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Flight School

Flight school cadets learning advanced techniques

Flight school was the name of the Imperial Navy's system for training TIE pilots. It was not a part of the Imperial Academy, however. Instead, the Navy's best junior officers would transfer to flight school after they left the Academy system.[1] Only the top five percent of Navy cadets could enter flight school, although at the central Imperial Naval Academy, this eligibility was extended to the top third.[1] These restrictions reflected the demanding nature of pilot training, and flight school itself had a 90% failure rate,[2] but with such strict measures in place, the Academy system alone could not provide enough pilots for the Empire.[1]

As a result, additional flight school candidates included serving officers with proven potential,[3] and skilled flyers from outside the Navy.[1] The former group included men like T. Alvak, who had previously flown with a Navy shuttle unit for two years,[3] while the most famous example of the non-military intake was perhaps Maarek Stele, who was put through flight school after just a two-month basic-training course.[4]

Flight school emphasized a hands-on approach, putting the young officers behind the controls of TIE fighters in a training squadron from about half way through their course. Although this was not a front-line unit, it was normally part of a front-line wing, so that cadets would fly under combat conditions even during their training.[1] Reflecting this, many flight schools were located aboard Star Destroyers. The Tir training school was on the Inflexible,[3] while the training squadron aboard the Victorious, the flagship of the Qeimet fleet, also provided new pilots for the Scimitar assault wing.[1] The Vengeance also appears to have operated a flight school under Captain Trox.[4]

Behind the scenesEdit

A number of prominent characters advance from the Imperial Academy system directly to front-line postings as TIE pilots, including Soontir Fel's tour of duty with 6/37th aboard the Abrogator, and the service of Biggs Darklighter and Derek Klivian with Twilight Squadron aboard the Rand Ecliptic.

AppearancesEdit

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