Boeing 747s Still Get Critical System Updates Via Floppy Disks

Floppy Disks

Boeing’s 747-400 aircraft was first introduced in 1988 and appears to still be receiving critical software updates from the same 3.5-inch floppy disks that were the primary form of portable digital media in the 1980s.

The Verge reports that the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, first introduced in 1988, still receives software updates via the same 3.5-inch floppy disks that were the industry standard over twenty years ago. Security researchers at Pen Test Partners reportedly recently got access to a British Airways 747 after the airline retired its fleet following a huge drop in travel to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers discovered a 3.5-inch floppy disk in the cockpit of the plane which is reportedly used to load important navigation databases into the plane’s operating system. The database has to be updated every 28 days and an engineer performs the update every month.

While the use of such outdated technology seems very surprising, many of Boeing’s 737s have used floppy disks to load avionics software for decades. The databases stored on the floppy disks are becoming increasingly bigger, however, which has resulted in some airlines moving away from the floppy disk system. Others, however, have stuck with the system which requires engineers to visit each month to sit and load eight different floppy disks with updates on airports, flights, paths, runways, and more.

A tour of the inside of a 747 produced by this year’s virtual Def Con conference, the largest hacker conference in the U.S., shows the internal workings of the plane and the floppy disk system used by the aircraft. The video can be seen below:

Read more at the Verge here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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