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Airplane watching

I’m in the US right now, enjoying some American food and cheap electronics, so I’m catching up on pre-trip blog posts… lest you think I am still in Sao Paulo.

The other night we were all a little restless.  Hubby has spoiled my son, by letting him stay up late and play with him. So the other night, when my son decided he was dead set on not falling asleep, we decided to go on a drive.

On our last little GPS nightmare, we noticed while driving on Avenue Bandeirantes that there were some side streets that looked right at the flight path entrance for Congonhas.  So we sat and watched the planes land and take off.

Congonhas is a very interesting airport, it’s got a teeny runway as it’s in the middle of a city.  In fact, if you pay attention, you’ll notice parts of the “runway” are actually integrated with the city.  A large pole with lights on the corner of a gas station here or there. In fact it’s the 5th most dangerous airport in the world.  There’s not a lot of room for error, since this airport is right in the middle of the city.

Many of the other “most dangerous” airports are in areas that are very cold and snowy, like Antarctica.  But there were some with just short runways or bad design… like Gibraltar’s.

Yes that is a road going through the middle of the airport.


About scrubgrub

I'm just another soul on the internet, posting random thoughts into the ether, because well I love stumbling on other peoples random thoughts, so I figured why not add mine to the mix too. I'm also the mom to two very funny little boys, and how can you not share that with everyone?

2 responses »

  1. New York LaGuardia, Boston Logan and Chicago Midway are as dangerous as Congonhas, both have the same type of short runways, a quick Google search will reveal that all these runways are too short for today’s larger Aircraft. They are all older Airports in major cities.
    In Boston and New York you fall into the Ocean if you can’t stop. In Chicago you run into a street and houses, same in Sao Paulo’s Congonhas.
    There were many interesting articles about the “most dangerous” Aiports to land and take off right after that horrible tragedy in Congonhas when the TAM Airlines Airbus from Porto Alegre landed in Sao Paulo during a heave rain storm and “hydroplaned” into a TAM Airlines commercial building at the end of the runway.
    All 190 souls in the TAM flight were lost on the crash, plus many people inside the TAM building.
    There is a square now with a memorial at the site where the TAM building used to be. It is at he corner of Washington Luiz Avenue with Bandeirantes Avenue.
    I think that accident was before you guys lived in Brazil.


  2. Congonhas is small and challenging, the approach is CRAZY…really, I’ve been in the cockpit while you’re decending through 500 feet, between the buildings, it really is TIGHT. But here in Rio, Santos Dumont is crazy too…small runway, surrounded by water, mountains and overlapping airspace from the international airport. Seirously, landing here, coming in over the Niteroi bridge, pilots have to undershoot the runway. But what a way to entertain your kids! OMG, here in Rio, you can actually cross the end of the runway (think Gibraltar) and park on the other side, and watch planes take-off and land, with a separation of about 40 feet. Insane. I personally think they will boost security one of these days, but for now, we can go watch my husband land up close and personal.


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