Via Twitter, The Fix’s Chris Ciillizza of the Washington Post asks an intriguing question:
Does it worry anyone else that a massive plane can be brought down by a flock of birds?
Any minute now, someone will propose that all airplanes have an additional engine and be wrapped in rabbit wire. Sometimes you just can’t plan for the little stuff that creates big problems. And that got me thinking about some of the little things: September 11th never would’ve happened without a 99 cent boxcutter. Thousands died, two wars started, and an economy went in the tank. A small chunk of foam — the kind we hit our siblings with just for fun — put a small nick in the space shuttle Columbia, causing it to burn up on re-entry. An Eastern Airlines L-1011 crashed into the Florida Everglades in 1972, killing 94 passengers and 5 crewmembers, because a burned out light bulb in an indicator light diverted the pilots’ attention from flying the airplane. A relatively inexpensive valve broke at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant in 1979 after a pump stopped working, triggering the only partial nuclear core meltdown in U.S. history.
It’s always something — often something small. Feel free to add to the list.
About the blogger
Bob Collins has been with Minnesota Public Radio since 1992, emigrating to Minnesota from Massachusetts where he was VP of programming for Berkshire Broadcasting Co. He was an editor at the RKO Radio Network in New York, and WHDH Radio in Boston. He is the founder of the MPR News’ website. He is a private pilot and flies an airplane he built.