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  July 1, 2009

USB flash drives and Flight 1549


By now, just about everyone has heard the heroic tales of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger as he ditched his Airbus 320 into the Hudson River after striking a flock of birds.

But what you may not know is that all of the passengers have been getting their items back, including the items from their luggage as well as anything they had at their seat – purses, computers, books, etc.
This came as a surprise to some of the passengers, but the most surprised may have been Vicki Barnhardt, who received her package without warning a couple weeks ago.

According to press reports, Vicki was very happy to see her items, especially since she had given them up for lost, having been submerged for several days in the frigid waters of the Hudson River. Even her favorite pair of running shoes looked brand new, thanks to the efforts of Douglass Personal Effects Administrators, which was charged with the awesome task of returning all the belongings.

So what does this have to do with USB flash drives?

In the same box as Vicki’s shoes were the four flash drives she had thought were lost in the crash. Not only did the drives look like new, but all of the data was still on them and was retrieved. Those passengers with ordinary hard drives in their computers weren’t so lucky as the water took its toll on the electronics. But the USB flash drives came through the incident with flying colors, allowing Vicki to access everything she thought she had lost.
This is perhaps the best testament about the durability of USB flash drives. If they can survive an emergency landing in the ice cold Hudson in the dead of winter, they will certainly survive anything you can dish out at them during a normal work day.

I just thought there is no way I am going to retrieve any of this data but I can get every bit of it. That’s amazing,” said Barnhardt.
It certainly is, Vicki. It certainly is.