Flying Mach 800 at 1cm AGL

Via Kottke via Golfstream.

The dimensions of the head are impressive. With a width of less than a hundred nanometers and a thickness of about ten, it flies above the platter at a speed of up to 15,000 RPM, at a height that’s the equivalent of 40 atoms. If you start multiplying these infinitesimally small numbers, you begin to get an idea of their significance.

Consider this little comparison: if the read/write head were a Boeing 747, and the hard-disk platter were the surface of the Earth:

– The head would fly at Mach 800
– At less than one centimeter from the ground
– And count every blade of grass
– Making fewer than 10 unrecoverable counting errors in an area equivalent to all of Ireland.

I ran the numbers and I got close on the AGL (Above Ground Level), however the Mach number is way off.

Anyone care to check my numbers?

Update 12/29/2008:harddrive-to-747 MathCad file