Welcome to 'Basic Piloting'. There are many other books out there for piloting, and I thank you for picking this one up. This book may not be as technical as others but I will strive to explain the basics to get you off and piloting, and maybe even out of a tight spot..maybe. As you advance through the chapters, you should also practice on a simulation or if you can, a real shuttle or shuttle pod. If you are a Starfleet Academy Cadet, you will most likely have this advantage, along with some great instructors to aid you along.
Thats it for my little ramble, now we get on to the good stuff. Good luck!
The basics are of the most importance. Without the basics you we wouldnt have a place to begin! Any way, the basics to piloting is simple. There are a few rules to remember, a few things to watch out for and most importantly, a few tips and tricks to help you get off to a good start.
Tools of The Trade…
The major, and generaly only tool of the trade for piloting is the helmsmen's console on any bridge of a major ship, or the pilot's console on most shuttles. The consoles on a large Starfleet ship for are more specalized. They serve thier exsistance and generaly not much more. On the other hand, Shuttles are manned with less people, so generaly any of the cockpit stations are sutable for piloting the craft. There are some cases where the shuttle has been setup differently, and one station is configured for piloting and the other for engineering and system monitoring. Generaly though, you can just grab a seat and fly off.
Common Sense Rules All
When piloting, make sure you get a very good feel of how the craft reacts to input. A shuttle will react generaly faster then a large ship will. Sometimes even shuttles/ships of the same class can react differently due to engineer differences, field modifications and so on. Always make sure you are aware of the shuttle's 'emotions', or how it reacts in situations. Knowing this will save your ass one day. Now, you are ready to sit down and being manuvering the ship. Well, not quite yet at least. I am going to assume you are learning on a shuttle, because its the most common thing to learn on. On a shuttle you need to go through a simple checklist. The checklist is normaly provided to you, but it generaly includes: -Life support -Engines (Impulse, Warp if available, Thrusters) -Hatch -Computer core -Other power allocations
These are just a few things. Some may or may not be included in your required checklist. But you will normaly always have a pre-flight checklist to go through. It's the same on a large starship too, but you are doing much less work as most of it falls on the operations officer and the engineers.
Now that you have gone through your pre-flight checklist, you can take off. Aside from the normaly regulation requesting departure clearence, you are set. If you are docked, you can use your console's 'undock' directive. If you are landed, then chances are you will be using your console's 'launch' or 'take off' directive. One you have completed that, congrats! You are now in space piloting. You can now set your heading and velocity.
Chances are, the computer will be doing much of the work for you. However, if for some reason it fails to work properly, or drop you where you need to be, there are alternatives. The 'sh' or set heading directive is one of the simpler commands. it takes two arguments, the heading and the elevation, like so: -sh <heading><+/→<elevation> -sh <heading>/<elevation>
In a later chapter, I will discuss flying by the sensor readings to utilize this. For now you only need to know it exsists, however, because the craft's autopilot will no doubtedly do most of your work. The next step is setting your speed. Chances are, you are dealing with impulse, so the directive for that is imp <speed>. Speed can be a percent of total impulse power, IE imp 1 would be 1 percent impulse. Or, it can be in the units 'm'eters/second, 'k'ilometers/second, and 'c'/second. This will provide excelent precision for docking, landing and various other manuvers you will encounter.