Little Foxes – Large Failures

“It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.”

On 25 July 2000, Air France Flight 4590, an SST Concorde, crashed in Gonesse, France, killing all 100 passengers and nine crew members on board the flight, and four people on the ground. It was the only fatal incident involving Concorde.

According to the official investigation conducted by the French accident investigation bureau (BEA), the crash was caused by a narrow titanium strip (about 18 inches long) that fell and landed on the tarmac of the runway from a DC-10 that had taken off minutes earlier. This small metal fragment punctured a tire on the Concorde’s left main wheel bogie during takeoff. The tire exploded, a piece of rubber hit the fuel tank, and while the fuel tank was not punctured, the impact caused a shock-wave which caused one of the fuel valves in the wing to burst open. This caused a major fuel leak from the tank, which then ignited due to sparking electrical landing gear wiring severed by another piece of the same tire. The crew shut down engine number 2 in response to a fire warning, and with engine number 1 surging and producing little power, the aircraft was unable to gain height or speed. The aircraft entered a rapid pitch-up then a violent descent, rolling left and crashing tail-low into a hotel in Gonesse.

On 10 April 2003, Air France and British Airways simultaneously announced that they would retire Concorde later that year. They cited low passenger numbers following the 25th of July, 2000 crash.

A small 18 inch piece of metal brought about the demise of an SST and ultimately of an entire industry. “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.”

Sometimes majoring on minors can prevent majors in the long run.

“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5:6)

No one wants a little cancer, does he? Yet, people tolerate a little sin in their lives. Sin is cancer of the spirit. Cancer can destroy your life. Sin can destroy the soul. One malady is temporal; the other is eternal.

The insidious effect of one man’s sin spreads to others. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). We affect others. “Evil communication corrupts good manners” (I Corinthians 15:33). The Southern translation of that verse is: “If you lie down with dogs-you’re gonna’ get up with fleas!”

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:5, 6)

A little 18 inch piece of metal brought down a huge SST.. and there is no telling how much damage a small 3 inch piece of human anatomy, the tongue, has produced!

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Song 2:15


Leave a Reply