Pelican death glitch

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It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Riding a Pelican.

The Pelican death glitch is a glitch in Halo: Combat Evolved where the player is allowed to ride in the Pelican on the level Assault on the Control Room past when they are supposed to leave it and then are killed with no apparent cause soon after.


When the level starts, if the player continues to rapidly press the enter/exit vehicle button (or action command for PC players), the player will hop out of the Pelican and then hop back in. After a few moments, the Pelican's script will kick in, and it will fly back in to the shaft room it came out of, leaving the two Sangheili standing there, firing at you in vain. Given the size of the shaft room, Foehammer will have to go vertical, nosing over roughly 80-85 degrees below the horizontal. As the player looks out the rear of the Pelican, the depths of the shaft room become visible. Eventually, Foehammer will travel far enough down that the view becomes obscured by a turquoise fog. After a few seconds, the player will mysteriously be ejected from the Pelican and die almost instantly when the Pelican hits the third of three large spinning disks approximately halfway down the shaft.


  • The common theory as to why the sudden death occurs is the classic crossing of some sort of barrier scripted into the game that causes a player's death. However, there are two problems with this common misconception:
    • If one uses a modding program to disable falling damage, the player will survive the ride and simply fall to the ground when the Pelican spawns away.
    • In the level The Library, built into the game is a true death barrier that can only be removed via modding. If the player is on any one floor and attempts to jump down or up to the next floor, the game will kill the player. This is so the level is not circumvented. For example; if the player hops from floor 3 down to 2, the instant the player passes floor 3, the jpt! (damage) tag 'guaranteed_plumit_to_untimely_death' will trigger the death, regardless of falling damage values. This can be removed by using a modding program to set this tag's damage value to 0.
  • The cause is not from the Pelican spawning away, leaving the player in midair, as one can still hear the Pelican's engines as the death animation plays out. This would suggest that death is caused by the Pelican nosing over too much, causing the player to be ejected, and the falling damage script triggers the player's death. A similar effect is observed when a player gives a Banshee max pitch in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo: Custom Edition. Too much vertical climb will cause the game to treat the player-vehicle unit as a flip-over, which means the player is ejected from the vehicle.


  • If you are playing on co-op, one of the players can jump out of the pelican and quickly flip it over, causing it to not crash into the wall, which in turn will keep the player in the pelican alive all the way to the bottom.
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, players will not be ejected from the pelican until it reaches the bottom of the shaft, making it easier to see the Three dead Grunts. It is unknown why the player isn't ejected, though it could be to do with the specific build of Combat Evolved that was used to make Anniversary.