Airlines still order floppy disks, “the last man standing in the business” explains why
Remember the floppy disks that were almost as old as The Beatles? Well, you’d be surprised if we told you that they are not that obsolete, and are still in use today in a couple of industries.
Tom Perksy, “the last man standing in the floppy disk business” as he calls himself, is the founder of floppydisk.com – a company in the United States that sells and recycles the ancient storage devices. The company also takes care of disk transfers, offers a recycling program, and sells used or broken diskettes to artists from all around the world, AIGA Eye on Design Magazine reports.
According to Persky, his main customers are the industrial users whom they define as the people using floppy disks as an agent for getting information in and out of a machine.
He says that the air fleets still use floppy disks as half of them are older than twenty years; and back then, disks were the best technology available.
“That’s a huge consumer. There’s also medical equipment, which requires floppy disks to get the information in and out of medical devices,” he adds.
Expectedly, there are always people who fancy ancient objects to keep the nostalgia alive around them. Disk hobbyists are one of them, who buy 50 disks in bulks.
Floppy disks in the aviation industry
Can you imagine you could probably store one single image on a 1.44 MB device? They actually do more than we thought.
In 2020, after the pandemic hit the whole world hard and disrupted many industries, British Airways retired one of its Boeing 747-400s; and security researchers at Pen Test Partner have been able to poke about it, The Register reports. After a quick walkthrough of the plane's avionics and the flight deck, the official from Pen Test Partners found a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive in the cockpit that is used to load critical navigation databases. (Video below)
"This database has to be updated every 28 days, so you can see how much of a chore this has to be for an engineer to visit," the official said.
It can be considered vintage, ancient technology, whatever you name it. However, until the 20-year-old planes are no longer in service, it seems that the diskettes are here to stay as well.