A British TV show has proven once and for all that dogs can fly planes.
After a mere 10 weeks of training with world renowned trainers including Mark Vette, who once taught dogs to drive cars, three dogs were able to perform impressive aerial maneuvers on the British TV network Sky 1. The first dog to complete a figure eight maneuver, Shadow, was a rescue dog with a rough history.
Host Jamie Theakston said the purpose of the exercise was to prove to people that rescue dogs are just as trainable and friendly as any other dog. "People give up on them too easily and this series will show us why we shouldn’t," he
"People give up on them too easily, and this series will show us why we shouldn’t," he told Sky News. "They are just as deserving and just as intelligent. Even if a dog has been deprived of human contact or has been badly treated, it is just as able and motivated to initiate a new relationship with a human very quickly."
The dogs were able to overcome the doubts of many experts in their quest to obtain flight. Stanley Coren, emeritus professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia, told the Independent he didn't think the feat was possible.
"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, and the super dogs (those in the top 20 percent of canine intelligence) perhaps reaching the equivalence of a human three-year-old," he told the paper. "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."
With the proof of concept now complete, it's an open question whether dogs could ever supplant human pilots.
Vette posted video of the amazing feat to his YouTube channel on Tuesday.