It’s been about 12 million years since most of us used floppy disks, but apparently, ancient technology still plays a key role in delivering software updates to our 747-400 aircraft. Boeing.
This finding is with permission from the cybersecurity company Pen test partner and was originally discovered by Register. As part of this year̵7;s virtual DEF CON hacker conference, Pen Test Partners introduced a video tutorial about British Airways 747s after the airline decided to for retiring its entire fleet Last month due to the global epidemic. The approximately 10-minute tour is a glimpse of the plane’s rare avionics and cockpit – where Pen Test Partners has spotted a 3.5-inch floppy drive.
Apparently, the drive is the 747’s navigational database loader and needs to be updated every 28 days. As is the case, some poor engineers have to come up to the 747-400 individually and provide the updates manually … otherwise the plane won’t be able to fly. And it’s not just 747s. Each the VergeMost Boeing 737s are also updated via floppy disks. The operators of these aircraft, according to a 2014 Aviation Today report, there are floppy disk-filled binders for “all the avionics they might need”. That includes important information such as airports, runways, routes and reference points used by pilots to plan flights. It also sounds terribly inefficient, because while some systems may require only one updated floppy, others may require up to eight floppies.
You’d think that in the six years since 2014, someone will figure out how to bring aviation into the 21st century. Aviation today The report notes that even in 2020, “a significant number of airlines are still using floppy disks to load software parts.”
To be fair, the 747-400 is one old plane first flight 32 years ago in 1988, when floppy disk dominated the supreme. Today, however, floppy disks are mostly ranked for maintenance commercial and industrial inheritance system– things that are engineered to last but cannot be verified for themselves in the future or that are not easily replaced. For example, right until last year, the US military Stop using the 8 inch floppy disk to help manage it nuclear weapons system. In 2018, real floppy disk sales go up when the indie labels were small convert to 3.5 inch floppy disk at the height of the steam wave trend.
But going back to the plane, modern isn’t always better. For example, the Boeing 737 Max has advanced software systems, but the malfunction resulted in two Accident killed 346 passengers, lead to Boeing pause production on line late last year. Not yet another software problem with the 737 Max found in February, and after more than a year of the plane being landed, Boeing only to restart production in the May. By contrast, while the Boeing 747-400 is no longer in production, only two have ever been involved in the deaths of passengers on 8.42 million flights, each Airsafe.com.