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iPhone 4 survives 1,000 foot tumble from plane

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
News Categories: iPhone

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In one of the more amazing stories of iPhone drop survival we’ve heard, iLounge reader and U.S. Air Force Combat Controller Ron Walker has shared the story of how his iPhone 4 improbably survived a 1,000 foot fall from an airplane. According to Mr. Walker, who works as a Jump Master, ensuring that the airplane is in the correct position when he sends parachute jumpers out of the aircraft, the plane was traveling at 130 knots (roughly 150 mph) when he stuck his body out of the plane door to look for landmarks. At that point, one of his pockets opened and his iPhone took flight before plunging to the ground. “Well, guess I’ll be buying a new phone,” he thought to himself, and continued on with his duties.

Once on the ground, Mr. Walker shared the story with his co-workers, and ended up downloading the Find My iPhone app onto a friend’s phone. Within roughly a minute, the app had found his phone, which was roughly two miles away in a wooded area between a two-lane highway and a lake. Plotting the phone’s position on maps, Mr. Walker and a friend headed out on ATVs to see if they could track the phone down, if only so Mr. Walker could attempt to back up his data for transfer to a replacement unit. Within an hour, the two had pinpointed the phone’s location near a tree, ultimately finding the phone in complete working order, apparently with nary a scratch or patch of dirt on it. Mr. Walker says that the phone only had a Griffin Motif TPU case and an aftermarket metal backing on it for protection; he believes that the phone’s fall may have been slowed by tree leaves and needles as it made its way towards land.

Amazingly, the email Walker sent to iLounge was typed on the very iPhone 4 that survived the fall, making it the first we’ve ever received from a skydiving Apple product.

Update: We’ve added a photo of the now un-encased iPhone to the story.

Update: We’ve added another photo of the phone’s back to the story, as well as a couple of screenshots approximating the area in which the phone was found.

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Comments

1

First of all Thank you for your service you our great country, Walker.  To the story itself.. woow,.. very interesting story :D

Posted by Dennis on March 23, 2011 at 7:34 AM (PDT)

2

p,s,:  It woulda been so cool if the camera was turned on to record ... :D :D

Posted by Dennis on March 23, 2011 at 7:36 AM (PDT)

3

He needs to do it again only with that HangTime app installed. He would shoot right to the top of the leaderboards for sure.

Posted by ort on March 23, 2011 at 7:37 AM (PDT)

4

No pictures?

Posted by Jeff on March 23, 2011 at 8:49 AM (PDT)

5

But mine couldn’t survive a 3 foot drop. This is an example of luck, not strength of design.

Posted by Whitney on March 23, 2011 at 9:22 AM (PDT)

6

I’m questioning this story.  FindMyiPhone doesn’t work unless you set up the MobileMe account settings on the iPhone ahead of time.  You can’t just download the app, and it starts finding your phone.  Unless the story left out that important piece, that he had that set up previously.

Posted by Kevin on March 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM (PDT)

7

@6 -

I didn’t see anything saying that he had not enabled FindMyiPhone on his phone prior. It simply said they had to download the app to a friends phone in order to locate it. Absolutely plausible, as I have had to do this myself. You just enter the AppleID of the person that lost their phone and it will locate it…if it is turned on and has been enabled on that device.

I guess they didn’t think it was important to throw that tidbit in there. That just leaves it up to assumptions. You assumed he hadn’t enabled…I assumed that he had. smile

Posted by Mitch on March 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM (PDT)

8

Griffin must make an ad about this, some hardazz case, dont you think?

Posted by Osmac on March 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM (PDT)

9

Find my iPhone is on all my stuff.  Thanks @6-

Posted by Ron on March 23, 2011 at 4:39 PM (PDT)

10

My friend’s 3GS fell off a rock into a fast-flowing stream about 3 feet deep. It took him about a minute to climb down and get it. The iPhone was on the whole time with the message “this accessory is not compatible..”. It had a minimal case on it. It was fine! Great phones.

Posted by Robert McLaughlin on March 24, 2011 at 7:59 AM (PDT)

11

I know and work with Ron and he is an avid Apple fan and he knows the importance of FindMyiPhone.

If your running OS 4.2, or higher, you’d be a complete idiot not to take advantage of the free service FindMyiPhone (Apple) offers!

Posted by usafcct on March 24, 2011 at 10:02 AM (PDT)

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