Once it's perfected, brain-controlled flight could reduce pilot workload and increase safety. Freeing up pilots' hands would give them freedom of movement to manage other manual tasks in the cockpit.
The German team conducted its experiment using seven test subjects with a range of flight experience, including one who had no experience whatsoever.
The team reported that all seven, flying the plane only with their thoughts, managed to achieve accuracy that would meet some flying license requirements. Astonishingly, even the participants with little or no prior training succeeded in landing the planes.
One participant was able to follow eight out of 10 target headings with only an incredibly small 10-degree deviation. Another was able to land within only a few meters of the runway's center line.
Some even managed their approach in poor visibility conditions.
Imagine what trained military pilots might be able to do with this technology.
In 2010, British researchers revealed that fighter pilots, despite being more sensitive to irrelevant and distracting information, have significantly greater accuracy on cognitive tasks. When scientists looked at MRI scans, they found that pilots have a white matter microstructure in the right hemisphere of their brains that is different from non-pilots'.