The PSA 727, N533PS, approached SAN
from the northwest. To align itself properly with the operating runway at Lindbergh Field, it had to make a left turn over Mission Valley, fly east, and then make a U-turn to head west-northwest to land on runway 27.
Despite a faultless blue sky, modern (at the time) computerized traffic avoidance systems, and assurances from the cockpit that "they had the traffic in sight", the right wing of the 727 sheered off the top of the Cessna Skyhawk just as the 727 was starting its U-turn to the right.
I highly recommend MacArthur Job's "Air Disaster" Volume Two for more insight into the accident.
The actual crash site is just west of Interstate Freeway 805, south of University Avenue near the intersection of Dwight and Boundary Streets. There are no traces of the accident at all - the entire neighborhood has been rebuilt since. However, at the nearby North Park branch of the San Diego Public Library system at 31st & North Park Way, there is a tree planted with a memorial plaque to those who died in this horrible accident.
One change to aviation since then: part of the "race-track" route that planes from the north and northwest would run (specifically over Mission Valley and North Park itself) allowed Lindbergh Field traffic (San Diego International Airport) to descend below 5,000 feet if there was no conflicting traffic
. This particular airspace was and still is under the control of Montgomery Field, a general aviation airport. This policy is no longer allowed - until on final approach for SAN
runway 9 or 27, aircraft inbound for Lindbergh must maintain 5,000 feet.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!