Did you ever screw up something so huge that you just didn’t think you could ever recover from it?

“This story below came to me from a reader and frequent contributor whom I’ve nicknamed Snerdley.  It’s one of those “forwarded e-mail” tidbits that has circled the globe for seven years now, although this was the first time I saw it.  The accompanying narrative that appears here, is not the narrative which accompanied the e-mail, however.  As is often the case, these stories tend to morph in their travels. Instead, I researched the facts of the actual incident, and sources are given (below) as to the information I provided.

The “spoof version” was pretty funny, but the true account is ironic enough as it is.

So, I just wanted to point out that Just about everything we go through in life, no matter how seemingly catastrophic, costly, or seemingly a waste, really is both relative, and all a matter of perspective.  EADS, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, are the company that manufactures the Airbus planes, and chalked up a revenue of $63B in 2012 according to Wikipedia.  To EADS, the loss of a $250M aircraft was probably not devastating.  To the guy who throttled the engines, and maybe the guy who neglected to put the chock blocks in place, it was a pretty humiliating mistake that probably cost them their jobs, but the fact that only a monetary investment was lost and no one died, is a very positive outcome in terms of overall “cost” as airline crashes go.

This was a brand new Airbus 340-600

Toulouse Blagnac Airport, France at 1610 hrs (UTC)

15 November 2007
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Image source on all images: optusnet.com.au
A crew boarded to conduct pre-delivery tests on the ground, such as engine run-ups, prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi

  • Ground test technician on the right seat in charge of running the test, an Airbus employee
  • Customer representative on the left seat, on board to observe compliance to the required test parameters
  • Flight test engineer on the jump seat to observe, Airbus employee

Airbus2What happened:

  • The aircraft had just completed a static ground run to test various system.
  • After stopping and inspecting the engines, the technician started the engines again for another run at full power to find the origin of oil leaks.
  • About three minutes after power up, the customer representative on the left seat sensed the aircraft moving forward and informed the Airbus technician in charge of the controls.
  • The ground test technician acted on the brake pedals and then released the parking brakes.
  • Since the aircraft continued to move forward, the technician turned the nose steering wheel to avoid crashing into the test-pen wall.
  • The nose wheel gear skidded sideways as the aircraft accelerated.
  • The aircraft crashed in the slope of the test-pen wall, the forward fuselage broke and fell down on the other side.
  • The flight test engineer on the jump seat pulled back the throttle two seconds after the impact.
  • There were thirteen seconds between the start of aircraft movement and the collision with the wall.
  • Engines No. 1 and No. 2 hit the wall and were severely damaged
  • The Numbers 3 and 4 engines could not be shut down after impact because the throttle control connection had been severed.
  • No. 4 was finally shut down over two-and-a-half hours later when enough water and fire-fighting foam had been pumped to snuff it out.
  • The No. 3 engine died 9 hrs later when it ran out of gas, it was too jammed into the wall to get any water/foam into it.

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According to the French Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA), “a lack of detection and correction” of violations to test procedures caused the accident when the four Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines, producing 56,000 pounds of thrust each were being tested at high power with the wheels unchocked. The report added that when the aircraft suddenly surged forward, the ground test technician focused on the braking system and attempted to steer away from the test-pen wall instead of reducing the engines’ thrust. The impact of the 220-tonne aircraft moving at 55kmh nearly split the aircraft in two. (Source)

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Airbus called the incident “regrettable” and said five people were injured, with three remaining hospitalized as of Friday. One is an employee of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies while the other two work for Airbus, the manufacturer said. It said the aircraft was to be delivered “in the coming days,” adding, “Ground tests including engine runups are a normal procedure on all Airbus aircraft.” The plane was one of two -600s headed to EY before year end. It already operates two of the type. (Source)
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The $200 million brand-new aircraft crashed into a blast barrier, totaling it.

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.Unsafe Acts (Active Failure)-

* Violations – During the test for detecting oil leaks, the procedure to apply thrust on two engines only was not systematically carried out. All four engines were brought to full power, procedures required running up two engines – the one leaking and one on the other wing (to prevent torquing and yawing of the fuselage).The Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) and the CAM (Customer Acceptance Manual) state that the engines tests must be carried out with the use of wheel chocks for the main landing gears.

Preconditions for unsafe acts – Loss of situational awareness and complacency. The Airbus technician in charge of the engine run test was unaware that the aircraft was moving until the customer representative told him so. He testified to have often carried out this kind of test, but at a higher aircraft weight.

 Unsafe Supervision (Latent Failure) – Airbus technicians admitted that some test are conducted outside the scope of the Customer Acceptance Manual due to pressure from the customers to check some details. The presence of representatives of the customer on board during the delivery phases can create pressures inducing testing technicians to overlook their frame of reference.

Organisational Influences (Latent Failure) – There were oversights in safety programmes and organizational processes, recordings of video cameras from several days before the accident show that some test are carried out with wheel chocks and some others without even though reference documents require using wheel chocks during engine test. The lack of a detection process and deviation correction in the ground test procedure, promoted the operation of the test outside of the established procedures.(Source) 

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Ok, so what is it you are regretting today?

Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something.

In life, as in art, there are different ways of looking at a something.

Linear Perspective: a mathematical system for representing three-dimensional objects and space on a two-dimensional surface by means of intersecting lines that are drawn vertically and horizontally and that radiate from one point (one-point perspective) two points (two-point perspective) or several points on a horizon line as perceived by a viewer imagined in an arbitrarily fixed position.dictionary.com

Aerial Perspective: a technique of rendering depth or distance in painting by modifying the tone or hue and distinctness of objects perceived as receding from the picture plane, especially by reducing distinctive local colors and contrasts of light and dark to a uniform light bluish-gray color. dictionary.com

Perspective is all about…

  1. comparison; light vs. shadow, sharp vs. blurred, warm color vs. cool color
  2. position or point of view; far vs. near, above vs. below

If you can’t change the situation or circumstance, or consequences of something you are faced with or trying to accept, then there are other things you can do!  Put some distance between you, and the thing that is troubling you.  Invite a trusted friend to evaluate the situation from “where they stand” (outside of it and objective), put it away from you for a while or in some cases it may involve moving yourself away.

If it is something you have kept secret, perhaps light is what is called for.  That is, to literally bring it out into “the light of day”.  Secrets, like other hidden things tend to grow fuzzy, and take on talons and fangs, but when out in the open, they lose that “monster in the closet” air about them.

As humans, our perspective is often pretty “linear”.  We tend to think of our lives that way.  The “line” starts at birth, and goes on until death, and the trail we leave is our legacy, therefore where we screw up, we tend to see a “permanent blemish” on the record of our lives.

Most people never view their lives from an “aerial” perspective.

But the Bible says that those who wait on the Lord, shall “mount up with wings as Eagles”.  One of the greatest joys of being a follower of Jesus Christ, is knowing that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  He casts those sin into a sea of forgetfulness, as far from us as the East is from the West, and remembers them against us no more. He promises that for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes, all things work together for good.

Getting saved, contrary to what Beth Moore, Joyce Myer, Joel Osteen and many others would tell you, is not about having a wonderful, prosperous easy-going life.  It is an invitation to something that utterly transcends all worldly things, including time itself.

Whatever you have done, whatever or whomever you may have lost, there is a hope that you can grab onto today, right now! It is not only a change in perspective, it is quite literally a rebirth.

When you come to Christ, He will give you new life, a new heart, a clean slate, and His unbreakable promise never to leave you or forsake you. This old world isn’t going to change.  Life on the big blue marble, pretty much has the same in store for everyone, eventually.  Born to die.  They say you start the dying process as soon as you are born.  For all mankind’s efforts to preserve youth, strength, vigor, and life itself, the statistic that never changes is the one that says ten out of every ten people who are born, will also die.  Yeah, I know the “full body transplant” and the merging of “man and computer” appear to be “just over the horizon”.  I don’t believe the good Lord is going to let man get that far, but if He does, I sure don’t want to be here.  The CERN hadron collider opening doors from other dimensions, genetically lab-generated soulless humans combined with the superpowers of computer and machine, and malevolent supernatural disembodied spirits looking for a body to inhabit, what could possibly go wrong there?  This sounds like sci-fi, but let’s face it, we are witnessing a coming world that will be like nothing mankind has witnessed in all of history. Terror, nuclear Iran, economic collapse. That has to have a lot of you thinking about life and about death.

But the Bible tells a different story about life and death. According to the Bible, you can either be born once, and die twice, or you can be born twice, and die only once.

How can that be?

Life was passed on to you when a couple of cells joined up and started multiplying. Someday that physical life will come to an end for your body. But your body is merely a “garment” or “vehicle” for containing the essence of you.  When we address that living “inner” part of us we often refer to it as “having a soul”.  But that’s not really accurate.  We tend to think of our “self” in physical terms, and yet that part which is eternal and supernatural, is our soul.  The life itself within the body and soul, is our spirit. Our physical body is for interacting with a physical world.  Our soul is that part of us with which we can interact with God.  Spirit comes from the Latin Spiritus which means “breath of God”.  Spirare is “to breathe”. The first man, Adam, received life when God breathed it into him, and each of Adams’ descendants inherited life when they were conceived.  God promised Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die.  That was the beginning of physical death. The “second death” is eternal death. As in, an eternal process of dying that never ends.

The Bible says that if you are born “a second time” (born-again spiritually) you will never have to worry about the second death. (John 3:3, Revelation 20:6 & 14, 20:1, and 21:8)

Let’s focus  not on life and death, for a moment, but on the words first and second.
  “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body…Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual.”
1 Cor 15:44,46 (the “natural” body is first – and the “spiritual” body is second.)  Physical birth is first, spiritual birth is second. 

You don’t have a choice in that sequence or the delineation. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. John 3:3,6

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “ John 3:5

But you do have a choice in regards to spiritual death.  You see, the body and the soul don’t do their dying simultaneously, nor do they do so in the same manner.

You can die “to the flesh” and be born again “by the spirit” now, and if you do that, the second death (eternal spiritual death) will never touch you. Dying to sin now, means being resurrected a new creature, to newness of life by the Spirit in Christ Jesus.  See, God is not in the “fixer-upper” business, when it comes to souls.  He can do a lot to help you in this life, but He has much bigger stakes in sight.  We have eternity in our hearts.  That is why mankind wishes to attain immortality.  But the only way to live forever, is to die to sin, because sin brought with it the curse of physical death.

Repent, turn from sin, stop listening to the cacophony and vain chatter of “religion” and self-reliance, of fools who say there is no God, and bigger fools who tell you that you can have it all now.  You know death is coming.  You know that you are a sinner.

Whosever calleth upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

Talk about a clean slate and second chance?!?!  You can partake (by faith) of the death, burial and resurrection of the eternal sinless Christ who did not have death coming to Him, but took it upon Himself for your sins and mine, or you can pay your own penalty.  Jesus bought a pardon for you, and you can enter into a Covenant of faith by what amounts to a change of perspective, a complete turnaround.  You can look at life and death, with this new “light” from the Bible-  Jesus calls Himself the Light of the World- and strike up a relationship of reconciliation with your Maker. Or choose to retain your “rights” to sin, and retain the death that comes with it.   Choose new birth, new life in the Spirit now, even in this world with forgiveness, and pardon, or keep walking that same road, with all the record of failure and the inevitable eternal death waiting at the end so you can say “I did it my way”.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!