank you for bringing us all a little bit closer to a REAL guitar hero on this day – 30 years ago that Randy Rhoads died. He is a huge influence on so many guitar players. I never get tired of listening to his music and his guitar solo’s are amazing songs within a song. Such a great talent that so many of us miss. I really appreciate your time and energy to post this great article today, thanks again!

  • The epitome of the ” Metal transitional guitarist period ” This is where ” what they call ” shred guitar was invented ! The fusion of classical music on guitar with hard rock !

  • Chris

    Nice job Michael! It would’ve been really cool to have been there also. Look forward to reading some more.

  • Thank you for this AMAZING tribute… Randy Rhoads has been in my heart since I was a teenager back in the beginning of the 80s! He is a legend and my Rock n’ Roll HERO..

    Long Live RR!!

  • David

    I have heard a different story from a close friend of RR that Rachel may have had a heart attack while on board and slumped onto the controls, thus why the planes wing was vertical to the ground and according to Don Airey, RR was trying to get control of the plane. But we’ll never know…

  • David

    BTW, Rachel Youngblood had a known heart condition.

  • mark robison

    Randy was my hero and I saw him with ozzy on feb. 8th 1982 at cobo arena in detroit. I will never forget that concert because it gave me goosebumps as I listened to randy just completely blow my mind with his talent! I’ve been to over 50 concerts in my life, and I’m 47, but listening to randy will never, ever be topped! That concert wll forever be stuck in my head because randy just mesmerized me like no guitarist ever has or ever will do! I’ve seen ozzy 5 more times since, and while I love ozzy and enjoyed every show, nothing will ever come close to that 1st concert with randy because he just was so special! I’m sad right now just thinking about it!

  • John C. Gruden

    An absolutely amazing guitarist! The “Diary of a Madman” tour was my very first concert on a cold snowy day in Cleveland, Ohio. My father had forbidden me to go because of the weather but I went anyway. I didn’t make a habit of not listening to my father but I’m glad I did on this occasion. Seeing Randy live was just so much better than listening to vinyl! LONG LIVE RANDY RHOADS!

  • OK ,,,That brought Tears…How sad.The best of the best brought done by that.His music with Ozzy will not go away.Thank You.Even Though You made me cry.

  • Tommy

    I was there yesterday…Mar. 19, 2014…32 years since the fateful day. I know this may sound a bit crazy but…Jerry Calhoun had left the garage doors open for anyone who would wish to pay respects. As I was chatting with a friend, three butterflies, one blonde, one white and a brown one, all flying in a trio together came out of the open garage door. They were all dancing around the two of our heads and just as quickly as they arrived, they went back into the garage. We felt an eerie presence and went back into the garage to find them…nowhere they simply vanished. That being said, this is hallowed ground and the Calhouns have kept the estate in nice condition. i felt compelled to go there on Mar. 19 this year just to offer a prayer and leave a pack of Winston Cigarettes for Randy in the garage. I left the property feeling in awe that i had witnessed something very special. I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.

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