TIE fighter pilot

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This article is about Imperial TIE pilots. You may be looking for the First Order TIE Fighter Pilots.
"I can't shake him!"
Luke Skywalker tangles with a TIE fighter pilot during the Battle of Yavin[src]

TIE fighter pilots were an elite class within the military of the of the Galactic Empire. They piloted the TIE/LN starfighters, one of the Empire's most recognizable symbols of power.[9] There were two nicknames for TIE pilots: the vac-heads, who operated in space for the Empire's Imperial Navy, and the ground-hogs, who operated in planetary atmosphere for the Imperial Army. Because the vac-heads had better public recognition through propaganda posters and the HoloNet News reports, the ground-hogs were often resentful of them. The rivalry between ground-hogs and vac-heads was so intense that most Imperial flight bases had separate bars for the two groups, with the notable exception of the Bright Jewel Oversector Flight Base.[2]

Of all the cadets who underwent the Imperial pilot training program, ninety percent never graduated. As a consequence, those who did tended to be both proud and arrogant. Nevertheless, pilots were trained that aiding their fellow pilots was their lowest priority unless there was nothing else to do, with emphasis placed on completing the mission at hand and bringing their full force against enemy fighters. All pilots were also expected to be able to repair and maintain all single- and dual-pilot craft.[3] The precision and streamlined design of the TIE fighter was a source of pride for those pilots, who prided themselves for usually not needing deflector shields or hyperdrives, which they viewed as tools for the cowardly.[9]

TIEpilot anh1080hd

A TIE pilot with a white stripe on their helmet.

Since TIE fighters were identical and interchangeable, TIE pilots might never fly the same ship twice and, as a result, rarely developed emotional ties to their craft.[9] Nonetheless, they tended to be very protective of their vessel of the day, and loved to push around lower-ranked stormtroopers. Very dedicated, TIE pilots were willing to surrender their lives for the greater glory of the Empire's New Order.[10]

TIE fighter pilots wore a black jumpsuit with pockets and zip-front, a reinforced helmet reminiscent of the stormtrooper design, and chest armor featuring a control box attached to two flexible gas transfer tubes plugged into the helmet.[9] Some helmets had white stripes below the eyes,[11] and some elite pilots such as Baron Valen Rudor and Captain Vult Skerris had red or yellow stripes on their helmets and down their arms.[12][1]

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