On 29 September 2006, the wing tip of a brand new Embraer Legacy corporate jet sliced into a GOL 737 flying in the opposite direction over the Amazonian rain forest, causing the airliner to crash with the loss of all 154 people on board.

Vanity Fair has published a detailed account of this accident by William Langewiesche in advance of a final report of this accident. Langewiesche writes about the things seldom touched on in any investigation, the tensions between young pilots and old pilots, the pressures of PR, the subtle consequences of new technology on old thinking, and resistance to change, among others.

He doesn’t blame anyone, and he is already under attack from vested mind sets in the Brazilian military, who ran the relevant air traffic control system, and those who believe pilots are infallible. He writes about things that really matter, but get swept away in the coded correctness of aviation regulation and air accidents investigations. He writes too about the Indians who heard the thunder in the clear sky, and have gone back to where the shattered jet lies, to tend to the rupture between this world, and the parallel world of their beliefs, populated by the confused and abandoned souls of the suddenly dead.

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