No, floppy disks aren’t dead yet. They are used to update aircrafts | HT Tech

No, floppy disks aren’t dead yet. They are used to update aircrafts

Boeing 747 - 400s still receive critical security updates, including navigational databases using 3.5-inch floppy disks.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 11 2020, 20:03 IST
Boeing 737 MAX airplane 
Boeing 737 MAX airplane  (REUTERS)

When it comes to data storage and data transfer, technology has changed by manifolds over the years. From floppy disks to HDDs, the world has gone from storing a couple of MBs worth of data to storing hundreds of TBs worth of data. Cloud storage has made this easier by providing unlimited storage capacity while reducing the need to have more physical storage space. With cloud storage becoming the norm, one might think that floppy disks (yes, we're talking about the same old square-shaped storage devices that could store up to 2MB of data) might be dead. But they aren't.

In fact, floppy disks are still being used by Boeing to update its 747 aircraft models.

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According to a report by The Register, Boeing 747 - 400s still receive critical security updates, including navigational databases using 3.5-inch floppy disks. Security researchers at Pen Test recent got full access to a Boeing 747 aircraft after the UK-based Big Airlines decided to retire the fleet owing to a plummet in travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team was able to get access to the avionic bay of the Boeing 747 aircraft, which is tucked beneath the floor of the lower passenger deck.

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Upon examination, security researchers discovered a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive in the cockpit. This drive, as mentioned before is used to load navigational databases on the aircraft and it is updated every 28 days by an engineer.

Interestingly, Boeing 747 is not the only aircraft that uses floppy disks for delivering critical updates to its system. The Verge quoting a 2014 report from Aviation Today pointed out that Boeing 737 uses a similar technique for delivering updates to the aircraft's system. Thankfully Boeing has updated its aircraft models. Boeing's newer aircraft models, which includes Boeing 777x and 787 use fibre networks for the updating the plane's systems.

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First Published Date: 11 Aug, 20:03 IST
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