iPhone survives landing after pilot takes Airplane mode way too seriously

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A pilot in Orlando dropped his iPhone on takeoff, but Find My lead searchers right back to it — and there wasn't even a scratch on the phone.

Orlando Executive Airport in central Florida is chiefly used for smaller aircraft like business jets, rather than commercial airlines. This pilot was flying a twin-engine light aircraft, when he dropped his iPhone onto the runway during takeoff.

A YouTube video has the subsequent exchange between the airport's main air traffic control (ATC) and an aircraft controller identified as Ops2, who reports what the pilot has done.

Orlando ATC laughs at the news, but asks where exactly it was dropped.

"He looked on his satellite and said it's about a thousand feet down [the runway]," replies Ops2, "just to the right of the center line. We're gonna try to find it."

The whole exchange takes many minutes as ATC has to deal with multiple approaching aircraft about to land. Eventually, Ops2 reports "We found it!"

"Alright," says ATC, "be a good story for Apple if he turns it on and it works. How shattered is the screen?"

"No, it's perfect shape and it works," reports Ops2. "And the satellite thing had it... exactly where it was."

"No way an iPhone fell off a plane going 50 [to] 60 miles an hour and didn't break the screen," says ATC.

It's not known what type of iPhone the pilot had. But the iPhone 13 has recently been shown to be as durable as the iPhone 12 range, albeit without anyone testing it in quite this way.

And as impressive as it is to survive falling from an aircraft on a runaway, in 2020, an iPhone 6S dropped 1,000 feet from a similar plane in flight.