The death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson was pilot error.
The official investigation was carried out by the Civil Aeronautics Board. It emerged that Peterson had over four years of flying experience, of which one was with Dwyer Flying Service, and had accumulated 711 flying hours, of which 128 were on Bonanzas. He had also logged 52 hours of instrument flight training, passed only his written examination, and was not yet qualified to operate in weather that required flying solely by reference to instruments. Peterson and Dwyer Flying Service itself were certified to operate only under visual flight rules, which essentially require that the pilot must be able to see where he is going. However, on the night of the accident, visual flight would have been virtually impossible due to the low clouds, the lack of a visible horizon, and the absence of ground lights over the sparsely populated area.
The weather conditions and low visibility required skills that Roger Peterson did not possess.
Married only a year with no children, the widow of Roger Peterson (now Deanne Peterson) eventually remarried and moved to Minnesota.
Final Resting Place:
Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery
Storm Lake, Iowa, 50588
Grave Location Description
After entering at the south entrance off of the interstate, take the right road and make the first right. Drive east for about 85 feet and Roger Peterson’s grave is located on your right, 4 rows in from the road.
Grave Location GPS42.653140, -95.233249
Visiting The Grave:
Read More About Roger Peterson:
- Wikipedia Entry
- Scott Michaels FindaDeath - Holly, Bopper and Valens
- The Day the Music Died: Crash Site Photo Archive
- Historical Aviation Accidents - The Day the Music Died
- Roger Peterson was remembered as a really great guy
- The Night the Music Died
- The Day the Music Died: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Big Bopper killed on this day in 1959
- The widows gather for a memorial service
- RIP Jerry Dwyer, a man haunted by the Buddy Holly crash