PSAatSAN4Ever
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PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:15 pm

Greetings to all!

Long time reader, recent joiner, and first-time poster here. I wish it was for something fun, but this is more appropriate for me.

Tomorrow, San Diego will mark the 40th anniversary of California's worst air disaster, when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 collided with a Cessna, killing 144 people on a clear Santa Ana-conditions day. Because of the two memorable photos - as well as the American Airlines DC-10 less than a year later - forensic aviation investigation became an integral part of every accident thereafter.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/VintageSD/photos/?tab=album&album_id=924185097631420

That's my comment with the additional picture. I'm not a computer whiz by any stretch, but I did draw that out to explain how aviation in our area changed for the better. It's approximate, but it's based on my observations of the flight patterns, and more than one pilot friend has commented that this is generally correct. It's always been my belief that the greatest honor to anyone is to learn something from their death - whether an accident or disease or anything else - and work to ensure that whatever happened to them never happens to anyone else.

I live about 1.5 miles to the northwest as the crow flies from the actual site. For those who don't know, the memorial plaque is not at the actual site; it is several blocks away at the North Park library. To the north (and sometimes directly above!) of me I can see planes maintaining 5,000 feet heading east, and to the south I can see the 2 degree descent in planes on final approach.

A question, though, for someone who might know: I have waded through the "technical-ese" language of the reports, and I cannot find if there was any recommendation at the time for ALL planes to be required to have transponders - which was one of the main factors in the Cerritos mid-air collision nearly eight years later.

A somber moment, but thank you for reading. Unlimited love and peanuts while flying!!
 
757SanCam
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:13 pm

I was just 4 months in working for the local CBS affiliate in San Diego. That morning, our crew was driving south on 805 and I saw the 727 on fire heading for it's demise. As a newly hired camera assistant, I assisted the videographer. We arrived at the scene less than 3 minutes after impact and were shooting and witnessing unbelievable carnage and destruction. There was only one police officer and one fire truck on scene so we pretty much had unrestricted access and in the middle of all that was happening.

I will never forget what I saw, there were only pieces of bodies, one sight was a hand and part of an arm with the PSA flight attendant uniform on it, an indelible impression. That and actually seeing the 727 heading for the North Park neighborhood are as fresh in mind as that day 40 years ago. Technology at that time with our camera gear taking 15 seconds to come up and be usable didn't afford us the shot of PSA 182 plummeting.

Finally, that night, I'm sure I suffered some sort of PTSD, when I got home, the smell on my clothing of burnt flesh and jet fuel had me throwing out in the trash everything I was wearing, including shoes and underwear. The final mental blow was waking from 3 nightmares of heave breathing and sweating profusely. They were me being on the right side of the 727 next to the wing on fire, in the cockpit and finally on the ground as the jetliner headed right for me.

The technology has improved vastly all over the country since PSA 182 with class B airspace, TCAS and more, but the human tragedy will never go away, RIP to all those who suffered on that memorable day, September 25, 1978.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:09 pm

757SanCam wrote:
I was just 4 months in working for the local CBS affiliate in San Diego. That morning, our crew was driving south on 805 and I saw the 727 on fire heading for it's demise. As a newly hired camera assistant, I assisted the videographer. We arrived at the scene less than 3 minutes after impact and were shooting and witnessing unbelievable carnage and destruction. There was only one police officer and one fire truck on scene so we pretty much had unrestricted access and in the middle of all that was happening..


You definitely had a unique perspective on the disaster, having arrived so quickly and because of your job. Thanks for sharing your memories of it. It doesn't surprise me that it was so harrowing an experience for you.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
PI4EVER
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:17 pm

PS lost 38 employees on this flight as operating crew and employees deadheading or non-revenue pass riding to SAN.
I was part of the merger transition team in 1988 and 1989 w/US and PS people had never recovered from this tragic accident nor that of PS1771.
An employee I heard about was Nikki St. Germain. She was Director of Reservations after years of employment first as a F/A.
Her brother Donald was a F/A on board PS182 and tragically her husband Donald Arthur was check airman and on board PS1771.
Nikki left PS in 1987 and regrettably passed away in 2005.
An employee I worked with on the transition team had been on vacation and due to a hotel missing a wake up call to him, he missed PS182 out of SMF. He was at the airport trying to get on a later flight to SAN when a fellow employee ran up to him to report the accident to PS182. He missed 182 by a mere 30 minutes.
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
washingtonflyer
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:41 pm

I too saw PS 182 come down. Was with my mom that day in Hillcrest while she was doing volunteer work at a thirft shop. Won't forget that one....

It was also very, very hot that day. Big time Santa Ana.
 
757SanCam
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:28 pm

Thanks for the support of telling my story here, I realize it's a bit graphic, but I feel that an accident like this can't be sugar coated, and that out of aviation accidents, good comes out in improvement of safety for all of us that fly.
Here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fddf_zpqZM&t=38s: This is from that day and what my crew saw. Don't worry, the video is edited so there are no grusome shots, but from the driving to the scene on the freeway to just before the aerials gives you an idea of what we saw and access to the scene before police really closed the scene down.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:40 pm

757SanCam wrote:
Here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fddf_zpqZM&t=38s: This is from that day and what my crew saw. Don't worry, the video is edited so there are no grusome shots, but from the driving to the scene on the freeway to just before the aerials gives you an idea of what we saw and access to the scene before police really closed the scene down.


That's very close in filming there, definitely shows how close after the accident the crew were there. Thanks for that!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
Cody
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:11 pm

A few years back, I was in the cockpit of a US Airways flight departing Indianapolis. The tug driver told us he had pushed flight 182 off the gate in LAX that day. He stayed in LAX until the US merger and then he transferred to IND. As far as I know he is currently working the ramp in CLT.
 
Ionosphere
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:10 am

Working Crew 
of PSA 182
Captain James McFeron
First Officer Robert Fox
Flight Engineer Martin Wahne
Flight Attendant Karen Borzewski
Flight Attendant Kate Fons
Flight Attendant Deborah McCarthy
Flight Attendant Dee Young

Employees traveling as Passengers
Captain Jimmie Kelly
Captain Spencer Nelson
Captain Roger Walsh
First Officer Brian Maclean
Flight Attendant Lynette Cherry
Flight Attendant Marti Coleman
Flight Attendant Lisa Davis
Flight Attendant Amancio Elizaga, Jr.
Flight Attendant Gail Forsyth
Flight Attendant Colleen Kepler
Flight Attendant Whilhelmina Mottola
Flight Attendant Lynn Owens
Flight Attendant Marla Scavia
Flight Attendant Gale Shapiro
Flight Attendant Donald St. Germain
Flight Attendant Jane Whyle-Spitz
Flight Engineer James Dormer
Aircraft Inspector William White
Field Service Agent (Sacramento) Javier Escalante
Field Service Agent (Monterey) Herb Stewart
Lead Mechanic Michael Fitzgerald
Line Mechanic Billie Adams
Line Mechanic Arnold Califf
Operations Training Instructor Robert Ramirez
Passenger Service Agent (Monterey) Timothy Delucca
Passenger Service Agent (Los Angeles) Jeri Dickson
Passenger Service Agent (Sacramento) Steven Henry
Personal Administration Robert Benner
Sales Secretary Barbara Boisselle
 
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TheRedBaron
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:17 am

Tcas has made a lot easier to avoid such tragedies ...you can see in this video the alert at 0:49 secs the jumpscare of the first officer ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK5KTQGuXSQ

Best Regards
TRB
The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
 
trnswrld
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:15 am

That really is sad how many PSA employees lost their lives that day. Must have been devastating to the airline. Obviously for everyone else involved as well goes without saying. I always tend to read up on accidents that come up in posts and one thing that I read a couple times, but cant seem to find is that it says someone got video footage of the Cessna going down. I cant seem to find any info on that. Has anyone else heard of this?
Another thing that I'm curious about and I'm not sure what kind of investigating could have been done on this specifically, but based on the pictures the entire length of the wing is there. Obviously we see major leading edge slat damage, and maybe the inboard flap was completely torn off, but I'm wondering if the pilots had any control whatsoever of that aircraft? Maybe the flight controls on the right wing were completely disabled...not sure where cables or hydraulic lines run in the wing.
This kind of reminds me of the TWA DC9 midair with the small aircraft in the midwest. The DC9 was descending at very high speeds and I believe they say the pilots likely were never able to see the other aircraft.
 
CAFlyer
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:50 am

My father was a pilot for PSA, lost many friends on that flight, and was involved in the crash investigation. I was only seven years old, but remember how shaken he was coming home from recovering wreckage. Picking luggage out of trees, marking body parts to be recovered, and mourning friends on the flight. One of his best friends was scheduled to be the co-pilot on the flight, but swapped trips at the last moment with another pilot. A simple twist of fate that spared his life. Afterwards my father said he would never be involved in another investigation again. I went to North Park a few years ago to visit where the aircraft impacted. Working for successor of PSA, the picture of the flight's final plunge, one of the most famous in aviation photography, weighs heavily on my heart.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:25 am

trnswrld wrote:
Another thing that I'm curious about and I'm not sure what kind of investigating could have been done on this specifically, but based on the pictures the entire length of the wing is there. Obviously we see major leading edge slat damage, and maybe the inboard flap was completely torn off, but I'm wondering if the pilots had any control whatsoever of that aircraft? Maybe the flight controls on the right wing were completely disabled...not sure where cables or hydraulic lines run in the wing.


You can check the NTSB report on PSA 182 online right here.

It does state:on Page 36:

"15. The Boeing 727 was probably not controllable after the collision."

The details are in the full report. Things like part of the Cessna's fuel tank was found in the PSA wreckage, and slats and pieces of flaps from the 727 were found in the Cessna wreckage will give you some clue as to the amount of damage the collision caused.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:38 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
trnswrld wrote:
Another thing that I'm curious about and I'm not sure what kind of investigating could have been done on this specifically, but based on the pictures the entire length of the wing is there. Obviously we see major leading edge slat damage, and maybe the inboard flap was completely torn off, but I'm wondering if the pilots had any control whatsoever of that aircraft? Maybe the flight controls on the right wing were completely disabled...not sure where cables or hydraulic lines run in the wing.


You can check the NTSB report on PSA 182 online right here.

It does state:on Page 36:

"15. The Boeing 727 was probably not controllable after the collision."

The details are in the full report. Things like part of the Cessna's fuel tank was found in the PSA wreckage, and slats and pieces of flaps from the 727 were found in the Cessna wreckage will give you some clue as to the amount of damage the collision caused.


When they looked at the two photos closely during the investigation, they could see aileron inputs and rudder inputs. It would appear that the crew was trying to regain control of the airplane all the down. I can surmise that they never gave up. As you said, the airplane wasn’t controllable.
 
trnswrld
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:59 pm

Yeah I noticed that as well looking at some of the pictures it appears that you can see what appears to be almost full aileron deflection trying to get that left wing down. Obviously those pilots were doing everything they could to get control so I guess that pretty much answers my questions as far as having control of the aircraft.

CAflyer, I agree....the pictures of the PSA flight going down along with the AA DC10 nearly upside down in Chicago are probably the two most well known aviation disaster photos. Very sad events.
 
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longhauler
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:41 pm

I think one of the most heartbreaking facets of that crash was that two of the pilots, seeing their imminent demise, said good bye to loved ones knowing it would be saved on the Cockpit Voice Recorder.

CAFlyer wrote:
My father was a pilot for PSA, lost many friends on that flight, and was involved in the crash investigation. I was only seven years old, but remember how shaken he was coming home from recovering wreckage.

I went through something similar when Air Canada lost a DC-8 north of Toronto in 1970. My father, also an Air Canada pilot, lost a close friend and assisted in the investigation.

I was 10 at the time, but it never left me. It is why today I am very active in Air Accident Investigation.

Although it is little comfort. Those aboard PSA 182 died that day knowing that as a result of that crash, things were learned and aviation today is safer.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
washingtonflyer
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:54 pm

I've still got my copy of the San Diego Union from that day. Photo of PSA 182 on the front page, and a few pages in a photo of the Cessna crashed onto the street on Polk Avenue in North Park. The Union showed a trail of fluid (looked like blood or some other type of fluid) lead away from the crash.

Lets not forget that about 8 or 9 people on the ground died as well.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:05 pm

washingtonflyer wrote:
I've still got my copy of the San Diego Union from that day. Photo of PSA 182 on the front page, and a few pages in a photo of the Cessna crashed onto the street on Polk Avenue in North Park. The Union showed a trail of fluid (looked like blood or some other type of fluid) lead away from the crash.

Lets not forget that about 8 or 9 people on the ground died as well.


7 people died on the ground, only because it was 9am and people were at school or work. Had this have occurred during dinner time, there would have been far more fatalities on the ground.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:10 pm

longhauler wrote:
I think one of the most heartbreaking facets of that crash was that two of the pilots, seeing their imminent demise, said good bye to loved ones knowing it would be saved on the Cockpit Voice Recorder.

CAFlyer wrote:
My father was a pilot for PSA, lost many friends on that flight, and was involved in the crash investigation. I was only seven years old, but remember how shaken he was coming home from recovering wreckage.

I went through something similar when Air Canada lost a DC-8 north of Toronto in 1970. My father, also an Air Canada pilot, lost a close friend and assisted in the investigation.

I was 10 at the time, but it never left me. It is why today I am very active in Air Accident Investigation.

Although it is little comfort. Those aboard PSA 182 died that day knowing that as a result of that crash, things were learned and aviation today is safer.


I'm only aware of one jumpset rider saying something like, "Mom, I love you". Was there another on the CVR?

Another seemingly little known fact recorded on the CVR was that the Captain told everyone on the flight deck to brace themselves as they were near impact.

Yes, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, there has never been a collision when at least one airplane had TCAS, the Transponders were on, and the pilot(s) properly followed the TCAS commands. PSA 182 was the second-to-last straw for the FAA to mandate TCAS. Aeromexico was the last straw and now TCAS is mandated, along with EGPWS and Predictive Windshear.
 
ltbewr
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:38 pm

While mid-air collisions are very rare today, they can still occur. Recall the mid-air crash several years ago of a GOL plane and a private jet over Brazil where there were several factors that led to it including pilot, communications and ATC errors.
 
Cdydatzigs
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:10 pm

trnswrld wrote:
CAflyer, I agree....the pictures of the PSA flight going down along with the AA DC10 nearly upside down in Chicago are probably the two most well known aviation disaster photos.


Until 9/11 anyway...
 
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longhauler
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:11 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
I'm only aware of one jumpset rider saying something like, "Mom, I love you". Was there another on the CVR?
Another seemingly little known fact recorded on the CVR was that the Captain told everyone on the flight deck to brace themselves as they were near impact.

The Captain said "brace yourself".

Two unidentified comments followed. "Hey Babe" and "Ma, I love you", followed by the impact.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Cdydatzigs
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:12 pm

This was also the very day that Don Coryell was hired by the San Diego Chargers. Dan Fouts recalled driving to the facility up I-805 and seeing suitcases all over the place, and learned of the hiring when he arrived by special teams player Hank Bauer who asked him, "Did you hear the news!?" Fouts replied, "Yeah, it's terrible." Bauer replied, "Terrible? We just hired Don Coryell!!" He had no idea about the crash.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: PSA 182 40th Anniversary 9/25/2018

Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:31 pm

ltbewr wrote:
While mid-air collisions are very rare today, they can still occur. Recall the mid-air crash several years ago of a GOL plane and a private jet over Brazil where there were several factors that led to it including pilot, communications and ATC errors.


That was due to the Embraer not having his Transponder on. Thus being invisible to GOL’s TCAS and disabling his own TCAS. That’s why I made the caveat in my previous comment about having the Transponder on. Also in the mid-air involving the DHL 757, one of the airplanes followed the ATC controller’s command and not his TCAS RA.

Current industry guidance is you follow TCAS, period.

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