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Supervisors: Command staff
Duties: Pilot and maintain the dropships.
"We're in the pipe, five by five." ― Cpl. Ferro, Aliens
The Pilot Officer, as the name indicates, pilots the ships of USS Almayer. They transport marines between the Almayer and the Landing Zones (LZ), protect and maintain their dropships, and provide Close Air Support (CAS) for those marines who want a fireworks show earlier than the 4th of July.
- 1 Overview
- 2 The essentials of piloting
- 3 Dropship Upgrades
- 4 Communication
- 5 Your Skillset
- 6 Tips
Congratulations Ensign! You finished your pilot training, got yourself a shiny commissioned rank, and have a badass ship to fly in the frontiers of space. Report to your fellow officers and command staff over the command channel (:v). Your Pilot's Bunks and adjacent Pilot's Office, both south of medbay, should have everything you need for the mission. If you're going somewhere cold, grab a coif!
The two dropships assigned to the piloting team at the hangar are the Alamo, which lands at LZ1, and the Normandy, which lands at LZ2. They can fly two different kinds of missions: Transport and Close Air Support. You can jump in the Powerloaders at the repair bay to install specialized equipment and ammo onto the dropships to support these missions, though usually it's better to yell over the engineering radio (:e) for the more skilled Maintenance Technicians to do it.
The essentials of piloting
The lions' share of your piloting is orchestrated in the exclusive cockpit of your UD-4 Cheyenne dropship. Seating two, it offers three consoles with plenty of buttons for you and your co-pilot to push while the autopilot does all the work:
- The camera console on the left allows you to watch over the dropship's cameras as well as any extra sights provided by the installable LZ or laser detector electronics systems.
- The flight console in the middle lets you launch the dropship, toggle the flight mode between transport and fire mission, and close the shutters and doors. It also lets you optimize the flight path - only available to trained pilots like you - to cut down on transport and cooldown time at no cost.
- The weapons console at the right lets you fire your weapons systems in mid-flight towards laser designated targets that troops on the ground mark with tactical binoculars. It also lets you deploy your automated sentries when landed.
So with that in mind, what are the differences between your two flight modes, transport and fire mission? Well, in short, transport mode lets you move marines and supplies between the hangar and LZ, but sacrifices your ability to fire the bigger guns, while fire mission mode lets you use the most deadly weaponry you can load, but your dropship will only return to where it launched from. Note that after you have completed a fire mission the dropships console will be reset to transport mode.
|Transport||Fire Mission ("Close Air Support")|
|Where does the dropship go?||Moves you from A to B, or B to A. If you take off from the Almayer, you move to the LZ, and if you take off from the LZ, you move to the Almayer.||Moves you from A to A, or B to B. If you take off from the Almayer, you return to the Almayer, and if you take off from the LZ, you return to the LZ.|
|Which weapons can the dropship fire in mid-air?||Only the GAU-21 and Laser beam gun.||All weapons.|
|How long does the dropship stay in the air?||Depends on engine upgrades and whether the flight plan was optimized, to move men and supplies as fast as possible.||Always the same amount of time, to ensure there's enough time to fire all your weapons.|
The key way to customize your dropship is to slap new systems on it, such as weapons, electronics, or engine upgrades. These systems are available in the repair bay at the south-east of the hangar, with ammo for the weapons to be found at the north and east of the hangar as well.
Simply climb into a powerloader (click-drag yourself onto it, or right click -> enter powerloader), pick up your desired attachment, and slap it into the appropriate port on your dropship. Before they can be fired, weapons need to be reloaded using their appropriate ammo (minirockets, 30mm, etc); just collect some with an empty clamp and stuff it into the weapons system. If there's already expended ammo inside, just take it out with an empty clamp. Finally, note that engine upgrades can only be installed after opening the engine port cover with an empty clamp to expose the insides.
Attachable Weapon Systems
If you want to pimp your ride, the USCM's got nothing but the best and most dangerous armaments.
Want to improve the accuracy of your weapon systems? Or perhaps you'd rather install a couple spotlights to ensure no LZ goes un-lit, either way keep in mind you've only got 2 electronic slots when Detective Gadget'ing up your ship with these fancy gubbinz:
|Attachable Electronic System:||Description:|
|A high-powered spotlight with a protective glass casing ensures you'll always have an illuminated landing zone, plus a bit extra.|
|An advanced system that's much better at tracking laser-guided beacons than the standard equipment the drop-ships come with, essential for drop-ships planning on making accurate rocket strikes or a few GAU strafing runs.|
Laser Detector System
|Advance camera system that allows the operator to observe the target area of a painted laser target on the ground, can assist the operator to determine if a laser target is worth firing upon.|
Landing Zone Detector System
|Camera system that lets a pilot observe all available landing zones via a long range camera. Can help the pilot assess the situation on the ground. Only works while in flight, not while docked.|
Attachable Engine Upgrades
Not getting enough thrust out of the standard engines? Tired of waiting so damn long for the suckers to cooldown before you can take-off again? Well here's a couple solutions to your problems, keep in mind you'll want to actually open up the engine ports with a powerloader before trying to shove these things inside:
|Attachable Electronic System:||Description:|
|Essentially a better version of the one the drop-ship already employs, plop this in your engines and you'll see a huge decrease in engine cooldown times, ensuring you'll be ready to take-off at the drop of a hat, even if you just landed.|
|This piece of tech improves thrust produced by fuel combustion, decreasing the time it takes to get from Point A to Point B and provides that extra bit of maneuverability when avoiding hostile fire.|
Dropship Part Fabricator
The dropship part fabricator is the primary way for you to get better equipment than what you start with, or to replace ammunition that you've completely run out of. It works by a point system, with one point being earned every two seconds. Points can be spent on the below items if you have enough of them, and the part will usually print after a dozen seconds or more.
|Equipment||Cost in points||Amount of time required to generate that many points|
|Sentry deployment system||500||17 minutes|
|Machinegun deployment system||300||10 minutes|
|Fuel enhancer||800||27 minutes|
|Cooling system||800||27 minutes|
|Targeting system||800||27 minutes|
|Laser detector||400||13 minutes|
|LZ detector||400||13 minutes|
|GAU-21 30mm cannon||400||13 minutes|
|Rocket pod||600||20 minutes|
|Minirocket pod||600||20 minutes|
|Laser beam gun||500||17 minutes|
|High-Velocity 30mm ammo crate||400||13 minutes|
|30mm ammo crate||200||7 minutes|
|High-Capacity laser battery||300||10 minutes|
|AIM-224 'Widowmaker'||300||10 minutes|
|AGM-227 'Banshee'||300||10 minutes|
|GBU-67 'Keeper II'||300||10 minutes|
|SM-17 'Fatty'||450||15 minutes|
|XN-99 'Napalm'||500||17 minutes|
|Incendiary mini rocket stack||500||17 minutes|
|Mini rocket stack||300||10 minutes|
It's all well and good to know how your dropship works, but at the end of the day you're also an officer with a duty to plan, coordinate, and share information regarding your flights. The key to being a successful Pilot Officer is to use your downtime wisely to communicate with others on the various channels to ensure everything goes as smooth as possible.
General channel (;)
The general channel is where you will likely spend the most of your time if you're on transport runs. You will want to set a schedule for departure over the general channel; one way to go about this is to state that you will be leaving at XX:XX, then give warnings when you're one minute away from leaving, and then state when you're launching. This lets others plan around your departure, as well as call out a "HOLD" or "WAIT" if they won't make it on time. It'll be your discretion if you want to wait for others or launch anyway. Some factors you might take into account when judging is their rank, role, squad, and how necessary it is for you to launch on time. It's often better to launch on a continuous basis than to wait for every grunt and his grandma to get on.
On the ground, the general channel takes a special importance for coordinating dropship defences and being prepared for wounded coming onto the dropship. You'll also want to call out any targets that your sentries are firing on or that you spot, and order marines to defend your dropship if necessary. In times where planetside communications are down, you have an intercom next to your seat (:i) that you can use to relay orders received before you arrived, and coordinate the marines near your dropship.
Command channel (:v)
As the PO, you'll want to reach out over the command channel to inform them of the status of your dropship, flights, and the LZ, as well as communicate with Squad Leaders lasing targets on the ground. The most effective fire missions are the ones that communicate clearly to determine the purpose of the mission, and use the appropriate payload.
Medical channel (:m)
If you have injured on your dropship, it's a good idea to inform doctors on the Almayer that injured are coming up. In the case your dropship gets invaded, you might have patients in critical condition who need to be attended to, in this case using the channel is a good idea to have medics come by and heal them.
Requisitions channel (:u)
Requisitions will often load crates onto the transport dropship, with you responsible for announcing that you have supplies to distribute once you've landed. For that reason, cooperating with the requisitions staff beforehand is a good idea.
Engineering channel (:e)
Should savages batter and beat your dropship, the engineering department will need to be informed so that they can make repairs. As well, it's a good idea to have them load your dropship with attachments in the first place, owing to their superior skill in the use of a powerloader.
To find out about how the skill system works head over to the skills system page.
- Try to wait a bit for the marines to load up the wounded and late comers to load up in the shuttle before making a trip. Announce on the Common frequency when you've just arrived and are about to depart. You want to be efficient with your trips as much as possible.
- A special benefit to being a Pilot Officer is that you're allowed to boss around marines while they're on your shuttle. Don't tolerate rowdy and loud marines but be ready if they fight back. Follow proper escalation procedures. Remember, you out rank them and its your ship (and the USCM's ship and thus the Commander's ship).
- Leaving the dropship is not recommended unless you have just landed. Try not to stray too far from your craft. Retrieving marines is okay but if it leaves without you then you are in deep shit. You have a high chance of being 1. killed, 2. maimed, 3. captured, 4. killed again, 5. wounded. Although competent command staff will ask for you in the radio before manually piloting your craft.
- If there is damage to your craft. Be sure to request for a Maint. Tech or the Chief Engineer to come repair it, the next time you're on the Almayer.