Incidents

While it is not the policy of the webmaster to operate a page devoted to tragedies, they are an integral part of the PSA story. Sadly, this has historically been one of the most popular pages on this site.

The focus on this site are positive memories of PSA. This page focuses on the memory of those PSA family members lost in the two incidents. For those who want the aviation disaster side, I would suggest going to airdisaster.com.

September 25, 1978. A gloriously clear Santa Ana day in San Diego. PSA Flight 182 originated in Sacramento, making an intermediate stop in Los Angeles, before flying the short leg back home to San Diego. 128 passengers were aboard, along with the seven operating crewmembers.

On approach to San Diego, N533PS was flying a visual approach to Runway 27. At the same time, student pilot David Lee Boswell and instructor Martin Kazy were doing ILS approaches to Runway 9, terminating in a missed approach. ATC directed him to climb away from the field at a heading of 070. At 3200 feet on descent, PS182 spotted the Cessna while climbing out of 1700' (at 09:00:21 local time.) The Cessna, still climbing, started to veer to course 090 (the same as PSA 182.) Both aircraft were told to maintain visual separation. The 727 overtook the Cessna, while descending, and the Cessna climbed right into the 727 right wing (not visible from the cockpit) at 09:01:47 local time, at an altitude of 2600 feet. The 727 was monitoring SAN tower, while the Cessna was on San Diego approach. (Paraphrased from Macarthur Job's book, Air Disaster Volume II, and the NTSB report.)

Hans Wendt was covering the opening of a service station in North Park, and looked up to see the following view, which he caught on film:

1978, Flight 182. Hans Wendt photo.

The ensuing explosion and fire sent a billowing cloud of smoke visible throughout the county. PSA and emergency personnel rushed to the scene, but little could be done. As news reports filtered out, employees began calling one another, trying to find out who was on the doomed flight. Everyone at PSA knew someone on that airplane, and San Diego and PSA grew up together. The sense of loss and devastation was enormous, as well as disbelief. San Diego came together that hot, fateful day in mourning for the loss.

Many of the passengers were PSA employees deadheading or commuting to the San Diego headquarters/base. For those who lost their friends in this tragedy, it struck even harder.


Billie Adams

Jeri Dickson

Jimmie Kelly

soaring

far away a spirit soars
unfettered by wings, its spinnaker full
gliding among the heavens
at peace and harmony with itself...

was in a blink it passed through the aperture
and now, freed from human bondage,
not time, not matter, not air,
nor earth will ever impede its way ...

the sky is our god
and we pay homage to her,
for when she collects her due,
we go in peace...

this determinism we share, then,
knowing each in our own way
that this love is our life,
and our life this love...

in silent beauty the spirit ascending
carries this love we share and give
for aglow with the happiness of earthbound years,
it soars forever.

j.k. georgedes, 9/30/78


Barbara Boiselle

James Dormer

Colleen Kepler

Karen Borzewski

(No photo)


Javier Escalante


Brian Maclean

Arnold Lee Califf

Amancio Elizaga Jr.

Debbie McCarthy

Robert & Sue Brenner

Jim McFeron

The Silver Lady of Flight 182

She spread her wings so gracefully, Her nose held up so high.
She looked like a silver eagle, As she reached up to the sky.

With fellow friends and passengers,
She sailed through the morning air.
Along the coast she headed for home,
Not knowing her end would be there.

She was such a beautiful lady,
So colorful and so sleek.
But on that day in San Diego,
Her destiny soon she'd meet.

As she turned for home she felt the pain,
And many saw her cry.
As she bowed her head and dipped her wings,
And came falling from the sky.

Perhaps in that last moment,
As she glanced at her home base
She wished that she could mend her wounds,
And all the pain erase.

No one will ever know for sure, All the sadness she felt inside.
For the silver lady and the people she carried,
This would be their final ride.

nancy price, 9/25/78


Lynette Cherry

Michael Fitzgerald

Wilhemina Mottola

Marti Coleman

Kate Fons

Spencer Nelson

Richard Conway

Gail M. Forsyth

Lynn Owens

Lisa Davis

Robert E. Fox

Robert Ramirez

Gail Lynn Shapiro


Herb Stewart


Roger Walsh

Jane Whylz-Sitz

Timothy Delucca

Steven Henry

Marla Scavia

Donald St. Germain

Martin J. Wahne

William White

Dee Young

In 1982, Capt. Robert Chapman blamed the crash on pilot fatigue, setting off the media and causing PSA officials to deny the allegation.

For more memories from people involved, San Diego Magazine's August 1998 issue has information. Also read the NTSB report, AAR-79-05.

The San Diego Air & Space museum has a section of the PSA display devoted to those who have passed in the various incidents.

Original SDASM plaque, 2002
Current SDASM plaque, 2017.



Original plaque placed on PSA headquarters, 1978. Now located in the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

In 1998, a plaque was placed at the North Park library, close to the site of the crash. A tree was also planted in memory of the victims.

North Park Library plaque, 2002
North Park Library tree, 2002

In 1987, PSA Flight 1771 crashed near Harmony, CA. N168US (350PS) plummeted into the ground from 22,000 feet, causing the plane to go supersonic and break up enroute. The flight data recorder was severely damaged, and the Cockpit Voice Recorder was damaged, albeit recoverable.


(Associated Press)

David Burke was a USAir employee. He was called in to talk with his supervisor about missing liquor money, and terminated. However, his badge was not taken from him. On the way out of LAX, he bought a ticket for flight 1771 the next day.

On December 7, flight 1771 departed with Burke and his ex-supervisor aboard. Burke smuggled a gun on the plane by using his badge to bypass security. On climbout, he got up, dropped a note in his ex-supervisor's lap, then came back and shot the gun. He then went up to the cockpit, shot the flight crew, and used the final bullet on himself. (The badge was found in the wreckage).

The following employees lost their lives in the crash. (Photos courtesy of Chris Laborde)


Douglas M. Arthur

John Conte

Julie Gottesman

Gregg N. Lindamood


Deborah Neil

James Nunn

Debra Vuylsteke
PSA 1771 memorial plaque. Originally placed on the San Diego headquarters, now in the San Diego Air and Space museum.