Culture of Chaos: The crash of TAM Airlines flight 3054

Firefighters struggle to control the inferno following the crash of TAM flight 3054. (The Guardian)
Passengers queue at an overcrowded information desk during the Brazilian aviation crisis. (Fabio Pozzebom)
TAM Airlines planes at Congonhas Airport in 2012. (Yasuyoshi Chiba)
São Paulo-Congonhas Airport, seen from the air. (Wikimedia user Mariordo)
Another view of Congonhas Airport, highlighting its position on top of a hill. (Marcos Ferreira)
The end of runway 35L, where the accident would later occur, seen here earlier in the 2000s. (unknown author)
PR-MBK, the aircraft involved in the accident. (Davi Ribeiro)
The route of TAM flight 3054. (Google + own work)
This ATR-42 slid off the same runway the day before the accident. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
A thrust reverser deployed on an Airbus A321. (Pieter van Marion)
The difference between the new procedure and the old procedure for landing with one thrust reverser. (Mayday + own work)
How Captain Stefanini inadvertently botched the procedure. (Mayday + own work)
The trajectory of flight 3054 as it neared and then ran off the end of the runway. (Wikimedia user Rcaterina)
This CGI animation from Mayday: Season 11, episode 1 “Deadly Reputation” depicts the final moments of TAM flight 3054.
Firefighters battle the flames at the TAM Express building. (Milton Mansilha)
The vertical stabilizer and empennage were among the only recognizable parts of the plane. (The Guardian)
The actual security footage of TAM 3054’s fatal landing. (Radiobras)
Heavy machinery was brought in to clear the wreckage after fire crews had extinguished the blaze. (AP)
Firefighters carry a victim away from the crash scene. (Agência Luz)
The previous crash involving Philippine Airlines in 1998. (AP)
Wreckage of the A320 lies next to the burned-out remains of the building. (Agência Luz)
Firefighters remove another victim from the wreckage. (Reuters)
The TAM Express building burns after the crash. (AP)
Cranes were brought in to begin removing the wreckage once the bodies of victims had been recovered. (Reuters)
An engine came to rest inside the second floor of the TAM Express building. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
Firefighters work at the scene of the crash. (Reuters)
Onlookers gathered to watch heavy machinery remove the wreckage. (Reuters)
Within a couple days, northbound traffic on Washington Luís Avenue had reopened, even as work continued at the crash site. (The New York Times)
An engineered materials arrestor bed under construction at Congonhas, seen here on Google Street View in 2021. (Google)
A TAM Airlines A320 passes over the memorial to the crash victims, located on the former site of the buildings destroyed in the disaster. (Leonardo Soares)



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Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg

Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at