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Top dogs learn to fly plane for TV show

Tuesday February 16th 2016

Some of the UK's smartest dogs are being trained to master the controls of a light aircraft.

Following a nationwide search to find suitable candidates for the ground-breaking experiment, 12 rescue dogs have been put through their paces at a secluded mansion in the Sussex countryside.

After weeks of rigorous testing and problem-solving, the best-performing canines will be sent to flight school for 10 weeks of intensive training. The top dog will then take the controls of a light plane as part of the experiment, filmed for a new Sky 1 series called Dogs Might Fly.

Animal behaviour experts believe the cognitive skills of the most intelligent pets can be employed to fly a plane.

Full details of the venture have now been revealed after amateur fliers at a London airfield spotted a dog grappling with aircraft-style controls last year.

The candidates include Spike, a Parson-Jack Russell cross who is described as "an inquisitive, happy and confident dog". Poppy, an Australian kelpie-collie cross is "very bright with focus and a keen mind", while two-year-old terrier-beagle cross Spot, originally a stray, is "confident and eager to play".

Copyright Press Association 2016