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iPhone 4 survives 1,000 foot fall from Air Force plane

Late last night, we received an email from U.S. Air Force Combat Controller Ron Walker, who wrote to tell us an incredible story about his iPhone 4 and a minor workplace mishap.

Staff Sergeant Walker's duties as a jump master require him to ensure that his aircraft is in the proper location before sending parachute jumpers into the air. One week ago (on March 16), he stuck his body out of the plane's open door to look for landmarks as the plane sped through the air at 130 knots (about 150 mph), about 1,000 feet above the ground.

As he did so, the Velcro seal on his pocket flew open, and out popped his iPhone. Airman Walker could do nothing but watch it fall away from the plane; he assumed it was lost forever, not to mention destroyed by the fall (for reference, that drop is roughly equivalent to tossing a phone off of a 90-story skyscraper).

Later, he told his tale of loss to his colleagues on the ground, one of whom installed the Find My iPhone app on his iPhone. Within minutes, the app found the wayward phone, still active, and Walker and his buddy hopped on ATVs and tracked it down in a wooded area about 2 miles away.

Not only was the iPhone undamaged, Walker reports, it was in perfect working order -- "not a scratch on it, not even dirty." That's the phone itself in the photo above.

The phone was wearing a Griffin case at the time of its unexpected journey, but no special aerodynamic protection. (It wasn't even this Griffin case, which is designed to meet military standards.)

Thanks to Staff Sgt. Walker for sharing this iPhone recovery saga, and for his continuing service to our country. We're glad it turned out so well. Next time, however, make sure the iPhone is wearing a parachute and carrying a flare gun.

[Airman Walker also shared his story separately with iLounge.]

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