Pilot goes viral for all the wrong reasons after flying a plane wearing Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro flight mode
(Image credit: Apple)

A daring (and possibly reckless) pilot has taken the internet by storm after being filmed wearing Apple Vision Pro while allegedly flying a light aircraft. 

Chris Clarke took to X on Tuesday, posting a video of him sitting in the cockpit of a plane in flight with the caption “The Apple Vision Pro has made my job exponentially more productive.” Now, his post has over 5.6 million views and a cautionary Community Note for good measure. 

In the video, Clarke can be seen “using” Apple Vision Pro, and appears to manipulate windows and interact with visionOS while also adjusting the plane’s throttle and occasionally grabbing the plane’s yoke. Clarke’s stunt, whether real or perhaps staged, is the latest in a growing list of viral Apple Vision Pro videos that have emerged since its release on February 2. Prior to this, the most notable incident was footage of a driver using Apple Vision Pro while at the wheel of a Tesla on Autopilot. That video gained so much traction Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had to weigh in. 

Apple Vision Pro in the sky?

As a scathing Community Note… erm… notes… “Fake or not, the FAA advises against any distraction and requires you to have your full attention when flying a plane,” and Apple similarly “advises against using the Vision Pro when operating something that requires your full attention (Like flying a plane).” 

When one commenter asked Clarke “Have you considered what the FAA would think if they saw this...?” he nonchalantly replied “Yes,” telling another viewer wearing Vision Pro while flying was like having “a HUB strapped to your face.”

It’s not 100% clear how real the video is. It seems fairly certain it was indeed shot in a real cockpit in the air. Whether Clarke is technically the pilot in control of the aircraft is another question. In a response to the video blowing up overnight, Clarke posted early Wednesday saying "I couldn’t have been distracted from flying because I was just a passenger."

According to his YouTube channel, Clarke flies a 1956 Cessna 172. Like most aircraft of this kind, the 172 offers dual controls for adjusting climb, turn, pitch, and banking, so it can be flown from either seat. However, it’s pretty obvious from the video that whoever is sitting in the other seat is filming the video, rather than flying the aircraft. Autopilot was not introduced to the 172 until 1962 as an optional extra. fSome skeptical onlookers were not impressed with Clarke's excuse, one noted "Buddy, you’re not beating the FAA on this one," still another said, "I don't think this is gonna save you from an FAA investigation."

Less important, but still noteworthy, Vision Pro’s spatial computing doesn’t function well in scenarios such as driving, flying, or walking, so the idea that Vision Pro could be used for anything productive while at the controls of an aircraft is not that convincing. 

We’ve been burned once already this week. The aforementioned Tesla incident was actually a “skit”, and the protagonist has already admitted scenes showing him being pulled over were staged and not related to the event. However, in both instances, the same warnings apply. While filming yourself doing something “cool” like flying a plane or driving while wearing Vision Pro might be the fast track to some clout on social media, it could also be a quick and easy way to get yourself arrested, or perhaps killed. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9