Remembering Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Plane Crash, Ronnie Van Zant

by Norm Gregory on October 20, 2017

in Daily Items


Ronnie Van Zant’s bandmates were anxious as they prepared to board their leased plane at Greenville, South Carolina’s Downtown Airport on the afternoon of October 20th, 1977. And they had good reason to be: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s rickety Convair 240, pushing 30 years old, was obviously past its prime. ‘We were flying in a plane that looked like it belonged to the Clampett family,’ drummer Artimus Pyle later said. The 10-foot flames seen shooting out of the right engine two days earlier had done little to inspire anyone’s confidence. The scary incident convinced the group that they needed to upgrade their vehicle to something befitting their status as one of the biggest acts in music. Their latest album, Street Survivors, had gone gold upon its release three days earlier, and the first five dates of the accompanying tour had been met with rapturous crowds throughout their native Southland. The ambitious trek, their largest to date, would see the band achieve its dream of playing New York’s Madison Square Garden. Surely they needed something better than a bucket of bolts to shuttle them there?

Previous post:

Next post: