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A pilot is a person who can operate and maneuver an airborne or space-borne vehicle.
There are pilots in all main branches of the UNSC Armed Forces: the Air Force, Navy, the Marine Corps, and Spartan Operations. Large crews of Navy crewmen operate and maintain UNSC starships; the command and control of the vessel is carried out from the bridge. GA-TL1 Longswords, AV-22 Sparrowhawks, AV-14 Hornets and Pelican dropships can all be operated by just one pilot, as can Bumblebee lifepods.
UNSC Air Force pilots wear fatigues with teal-toned camouflage and white chest armor. The suit lacks the additional armor plating worn by most Army troopers or Marines on the knees and shoulders due to space constraints in their vehicles' cockpits. On missions in a vacuum, the suit can be sealed off and an enclosed standard combat helmet is worn with it.[note 1] Additionally, a type of helmet has been specifically developed for UNSC Air Force pilots. This helmet is presumably used in normal missions while the combat helmet is worn on operations where direct combat, such as boarding action, is expected.
While only select UNSC personnel operate space-borne and airborne craft, all marines of the UNSC Marine Corps are seen to demonstrate prowess in operating all UNSC ground vehicles - Scorpions, Warthogs, and Mongooses, and even the Covenant Type-32 Ghost as well. ODSTs also operate their own Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicles.
During October 2552, Marine dropship pilots wore ballistic helmets with a golden visor and an integrated communications system. The rest of the outfit is the same as that of the Marine infantrymen. In November 2552, Marine pilots were seen wearing the same body armor as that of a Marine but with a sealed helmet with a blue visor reminiscent of a modern fighter pilot's helmet. The chest armor is also equipped with an additional control panel.
Named UNSC craft with mentioned pilots
- Bravo 001 - Flight Officer Mitchell - KIA
- Bravo 022 - KIA
- Charlie 217 - Lieutenant Rick Hale - KIA
- Echo 136 - Lieutenant Peterson - KIA
- Echo 206 - Petty Officer, Second Class Polaski - KIA
- Echo 419 - Captain Carol "Foehammer" Rawley - KIA + Lieutenant Frye - KIA + Crew Chief Cullen - KIA
- Kilo 023 - Hocus - Active service
- Victor 933 - Active service although Pelican was destroyed
- Knife 26 - most likely KIA
As an enormous spacefaring empire, the Covenant hosts a large number of client species capable of piloting crafts. Groups of Jiralhanae or Sangheili can operate a spaceborne Covenant ship, such as the CCS-class battlecruiser or the ORS-class heavy cruiser, by operation of holographic consoles at the control bridge of the warship. As with all Covenant technology, the Huragok assist in the technical maintenance of warship systems.
A single Jiralhanae or Sangheili can pilot a single person Banshee attack fighter as well as Phantom and Spirit dropships. Sangheili pilots have their own Flight harness for operations in a variety of airborne vessels. Though uncommon, Unggoy are also known to be able to pilot Banshees, albeit clumsily.
- In Halo 3, the UNSC pilot helmet is not sealed properly, which can be seen when the player looks underneath their helmets.
- Pilots in Halo 2 wear helmets strongly reminiscent of the Cyborg's helmet from Bungie's earlier Marathon series of first-person shooter games.
- If a VTOL pilot is infected by the Flood in Halo 3, they will take on the appearance of a standard Marine, not a pilot variation.
The UNSC Air Force pilot helmet adapted to the MJOLNIR armor.
Render of a pilot for Halo 4's Halo: Infinity CGI series.
- ^ Since it has been specified that Falcons in Halo: Reach are part of UNSC Air Force units such as AMX-4 and AMX-42, it can be assumed that the pilots, who wear outfits distinct from other UNSC units in the game, are part of the Air Force.