I love my dog. He’s adorable, loyal, a great running partner, and equally skilled at catching things in his mouth and snuggling. But would I trust him to fly a plane? Probably not. (Sorry Fritz.)
Some people in the UK feel differently. The Independent reports that Sky 1 is making a series called Dogs Might Fly in which rescue dogs are trained to pilot light aircrafts. Hey, if we have a show about forcing people to strip naked and survive in the woods, why not a show about a dog flying a plane?
Caroline Hawkins, creative director of Oxford Scientific Films, the documentary-makers behind the series, told The Independent, “We certainly know that dogs are hugely bright and trainable – often more capable than we think. The series looks to find an answer to that question, in a safe and controlled way, which is enjoyable for the dogs. As training progresses, we’re looking forward to seeing if it might be possible for a dog to take control of an aircraft.”
Stanley Coren, emeritus professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, was a bit more skeptical. "I do consider dogs to be intelligent, with the average dog having a mental capacity equivalent to a two-and-a-half-year-old child. Given that we would not expect a human three-year-old to be able to fly a plane, I would not expect that a dog could do so either," he said. Dude has obviously never seen Baby Geniuses.
And these dog flight experiments wouldn’t happen unsupervised of course—trainers and pilots would be on hand to, you know, make sure everyone didn’t end up dying a fiery death. And as we've seen before, if a dog can be trained to fetch beer on demand, who's to say they can't maneuver a giant flying object?
Instead of mulling over whether this is a brilliant idea or a terrible one, I highly suggest you just Google Image Search “dog pilot” instead.
Photos by Nick Ridley / Getty Images