The chances of dying in a plane crash are slim. In fact, it’s one in 11 million. As reassuring as those numbers are, it doesn’t relieve the fear many have of flying. Statistics rarely have that affect. After all, the chances of winning the lottery are one in 175 million, but when the jackpot’s big enough, everyone’s buying a ticket. The reality is, when it’s your time to go, there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Perhaps that’s the real fear.
Most of us are afraid of dying, and boarding an airplane adds an element of risk that otherwise wouldn’t exist if we were sitting in our living room watching the evening news. It also doesn’t help that of late there’s been far too many news reports of planes crashing or outright disappearing. Or that we can all name at least one celebrity who died precisely because they boarded a plane.
Knowing the life and career of someone you followed and supported has been cut short is a hard pill to swallow and it reminds us of our own mortality.
10. Randy Rhoads. Died March 19, 1982 at the age of 25.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Rhoads are truly tragic. A guitarist who studied classical music from the age of 7, Rhoads played in a band with Ozzy Osbourne, producing two albums in the early 1980s, one of which achieved a four-time platinum status.
While stopping for repairs to their tour bus, Rhoads joined their driver, Andrew Aycock, and the makeup artist Rachel Youngblood for an impromptu flight on an aircraft found at the location. Aycock, the pilot, made two rounds low over the tour bus, but on the third attempt the wing clipped the bus and broke, which sent the aircraft spiraling out of control. All three passengers died. It was later revealed that the pilot was using cocaine for much of the previous night and was involved in another deadly crash six years earlier.
Had Rhoads survived, he most likely would’ve paused his career to study music at UCLA, a desire he divulged to Osbourne.
9. John Denver. Died October 12, 1997 at the age of 53.
John Denver was an award-winning musician, an actor and an activist. His greatest hits include “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High.” With his acoustic guitar and long blond locks, Denver is synonymous with the 70s soft-rock movement.
Denver was also a trained pilot with more than 2,700 hours of flight recorded and he was the pilot and sole occupant of the aircraft that fatally crashed in 1997. In what was intended to be just an hour of flying, Denver died piloting an experimental aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the cause of the crash to be a loss of control during a failed attempt to switch fuel tanks, a maneuver that required the pilot to rotate 90 degrees in his seat to access a handle located behind him. The fuel gauge was also located in the same spot, though Denver was aware before takeoff that each tank was less than half full.