iPhone survives 1,000-foot plummet from plane

Posted:
in General Discussion
An iPhone 6S tumbled out of an airplane window during a flyby of the Lakes Region of Rio de Janeiro and was later recovered in working condition on the beach.

Image credit: Ernesto Gallioto/Arquivo pessoal
Image credit: Ernesto Gallioto/Arquivo pessoal


The phone belonged to environmentalist and filmmaker Ernesto Galiotto, who was flying nearly 1000 feet above Praia do Peru in Brazil when it fell from his hand.

The flight was to commemorate the renewal of the International Blue Flag Seal, a symbol that recognizes the environmental quality of the beach. Authorities had restricted the event to officials only to avoid coronavirus transmission.

In the video, available on Globo's site, shows the moment where the phone fell.

The fall lasted about 15 seconds before the phone landed on a sandbar. Galiotto said the phone had landed face-down, and the only damage was to the phone's screen protector. Galiotto and a friend recovered the phone the next morning after tracking it via GPS.

Image credit: Ernesto Gallioto/Arquivo pessoal
Image credit: Ernesto Gallioto/Arquivo pessoal


This isn't the first time an iPhone has survived such a fall. In 2018, an iPhone was recovered in working condition after it fell 1,000 feet during a ride in a vintage biplane.

That same year, an iPhone 7 Plus survived a 300-foot drop from an amusement park ride in Orlando, Florida.

Again, in 2018, an iPhone 7 took a two-day dip in the ocean after being dropped from a boat off the coast of Dorset, England. The phone -- which was housed in a waterproof case -- was recovered with 84 percent battery life and returned to the owner.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,053member
    That's impressive, but not all that surprising - especially considering it landed on a sandbar. Depending on the orientation of the iPhone as it fell (and other factors), it might have had a terminal velocity of something like 10 m/s. If that were the case, it would be something like dropping it from the roof of a 2-story house. And if the orientation was different such that it reached a much higher terminal velocity, then it probably would have landed on an edge.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,945member
    carnegie said:
    That's impressive, but not all that surprising - especially considering it landed on a sandbar. Depending on the orientation of the iPhone as it fell (and other factors), it might have had a terminal velocity of something like 10 m/s. If that were the case, it would be something like dropping it from the roof of a 2-story house. And if the orientation was different such that it reached a much higher terminal velocity, then it probably would have landed on an edge.
    There's been a few of these stories over the years about phones falling from heights. This one was near identical to another instance a couple years also involving a filmmaker and his butter-fingers, his phone (not an iPhone) falling from 1200 feet and landing without damage while recording the whole thing. The shape of phones and the way they will spin in a free-fall keep the terminal velocity restricted so as long as it's not falling on a hard surface they have a chance of surviving. 
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 3 of 10
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member
    Amazing my Xs cracked from a 3 foot drop. 
  • Reply 4 of 10
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,329member
    In a fluid there will always be a terminal velocity, right? Some factors like air density and orientation during the fall will be unknowns. We can get mass and a few other things.

    But since the fall from ~1000' took 15 seconds, wouldn't the terminal velocity be greater than 10m/s? Maybe closer to 20m/s?

    A sky diver can change his velocity but I wouldn't think a phone would do anything other than tumble all the way down. Being dropped I'd think there'd be little to no acceleration and its speed would stabilize quickly.

    Obviously I've never studied physics or fluid dynamics so any clarification would be welcome.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    ... the iPhone appears in a transparent protective case, and the video is turbulent, so turbulence drag may have helped a bit too...
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Looks like it’s in a case, which also helps. 
  • Reply 7 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,133member
    It's all about the landing and deceleration force imparted on the phone at the point of impact. A skydiver (Luke Aikens) purposely did a free fall from 25,000 feet, without a parachute or wingsuit, and landed safely in a pneumatically controlled net. 
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    iKnockoff morons have those false meme that iPhones break at 2 foot drops. What the morons don't know is that the knockoffs have hired the same manufacturer for the glass. So they're identical besides the fact Apple gets the highest quality glass first.

    spice-boy said:
    Amazing my Xs cracked from a 3 foot drop. 

    It's all physics. Which is why I consider drop tests and "iPhone vs. X knockoff" videos pointless.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    dewme said:
    It's all about the landing and deceleration force imparted on the phone at the point of impact. A skydiver (Luke Aikens) purposely did a free fall from 25,000 feet, without a parachute or wingsuit, and landed safely in a pneumatically controlled net. 
    He landed in a net. But several people have fallen from high altitude without a parachute, or net, and survived:
    • March 1944, Royal Air Force rear gunner Flt Sgt Nicholas Alkemade, 18,000 feet
    • Alan Magee dropped 22,000ft (6,700m) without a parachute over France in 1943 and lived
    • Soviet navigator Ivan Chisov plummeted 23,000ft (7,000m) in 1942.
    • James Boole, from Staffordshire in the UK, lived to tell the tale in 2009 after a 6,000ft (1,829m) free fall in Russia.
    • January 1972, 22-year-old Yugoslav flight attendant Vesna Vulovic's plane exploded following a suspected terrorist bomb who plummeted 33,000ft (10,160m) before landing in snow at Srbska Kamenice in the former Czechoslovakia.
    • In 1996, Bear Grylls' at age of 21, was in an SAS training exercise in a skydive over Zambia, his parachute failed to inflate at 16,000ft (4,900m).
    So if a human body can withstand a fall from 6 miles up, an iPhone can sometimes do the same.
    razorpit
  • Reply 10 of 10
    The sandbar landing is probably what saved it. If it landed on a pile of rocks instead...
    watto_cobra
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