It wasn't heavy and the little LiPo battery pack probably provided some air resistance to slow it down so it wasn't damaged much. Nothing a little hot glue couldn't fix.
And if they're in front of, say, a PC or Android tablet instead of their phone? If you want to ensure they get the message, you have to send it over IMessage *and* whatever other platform they use (most likely Skype or AIM). Or, you could skip iMessage and just send it on the other platform, which they'll likely have installed on their PC, tablet, and phone, so they'll get it wherever they are without you having to send it twice. That's precisely the scenario I talked about in my initial post, and it's precisely why my die-hard Apple friends have abandoned iMessage (and Messages on their Macs and iPads) as unreliable.
That's the real problem though isn't it? If I'm going to send a message to somebody, I have no idea what device they're in front of, or if they're near any device at all. I'll use the messages app either on my phone or on my Mac and that message will get to them on their phone (at least) whether it's an iPhone or not. I'm not going to send two messages because SMS is the least (or may be better said "most") common denominator. I'm certainly not going to use Skype unless I know for a fact that they do. Other friends or associates might prefer hangouts. Some of them may have Skype installed on all their devices while others may not. Frankly, I don't want to keep track of that.
Your friends may use something instead of the messages app on their iPhone for long group chats when they know what everyone else is using, but I doubt they've abandoned it for all texting.
Right now there is no universal protocol for messaging, but most people have a phone which is capable of sending and receiving SMS/MMS messages. That is your safest bet, or you could, you know... call them.
And to be clear, one doesn't explicitly choose to use iMessage or not. The built in messaging apps will use iMessage to communicate with other apple devices when they can, but will use something else when they can't. Instead of creating an iMessage for Android, Apple could simply allow the messages app on the iPhone to use an AIM, Yahoo, or Google account like the Messages app on the Mac does. But again, none of of those are universal.
It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.