So you think you can fly?
You think you can fly a plane using your mind? These guys do!
I came across this interesting article, (click here) which claims that tests conducted in Berlin have demonstrated that it is feasible to fly an aircraft using your thoughts.
That’s it. No joystick, no pedals, no rudder, no throttle, just your brain waves.
While this is mind blowing (pun unintended) it does open up the debate as to how much technology is good in a cockpit.
As it is, today, pilots hardly control anything directly. Most modern commercial aircraft are capable of flying themselves, performing all functions that pilots used to, including landing the plane, with little or no input from the pilot.
I would question taking even this much physical control away from the pilot.
Why? Because of this…
Every technological leap works extremely well in lab conditions. It looks great, sounds great and wows you.
However when you put it into mass production, replicated in large numbers by a sweat shop in China, you get Siri – or worse, S-Voice. Everyone (except the models in the ads) knows how effective these voice controls are.
What are they going to call it anyway? Siri for iPit?
Sometime in the near future a pilot enters the cockpit, puts on his Siri for iPit gear. It springs to life and asks the user to think into the machine. ‘Think OK Boeing to begin” it says.
Pilot: OK Boeing
Siri for iPit: Hello Captain. What do you want me to do?
Pilot: Close and Arm all Doors
Siri for iPit: Did you say “Crows and Armadillos”?
Pilot: No… I said Close and Arm all Doors!
Siri for iPit: Did you say, “Closer arm a dildo?”
Pilot: (Thinking slowly – as if that makes a difference) C-L-O-S-E A-N-D A-R-M A-L-L D-O-O-R-S
Siri for iPit: I am sorry. I do not understand (Speaking slowly) “C-l-o-w-s u-n-h-a-r-m a-l-d-o-s”
Pilot: (Screaming in his mind) CLOSE AND ARM ALL DOORS! CLOSE AND ARM ALL DOORS YOU B@$#*!!! CLOSE AND ARM ALL THE BLOODY DOORS!!!!!!!!!!
Siri for iPit: I’m sorry I don’t understand and I’d request you to stop screaming. I have informed airport security of a possible ‘mental imbalance in the cockpit’ violation. I have shut down all systems and locked the cockpit door till they arrive. Have a good day!
Pilot: Sigh! Not again!
Even if it does actually work, there’s a whole new set of problems to think about.
While flying the plane, what happens if the pilot is mentally agitated? What if they’re thinking about vacationing in Hawaii while flying from Osaka to New York? What if they’re reflecting on the insane roller coaster ride they took at Ferrari world? What if they’re fondly remembering their last diving trip? What if they fall asleep and have Kafka dreams? What if they have a split personality? What if they’re schizophrenic?
While it’s great to know that you can pilot an aircraft with your mind, would I board a flight that features this technology?
No way in hell!
Unless, of course, it’s piloted by an enlightened Buddhist monk.