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Apple iPhone 4 falls 1,000 feet from an airplane and survives

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple iPhone 4 falls 1,000 feet from an airplane and survives
For those who thought that the current iPhone design had too much glass to withstand drops and the average rough handling that a smartphone goes through in the course of its life, here is a story that just might surprise you.

U.S. Air Force Combat Controller Ron Walker was flying at 130 knots (that's 150 mph for you non aeronautical types) when he decided to stick his head out the window of the plane to look for landmarks. The velcro on his shirt failed and out dropped the handset, plummeting it's way toward earth from 1,000 feet up. Walker thought to himself that he would have to buy a new iPhone and continued with his piloting duties.

Once back on terra firma, Walker and a friend used 'Find my iPhone' and some ATV's and sure enough, the Apple iPhone was found in working condition in a wooded area inbetween a two-lane highway and a lake. Not only that, but protected only by a Griffin Motif TPU case and some metal backing on the back, the device did not suffer even one scratch.

A very impressive performance by the Apple iPhone which really tells you about the build quality of the handset. And once his iPhone was found, Walker used it to send an e-mail about the incident to the source to prove that it remains in perfect working condition.

source: ilounge

This Apple iPhone dropped 1,000 feet from a moving airplane and landed unscathed

This Apple iPhone dropped 1,000 feet from a moving airplane and landed unscathed

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posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:54 13

1. Phonecall01 (unregistered)

the question is : What did it land on ?

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:58 18

5. jd829 (Posts: 155; Member since: 24 Feb 2010)

a pillow factory

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 22:44 5

26. ps1001 (Posts: 65; Member since: 14 Dec 2010)

maybe landed on that firefox-blondie....

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 17:21 1

47. jogutier (Posts: 324; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)

Phonearena is really showing their colors with this article. lol We get, everyone at Phonearena got a Crapple 4 for their continueing support of Apple products. :)

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 19:49 2

50. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

hey all u people can shut about about phone arena cause if u remember they had a whole thing on how the droid incredible got shot with a bullet. nobody says shit then, but now its holy crap how r they getting paid. honestly, do u think apple needs to pay them? they get unbelievably rich by producing a single phone each year...

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:54 1

2. Stan (unregistered)

Color me skeptical.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:56 1

3. duder (unregistered)

Well its not like it would build up tons of speed, if anything it slowed down alot before it hit the ground, if it even fell out at all idk why this counts as news

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 20:42 9

17. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

wow.. you failed basic science class.

the phone would have reached terminal velocity (9.8 meters/sec) within a few hundred feet. Everything falls at the same speed without wind resistance. A small phone isnt going to have much wind resistance.

This story said the phone was in a big case with some custom metal backing as well and it fell in a soft wooded spot. Yea, its still impressive (and it proves how much u need a good case), but its not a bare iphone falling 3 feet on cement which is what normally happens (and breaks it).

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 23:55

28. Eingild (unregistered)

Sir, the phone dropped 1000 feet above the ground. I guess air resistance should not be ignored in this situation. Maybe the phone dropped on a stack of leaves or something soft like the soil or grass. It will not break by any means unless it is dropped on a cement. :)

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 02:14 3

32. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

lol... guess u also didnt work out well with your science class.. first of all terminal velocity doesnt necessarily have 9.8 m/s value rather it can be just any value where drag equates dropping force... what happens at this state is that the acceleration goes zero and body keeps falling with the same speed through out its journey... in this case perticularly,,, iphone would never have reached its terminal velocity... rather its velocity would have kept increasing by 9.8 m/s every next second... no matter whatever it would have fallen on... it must have hit with something lmore than 1000m/s speed... and yes.. if it really didnt get damaged as reported... then clap not for iphone but for guys luck... :)

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 13:24

45. Dynamic (unregistered)

Wow, you are wrong. If you drop a penny off the empire state building, does it kill someone?

No, gravity can only pull the item to the ground so fast, it's weight, size, resistance, etc... comes into play. The iPhone would have hit a maximum speed and maintained that speed through the rest of the flight, not just constantly increasing in speed.

This is impressive irrelevant of what it fell on. Doesn't look to be "muddy", so my guess is it fell on something that did pad the fall some. Also a good case obviously helps out.

posted on 25 Mar 2011, 06:33 1

52. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

dynamic... weight has literally no role to play with falling of body... no matter whats its size is.. the body will keep falling with the same speed.... also, drag doesnt depend on the mass of body... come over.. you need to be given a science class serioulsy...

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 19:46

49. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

ya rocker guy, uh if u were right then the rain would kill us... it obviously has a maximum speed

posted on 25 Mar 2011, 06:30 1

51. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

LUcas777... no dude... rain never can.. because as the rain drop falls it reaches its terminal velocity right after 1 second of its fall and then it keeps falling with the same speed... try to understand the fact that terminal velocity is dependent on size... which in caseof rain drop is very small... also minor drag on rain drop has a major role to play... which is almost negligible when it comes to talkin about fall of iphone...

posted on 25 Mar 2011, 09:43 2

53. Eingild (unregistered)

Dude, why do you keep on giving your own comment a thumbs-up?

posted on 25 Mar 2011, 09:48

54. Eingild (unregistered)

Oh and btw, you could not just ignore air resistance in this situation. It may be a free falling body but it is not in an ideal environment where air resistance could be ignored. Only in a vacuum that you can ignore everything else. You speak so highly of yourself as if you now everything. Maybe you should go back to school and learn Science "again".

posted on 25 Mar 2011, 12:39

55. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

u know what Eingild... ur funny... ignoring resistance in terminal velocity case... its like ur ignoring ur girlfriend in dating... this time.. thumbs up for you my friend... :p

posted on 26 Mar 2011, 09:07

56. ChrisTheTechGuy (Posts: 85; Member since: 04 Nov 2010)

wait a minute....we're all talking about terminal velocity of an iPhone....and we're all arguing about science. you all know terminal velocity takes different amounts of time based on the object right? and how the hell do ANY of you know what the terminal velocity of an iPhone 4 is, I am pretty sure that test has never been done.

This argument is stupid as hell.

Its obvious the iphone fell on something soft since it said "THERE WASNT EVEN A SCRATCH ON IT", or this story is a fake.

Shut your fanboy idiot selves up and just look at the facts of this story being stupid as hell.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:57 6

4. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)

strangley this iphone had a different IMEI and there were steve job tracks leading away from it....

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 17:59 4

6. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)

terminal velocity of it isnt very fast....it hit leaves 1st and landed in soft dirt and not a rock.....yeah i guess it could happen. with any phone.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:02 3

7. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

@duder brush up on your physics. From a thousand feet up it would reach terminal velocity. It wouldn't slow down. Even if it fell flat side down the whole way it would still achieve the same velocity.

Aside from that, it most likely fell on natural ground-dirt or ruffage- and not a road. That's what the story insinuated anyway. Even with that it's still quite a feat but apple isn't the only one to congratulate. The case helped to spread the shock around. Still the case couldn't have absorbed all the kinetic energy so apples design combined with the case are definitely a winning combination.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:06 1

8. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

@XxverbalxX "terminal velocity of it isn't that fast" all objects fall the same speed if the same gravity effects it. Regardless of size or weight.
But your about right about one thing. If the landing spot was soft like grass, any smartphone with a case and decent build quality could have survived

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 20:11 1

16. physics (unregistered)

Terminal velocity isn't the same for all objects when there's air resistance...it's only the same if they're falling in a vacuum...

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 20:45 3

18. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

terminal velocity is 9.8 meters per second. .for anything. Wind resistance slows it down, but an object that dense and slim is not going to incur much wind resistance.

Publicly educated im assuming.. lol

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 21:49 3

23. giantgnome (Posts: 67; Member since: 11 Feb 2011)

Lol you guys are really unbelievable. Do you guys even know what terminal velocity is?

It's the speed(velocity) you move at when you are no longer accelerating because the force of drag now equals the force of gravity. This is dependent on the size, shape, weight, and orientation of the object so a phone falling facedown versus edge-down would actually reach a slower terminal velocity.

And no, terminal velocity is NOT 9.8 meters for all objects lol. Acceleration in a vacuum is, but not terminal velocity.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 01:42

31. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

You statement depends on one truth that will never be. The iPhone will not fall face down or edge own the whole way. It will spin.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 01:40

30. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

It's not the public education. I had that. It's the drugs.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 02:23

34. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

@remxfa... terminal velocity doesnt have a constant value.. it can be just any value with the only condition that upward acting drag equals the downward acting mass...

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 02:20

33. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)

update your knowledge.. terminal velocity certainly matters on SIZE... check out its formula... there is a designation as "R" in the formula...which stands for radius... or we can say the size...

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 09:48

38. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)

Silly nerds, Trix are for kids! Everyone knows that the terminal velocity is dependent on the size of the cat that sleeps in your backyard multiplied by what color shirt you wore last Thursday divided by the RPM's of the planes engine when it fell, multiplied by the magnitude of the japanese earthquake. Only then you can figure out the terminal velocity of the iPhone when it fell.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 11:24

40. Jumbo (unregistered)

No, I dont think thats right...I could of sworn you multiply by the color of shirt your wore last FRIDAY. Eh, who knows? Its science.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 11:45

42. CB2047 (unregistered)

Thank you! finally someone recognizes this simple fact -- who cares about terminal velocity...the phone fell a long ways and didn't break. story over.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:11

9. BaiGanyo (Posts: 308; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)

Did it say whether it was on vzw? Because for some reason their airwaves seem a lot slower than some, maybe that broke the fall a little?

Jokes aside, this story is stupid, unverified, probably half true at most.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 00:35 1

29. Penny (Posts: 1648; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

It must have been on Verizon airwaves. After all, the phone did end up working.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:22 1

10. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Well, I've heard of people falling 1,000 feet and surviving. Doesn't attribute anything special to the build quality of humans, as many will just go splat.

I can guarantee that if you dropped a Droid X under the exact same conditions (and I mean EXACT same) it would survive the drop as well. And it wouldn't need a case to do it either.

Especially since an iPhone can't survive a 4 foot drop all the time either.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:25 1

11. b (unregistered)

strange this one survives a massive fall from the sky and countess crack and shatter dropping from hand held height . hmmmmmmm.......and 82% confirmed more instances of iphone 4s breaking than 3gs.....hmmmm. Thank god for idrones that networks have insurance

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:29

12. kcombs (Posts: 275; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)

he had a case on it, I could see some truth in that. I dropped mine off the kitchen counter on to the concrete with my case and didn't have a scratch. granted the kitchen counter is not 1000 feet off the ground, but if it hit some tree branches on the way down.. it could happen.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 18:54 1

13. Kartiel (unregistered)

This story reminds me of the Droid 2 that Exploded on that guys ear lol

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 19:23

14. skymitch89 (Posts: 1299; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)

It wasn't the design of the phone that protected it; it was that case that protected it. Not to mention the fact that the floor of the wooded area was probably really soft with leaves and pine needles.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 19:25 1

15. AustinF1ynn (unregistered)

My friends iphone fell off the side of the couch and broke.. Doubt this is true

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 20:58

19. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 867; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)

My N8 could survive that fall. WITHOUT A CASE.

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 21:05

20. Wowe1234 (unregistered)

When an absence of news... Copying BGR.com on bogus and completely unbelievable stories is the thing. Interesting way to market for Apple. This is more of an add. You should write about the Tooth Fairy putting an Iphone under my girlfriends pillow. What! That never happened...

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 21:17

21. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

its a conspiracy (

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 21:56

24. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Better yet, how about you discuss the story from CNN about the homophobic app on the Apple App Store not being pulled?

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 22:11 1

25. JW1ngman (Posts: 21; Member since: 18 Mar 2011)

i know my next case to submit to mythbusters!

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 22:54

27. Ronen Polinovsky (unregistered)

My friend was just playing angry birds and the phone broke, it was even with a case :)

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 04:57

35. IOS5 (unregistered)

Ok try it with galaxy s and for the guy he said N8 can handle it without case you must be dreaming even with the case N8 will carshe like a glass of water one of my friend has the N8 the phone got scratch so easy just for 3 months use.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 06:20

37. ibap (Posts: 758; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)

What some people won\'t say for 15 minutes of \'fame\'.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 11:21

39. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)

wow physics debate all of a sudden. well i will go with what i know from school/ tv

all things do fall at 9.8 meters per second in a vaccum. that is the force of gravity.

a penny dropped from the empire state building cannot penetrate the human skull due to its lack of mass (mythbusters)

a bowling ball will

the plane wasnt a vaccum. thats all i got without looking up stuff. i really dont care about it either way

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 11:40

41. graduatedscienceclass (unregistered)

Goodness, people get your units right. First of all terminal velocity, like many people have said, is not 9.8 meters/second. Second, the force of gravity is not 9.8 meters/second either.

9.8 meters/second is a velocity, 9.8 meters/second/second (or 9.8 m/s^2) is the rate at which your speed accelerates in freefall.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 12:14

44. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)

glad u remember. luckily i havent had to use this in real life at all.

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 12:13

43. XxVerbalxX (unregistered)

had more coffe brain kicked in a bit....

when anything falls the speed INCREASES 9.8 m/s. that is the force of gravity not terminal velocity.

terminal velocity is the term used for the top speed an object gets while falling once they are not heavy enough to combat wind ristance any more. all things begin falling at 9.8 m/s, and increase at 9.8 m/s until it tops out. in a vaccum there is no resistance and all things fall the same.

i prob got it wrong but i refuse to look it up. i will stick with ignorance

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 13:36

46. digitell (unregistered)

it was also in a mil spec case so the case was manufactured good not the iphone

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 19:02

48. tasteless (unregistered)

I heard this is what caused the quake in Japan.

posted on 27 Mar 2011, 16:08

57. Ben Marvin (unregistered)

Fake. You don't even say if it's a Verizon or AT&T iPhone.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 10:02

58. Ken (unregistered)

The pilot must have in his subconsicious state installed a parachute on his iphone somewhat :/.

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