How does an airline passenger respond to a near-rendezvous with death in the sky?
For those of us aboard a DC-9 over San Fernando Valley one bright Sunday there was only an incredible calm.
Strange, because death was so near.
Shortly after takeoff from Burbank, the pilot on PSA flight 273 banked sharply to avoid an unidentified Cherokee single-engine airplane, which was converging with the DC-9 at an altitude of 8,000 feet.
Although the jet and the private plane came within seconds of disaster, no one panicked.
Earlier, there had been an announcement that flight 273 was being delayed due to "Sunday flyers" practicing "touch-and-go" landings at Burbank Airport.
Whenever the weather is clear--particularly on weekends--the skies over San Fernando Valley are frequently crowded with private aircraft. It was one of those planes that nearly collided with the jet carrying 76 passengers and a crew of five.