Private Tuesday March 5, 1963
The plane took off from Dyersburg and flew into a storm. The pilot, Randy Hughes, was not instrument rated, lost control and crashed. The plane was at full throttle in a 45 degree downward attitude when it struck the ground. Singer, Patsy Cline, 30, killed. Also killed were Hawkshaw Hawkins, 39,, Cowboy Copas, 49, and Cline's manager, Randy Hughes, 35. Cline’s friend, Dottie West, offered a ride to Cline. They were to travel from Kansas City, Kansas, to Nashville. West tried to persuade Cline to ride in the car, believing it was safer. Cline was eager to return home to her children and wanted to take her flight. She refused to ride with West. Cline allegedly told West she was ready if it was her time to leave. Noninstrument pilot attempted visual flight in adverse weather conditions, resulting in a loss of control. Judgment of the pilot in initiating flight in the existing weather conditions.