Bailing-Out

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Aquila Slyphs
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Bailing-Out

Post by Aquila Slyphs » 2010-04-09 02:59

Random question/topic of discussion:

Bailing out from a TIE...

A) What would a pilot use to slow their descent if they were in a grav well?
B) Does the NIF train their pilots to actually be able to do such!?!

I imagine the old Empire didn't really teach pilots how to save themselves since pilots were probably one of the most expendable people, next to Stormtroopers I suppose. But, it'd be nice to know what sort of training/equipment we do have for those events.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2010-04-09 14:28

While some of the EU claims the TIE/ln was barebones, there's a few instances contradicting it completely. In one comic, a TIE pilot bailed out from being shot from a rebel ambush, and he landed safely on the planet below (taking him alive and press him for certain codes was their mission objective). The cockpit chair has thrusters. There's another instance where Wedge himself used a TIE/ln catapult chair. RPG sources claim that the /ln didn't come with an ejector seat, but can be fitted with a Guidenhauser Ejection System (same as on the X-Wing) without performance loss. Only the A-9 Interceptor has been noted specifically as lacking an ejector seat.

Finally, there's actually one instance in the movies - TESB if I recall correctly - where you can make out a TIE pilot in the foreground of an explosion as his fighter disintegrates against an asteroid.

On several occasions, the rebels also used TIE fighters. After Endor, rebel TIE fighters were commonly retrofitted with shields (although we know that the Empire also had such years prior). Here we have Luke Skywalker ejecting a TIE Fighter. Derek Klivian (Hobbie) from the Rogue Squadron suffered an accident while ejecting from a TIE fighter, but his flight suit saved his life.

So while the Empire considered its TIE clone pilots expendable (at least the Navy did), rebel propaganda is as usual exaggerated. The N.I.F. does not consider its pilots expendable, so I don't think I'll need to follow up that line of reasoning.

Ah, and topic moved to the Academy.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Aquila Slyphs » 2010-04-10 23:02

All well and good, but there's still one question that is left hanging: Parachutes.

Obviously, bailing out in space isn't necessarily safer since momentum could carry one into a black hole (as an extreme example) but the likelihood of that is fairly slim so, presumably, a pilot could survive for as long as their suit could function which would be about 3 days since I doubt there's a means to drink water (air being no problem) before being picked up by a shuttle. Bailing out in a planetary atmosphere is another matter altogether since gravity is going to pull the pilot smack into the surface of the world (or into oblivion in the case of a gas giant).

What sort of parachute mechanism exists to prevent pilots from going splat and would pilots be equipped with it as standard (or on an as-needed basis if fighting is known to be only happening in the vacuum of space)?
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2010-04-10 23:49

Sorry if I was unclear. As I mentioned, the ejection seat has thrusters with which you can land safely, just like the TIE Pilot I mentioned. Presumably because as you say, parachutes aren't much good in space. Apparently they have enough fuel to descend to nearby planets.

WP has the following to say on the subject:
These ejector seats allowed a pilot or passenger to eject from a doomed ship and wait for rescue or reach a nearby planet. They were also used in planetary atmospheres.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2010-04-11 01:27

Could it be possible it had a small repulsorlift system for use after the initial ejection instead of continuing to use the rockets? That might allow for greater control during descent. Not terribly good in space beyond the repulsor limit, but certainly useful in atmosphere.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2010-04-11 01:49

Spyker Katarn wrote:Could it be possible it had a small repulsorlift system for use after the initial ejection instead of continuing to use the rockets? That might allow for greater control during descent. Not terribly good in space beyond the repulsor limit, but certainly useful in atmosphere.
They don't appear to have repulsorlift, probably for the same reason as omitting parachutes. As you say, they're no good in deep space. The ejector seat lands with the thrusters, and they're maneuverable enough that it can go in any direction with a tight turning radius, including from upside down. It's most likely an automatic process since the pilot could be unconscious.

I might add that TIE Pilots weren't often given emergency rations, since the chance of surviving an exploding craft is limited. This can be considered to not be the case of NIF pilots, however. I seem to recall that the flight suit is good for 72 hours of life support on its own. I reckon they have a short-range comm system built in as well (probably similar to stormtroopers), and it would be logical to assume that the ejection seat has an emergency beacon.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Apprentice » 2011-03-10 02:07

I dunno it's kind of difficult to imagine Emporer Palpatine wanting to spend money to save people's lives. I mean this is the Sith Lord who manipulated the senate against the Jedi and then had them killed at the hands of the troopers they trusted with their lives. Seems a little out of character for him to want to do that I mean. You're sure it's all just Alliance/Republic propaganda?

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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2011-03-10 11:44

The TIE Fighter series started during the Republic era, though. I doubt Palpatine had much to do with their design. In any case, here's a picture from the card game.

"Equipped with a jettison device and distress beacon"
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Crystala Endivain » 2011-03-10 19:11

Perhaps the question we should ask is: what was the recovery rate of our pilots? It's fairly well documented that most (old) Imperial officers were callous when it came to their underlings and with Naval doctrine more or less stating that TIEs were used solely as a means to harass Rebel starfighters and/or as cannon fodder, it seems to me that, even with the jettison device and distress beacon, it seemed a lot more likely that the EV pilot would be picked up by pirates, merchants or even the Rebels if not left for dead by their Imperial allies ;)

It might explain where the Rebellion kept getting their ace pilots at any rate... :?
Ace wrote:This can be considered to not be the case of NIF pilots, however. I seem to recall that the flight suit is good for 72 hours of life support on its own.
72 hours... 3 days... What was the rule of three... 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food? That would make sense then. Of course, I'm sure we can also assume that the fairly thin and non-obtrusive flight suit can keep the pilot warm from the cold vastness of space better than what our modern day astronauts wear.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Apprentice » 2011-03-10 19:49

The fighter itself isn't sealed from the vacuum of space, so yes I would assume the TIE pilot flight suit was designed to retain heat.

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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Tycho » 2011-03-11 00:41

to quote wookieepedia on TIE fighters,
"Contrary to popular belief, the ships did possess ejection seats, but the nature of space warfare often resulted in pilots riding their craft down to a swift end rather than ejecting and risking slow death by heat loss and oxygen starvation in the vacuum of space."
This indicates that not only did the TIEs have ejection seats, but were also vacuum sealed; as there would be no reason to prefer their ships over ejecting if the pilot flight suit was the only thing a) vacuum sealed and b) supplying their oxygen.

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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Apprentice » 2011-03-11 01:44

It was something I read once, maybe I'll go find the reference sometime.

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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Tavish McFini » 2011-03-11 15:10

Hmm...
Wookieepedia on TIE Pilots wrote:Breather tubes extended from the helmet to the front of the chest plate, where controls for the suit's portable life support system were located. The actual supply of oxygen was built into the rectangular back plate of the armor.
If TIEs were supplying the pilots with their own oxygen, then that would imply they actually had a life support system which we all know they didn't as to keep costs down.
Wookieepedia on TIE Pilots wrote:Because the odds of surviving a crash were slim, TIE pilots were rarely equipped with emergency rations or supplies. Some carried a personal sidearm for reasons which may have been ceremonial. These did show some use however, when opposing forces would attack TIE pilots before they could take off.
This probably goes more to the Naval Officers and Imperial Doctrine at the time. It pretty much means that TIE pilots were expendable and not worth trying to save if they somehow survived a crash or managed to eject. Of course, it's realistic since a vast majority of the fighting happens in space and, frankly, you're not removing your helmet to try and snack on emergency rations. Over planets, well, given the pseudo random nature of deployment and the fighting, I think the Empire knew they had two choices... either they equip all TIEs with emergency supplies and rations or they save bucket loads of credits and not give any of the TIEs anything beyond the bare minimum (a flight suit, sidearm in case they do survive a crash, complete with one charge in the blaster pack... okay, I kid, sorta). Even if it cost 1 credit to give the TIEs those supplies, at the height of the Empire, there were probably millions of TIEs flying around and stationed aboard the fleets of Star Destroyers, frigates, Death Stars, planetary garrisons, the list goes on. You do the math ;) I'd wager that, with the amount saved by not giving TIE pilots anything extra, Palpy afforded a nice vacation for himself and his closest aides for a few months on some resort world... and built an extra Star Destroyer for the Empire... Or maybe that's where all the credits for building the Death Stars came from... :?
Wookieepedia on TIE Pilots wrote:Additional modifications enabled the pilot to survive in the cockpit's vacuum.
Sorry to say this Tycho, but the cockpit is still a vacuum even when in operation. Which means they're flying in the void, literally.

What we can take away from this, however, is that the pilots flight suit has to contain enough insulation to enable the pilot to survive in the harsh void even when flying the TIE. Obviously there's no A/C or heating in the cockpit but this also means that, whether they're flying or have gone EV, they're not going to die from hypothermia.

I'm not going to say that TIEs don't have ejection seats, but I think we can surmise a few things:
  1. TIEs did have ejection seats
  2. They were rarely used, probably through a combination of pilot fears of not being found/picked up in space and left for dead and the doctrine at the time that pilots were a credit a dozen.
  3. The ejection seats carried an emergency beacon for location, but again, since TIE pilots were probably under the rightful impression that they wouldn't be rescued, they'd sooner crash and die a quick death than an agonizing one drawn over the course of three plus days where upon they'd either die of thirst or lack of oxygen as their supply dried up.
  4. The ejection seat is little more than a jettison device to save the pilot and, hopefully, summon someone to rescue him/her. It doesn't provide the pilot with any other benefits (save for maybe a way to control their descent if in the presence of a gravity well).
Since we're on the topic of ejection seats... I've got a question. The New Republic obviously have them standard on all their starfighters but are they actual seats or does the cockpit portion jettison itself away from the doomed snub? Look at the NR flight suit and realizing that their helmet isn't fully enclosed, it stands to reason that either their seat creates a powerful bubble around the pilot complete with its own life support or the entire cockpit section jettisons away.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Apprentice » 2011-03-11 22:47

Actually I would inquire as to whether any of these ejection seat of cockpits have locater beacons on them.

I'm just asking because I recall one reference where Mara Jade ejected from a starfighter and was only located because Luke used to force to find her. I always have difficulty reproducing precise wording, but I do recall it being implied that locating her without the force would have been impossible. I believe there was also debris involved. I hate to say I can't remember the source of the reference again, let me think other events from source. Well there was a reference to a clone wars era fleet of ships that had all been slave-linked to one another and had then been sent into hyperspace and had been lost since. Was "Katanis Fleet"? it was a K I know for sure.

I'm so bad with references, I get the information but I never remember the source.

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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2011-03-12 05:49

The Katana Fleet was designed to be a semiautonomous fleet commanded by a central control ship; unfortunately, the crew of that ship was infected with a hive-mind virus and 'lost' to hyperspace. In our canon, I think we've recovered that fleet and assimilated it, but I could be wrong.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2011-03-12 11:22

Tavish McFini wrote:Since we're on the topic of ejection seats... I've got a question. The New Republic obviously have them standard on all their starfighters but are they actual seats or does the cockpit portion jettison itself away from the doomed snub? Look at the NR flight suit and realizing that their helmet isn't fully enclosed, it stands to reason that either their seat creates a powerful bubble around the pilot complete with its own life support or the entire cockpit section jettisons away.
It is an actual seat, and it's the helmet that projects a low-level force field to keep air in, in case of emergency. There are such things as cockpit ejector, but that's usually found on a bit larger ships, subcaps and small caps like the Consular-class.
starwars.com wrote:In emergencies, the X-wing's Guidenhauser ejection seat can throw the pilot clear of the fighter. Separator charges blast the cockpit canopy free, and also launch the astromech unit from the socket.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Dravius Stari » 2011-03-13 23:20

Tavish McFini wrote: If TIEs were supplying the pilots with their own oxygen, then that would imply they actually had a life support system which we all know they didn't as to keep costs down.
They have an oxygen supply, which is cheap and easy to install, but which is not a life support system. Hence the helmets.
Tavish McFini wrote: This probably goes more to the Naval Officers and Imperial Doctrine at the time. It pretty much means that TIE pilots were expendable and not worth trying to save if they somehow survived a crash or managed to eject. Of course, it's realistic since a vast majority of the fighting happens in space and, frankly, you're not removing your helmet to try and snack on emergency rations. Over planets, well, given the pseudo random nature of deployment and the fighting, I think the Empire knew they had two choices... either they equip all TIEs with emergency supplies and rations or they save bucket loads of credits and not give any of the TIEs anything beyond the bare minimum (a flight suit, sidearm in case they do survive a crash, complete with one charge in the blaster pack... okay, I kid, sorta). Even if it cost 1 credit to give the TIEs those supplies, at the height of the Empire, there were probably millions of TIEs flying around and stationed aboard the fleets of Star Destroyers, frigates, Death Stars, planetary garrisons, the list goes on. You do the math ;) I'd wager that, with the amount saved by not giving TIE pilots anything extra, Palpy afforded a nice vacation for himself and his closest aides for a few months on some resort world... and built an extra Star Destroyer for the Empire... Or maybe that's where all the credits for building the Death Stars came from... :?
The Imperial army also had its own aviation branch. I'd venture that TIEs based on planets would probably have had their pilots carry rations in a supply belt (the most efficient way to do so in the SW universe)

Tavish McFini wrote: What we can take away from this, however, is that the pilots flight suit has to contain enough insulation to enable the pilot to survive in the harsh void even when flying the TIE. Obviously there's no A/C or heating in the cockpit but this also means that, whether they're flying or have gone EV, they're not going to die from hypothermia.

I'm not going to say that TIEs don't have ejection seats, but I think we can surmise a few things:
  1. TIEs did have ejection seats
  2. They were rarely used, probably through a combination of pilot fears of not being found/picked up in space and left for dead and the doctrine at the time that pilots were a credit a dozen.
  3. The ejection seats carried an emergency beacon for location, but again, since TIE pilots were probably under the rightful impression that they wouldn't be rescued, they'd sooner crash and die a quick death than an agonizing one drawn over the course of three plus days where upon they'd either die of thirst or lack of oxygen as their supply dried up.
  4. The ejection seat is little more than a jettison device to save the pilot and, hopefully, summon someone to rescue him/her. It doesn't provide the pilot with any other benefits (save for maybe a way to control their descent if in the presence of a gravity well).
Since we're on the topic of ejection seats... I've got a question. The New Republic obviously have them standard on all their starfighters but are they actual seats or does the cockpit portion jettison itself away from the doomed snub? Look at the NR flight suit and realizing that their helmet isn't fully enclosed, it stands to reason that either their seat creates a powerful bubble around the pilot complete with its own life support or the entire cockpit section jettisons away.
All properly sealed flight suits have a capacity to keep the pilot alive in space for a short period of time. The experience however is not very pleasant. X-wing and TIE Pilot suits both offer this ability, but if you want to rescue the pilot it has to be fast. Voort Sabring from Wraith Squadron advises that due to the extremes of space that the natural fat in his body would allow him to survive for a bit longer than normal in the case he was out of his cockpit in space. So yeah, you would survive, but not for long!

As for the seats themselves generally in the SW universe, they work very much like aircraft ejection seats. Blow the canopy, fire you upwards for a bit and then you get out of it ASAP.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2011-06-28 14:04

This prop site has some good pictures. Chest box. This is the air supply. It has indicators, buttons, and some kind of adjustable wheels on both sides. This suit is 'rugged' because it's lacking a button! Just compared to a brand new one. Wrist comlink. Anybody's guess what the rectangular plate on the back is. I'm guessing power supply.

They also have other reference pictures.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Kane » 2012-04-08 11:59

Spyker Katarn wrote:The Katana Fleet was designed to be a semiautonomous fleet commanded by a central control ship; unfortunately, the crew of that ship was infected with a hive-mind virus and 'lost' to hyperspace. In our canon, I think we've recovered that fleet and assimilated it, but I could be wrong.
*thread necromancy spell*

We didn't recover the Katana fleet, but we captured a few of the Katana dreadnaughts (from the IR, I believe) which then served as a template for the Katana-class dreadnaught we use. Good thing too, those old dreadnaughts were becoming more trouble than they're worth, and we had tons.
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Re: Bailing-Out

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2012-04-08 13:37

Kane wrote:
Spyker Katarn wrote:The Katana Fleet was designed to be a semiautonomous fleet commanded by a central control ship; unfortunately, the crew of that ship was infected with a hive-mind virus and 'lost' to hyperspace. In our canon, I think we've recovered that fleet and assimilated it, but I could be wrong.
*thread necromancy spell*

We didn't recover the Katana fleet, but we captured a few of the Katana dreadnaughts (from the IR, I believe) which then served as a template for the Katana-class dreadnaught we use. Good thing too, those old dreadnaughts were becoming more trouble than they're worth, and we had tons.
Maybe that could be an SM idea (several friendly worlds attacked by a fleet of unknown origin, investigate and report?). Any takers want to run with it?
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