Apple MacBook Air survives 1000-foot, 125mph fall from plane

“A South African pilot appears to have taken the name of his MacBook Air a little too literally, managing to drop it from the light aircraft he was flying when the canopy flew open,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “The MacBook, along with his flying license and logbook, fell 1000 feet into the fields below – but amazingly survived the experience.”

“Admittedly it didn’t emerge entirely unscathed,” Lovejoy reports. “Pilot and Reddit user Av80r reports that the unibody casing was bent, the glass trackpad shattered and the cooling fans were damaged, but the screen remained intact and the MacBook continues to work.”

See the photos of the MacBook Air survivor in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Build quality.


  1. A lot of things can happen on a plane. However what was described here, is no different than a person driving a car. Not only is this a testament that Apple’s are tough, but don’t use your laptop while piloting a plane. It’s possible the number of distracting items he had to deal with, made the conditions ripe for not securing his canopy down properly.

    Just saying.

  2. It now becomes the perfect server! Built-in battery backup, built-in screen, keyboard and mouse. (I use an Air that has a damaged screen for DNS in just this manner).

    * With a bend like that, I might worry about the integrity of the batteries.

  3. I doubt he was using it while flying. He lost his logbook and license also and they were found by the same person. This would make me Believe that all three were in A container, like a messenger back. If so it was probably also turned off.this should have been in the article.I don’t see how it is usable without the fan. Howeverhowever the fact that it was still able to function at all is impressive. That makes recovery of data a lot easier. This could make for a very interesting comparison test. Take comparable laptops, tablets, and phones drop them out of a skydiving plane onto a grass field, and see how they survive.

  4. I have a 2011 15″ MacBook Pro that I wound up running over with a rental Lincoln Navigator 3 years ago while it was in my briefcase (broke almost everything else in my case). The total damage consisted of a slightly lighter color in the aluminum top from the pressure and a tiny bend in the seam at the bottom cover. No other damage at all and it still works perfectly.I turned it into my media Mac, since I knew it was going to blow up at some point (still kickin’ though!) Now that’s build quality.

  5. I drunkenly misplaced my iPhone 6 outside during what seems like the 12th of our interminable snowstorms in Boston on Saturday night. After a minor panic/placing my device into Lost mode, my friend received a call from a snow plow driver who had retrieved my device. When I spoke with the gentleman (absolute kindest person), he mentioned that he’s surprised the phone is perfectly fine, as it was found because it had BEEN RUN THROUGH A SNOWBLOWER.

    When I retrieved it, aside from a few scratches and a slight dent to the antenna, it was!

    Thank you, Jony Ive.

  6. I’d like to see a video of a MBA falling through the air. I’m not so sure it hit at 125 MPH as I’m betting it’s shape give it some wind resistance that slowed it to less than the full acceleration. The more turbulence it created the less acceleration. It’s a thought. In any case, bloody amazing.

    1. It’s *possible* that it fell in a flat spin orientation, but not likely it would stay in that orientation for very long.

      Terminal velocity for a human in a spread eagle configuration is about 120mph, in a delta tuck, around 180mph. I suspect that a flat aluminium disk (“First, assume a spherical cow”) edge-on will be higher than a person in a delta position.

      As mentioned earlier by another poster, it’s likely that the MBA, logbook and license were in a briefcase or backpack; the original news article doesn’t say.

      1. Good point about the pack/case/bag. That would make sense considering the list of what when flying out of the plane. Anyway, fun to think about.

        Another fun thing to think about, poorly trained bozoid MBAs (Masters of Business Administration) falling thousands of feet and hitting the Earth at 180 mph. Let’s start an airflow dynamics study on those MBAs. 😉

  7. And that’s not a Toughbook or otherwise enhanced Apple product. Just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill (if such a term could be used for Apple anything) Macbook Air.

    I suspect that its subtle wedge shape, relatively light weight (as well as being cast in aluminum) and excellent build quality were major contributors to such a remarkable outcome.

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