Agreed, the F-57 B Strike Sabre had a three man crew, with a tandem seating arrangement in the cockpit for the Pilot and Co-Pilot who would handle the weapons. The tail gunner in the rear turret. There was another version in Fleet Action where the Pilot and Co-Pilot were seated side by side mentioned during the battle of Hell Hole when Paladin was serving as Doomsday's Co-Pilot.There's a variant of the Sabre that explicitly has a crew of at least three - a pilot, a co- and a tail gunner - which you see in End Run. Also, the Broadswords in the Academy TV series could be flown solo but sometimes had a pilot and a co-, which you see at several points in the series. Those are the only two that come to mind at the moment; there probably are others, which I'll defer to the more knowledgeable crowd to point out.
These three lines are loaded with detail about the perceived value of pilots, gunners and academy training. Incidentally, this is the pilot you meet in the game during the introduction video, and later at the end of Peleus 1.The veteran drew himself up in pride and met Blair's eye. "Yep," he said, "started out as a turret gunner on a Broadsword. Got m'self a field comission as a pilot and flew 'em."
"What happened?" Blair asked.
The man sighed, exhaling a stench into Blair's face. "I din't have no college, so I lost m' commission in the 'reduction in forces' when the war ended."
Given the way the Wing Commander series emphasises character interactions, I do think it's a lost opportunity that none of the games have you meet your bomber crew and manage their training and morale.Meanwhile James Martin was still working on the problem, part of which was the structure of the pressurised cabin. In the Vulcan at least, removing a large enough area of the cabin roof to provide a blow-out panel of sufficient size to accommodate the exit of three seats would compromise the structural integrity of the fuselage. In typical fashion, Martin came up with a solution in the form of a complex mechanism that synchronised the operation of all three seats fired through a hole just big enough for one.
After several years of development at the Martin-Baker company's expense, a practical solution was developed using the discarded nose and cabin section of a Vulcan as a test rig. Once the initiation of one seat commenced the centre seat was the first to go. Through a series of interlocking mechanisms the two outer seats then tilted inwards, and one after the other fired through the same hole. Martin carried a series of tests utilising dummies and his new zero/zero rocket-powered seat. The tests were successful but didn't progress beyond ejecting dummies before the heavy hand of officialdom intervened.
That's from the episode "Expendable". I still have the CIC's vids of that from the time before the re-release on DVD at home; I'll try to get some screenies up tonight (unless somebody beats me to it).there's a great scene in Academy where an ejected pilot is picked up by a Broadsword and then is able to disembark and walk into the cockpit where there are multiple seats. That would be a good one for this thread.
Yep. And I also recall either the WC3 or the WC4 novel (can't remember which) saying something along the lines of computer-guided turrets being too limited to be useful, or something. I don't recall the details, all I remember is the general gist of it... and myself groaning at the silliness of this explanation for the presence of gunners. I mean, sheesh, if at the end of the 20th century AI was good enough to regularly hit a player-steered fighter in a computer game, it just doesn't sound too reasonable that AI-driven turrets in a 27th century space fighter would be impossible. But of course, there's some advantage to coming up with a daft but serviceable explanation to that effect, because otherwise, we'd risk somebody asking that inconvenient question about the need for pilots in light of more than six centuries of drone technologies...
Yes, but the difference is that no one ever tried to explain why we have human pilots out there, so the issue really never came up. I'm singling the turret AI simply because the writer of the book singled it out as something that needs to be explained - and the explanation made no sense given the context of a game filled with AI. It's something that the book could have comfortably ignored, and chose not to ignore at its peril.It still seems odd to treat the turret AI that way, separate from the rest of the game. The game coming up with an AI turret gunner isn't any different from the game coming up with an AI Maniac or an AI Iceman... but we don't complain that your wingmen ships /should/ be computers because computers run them in the game.
Good to see you too Star Rider, hope you are doing well.Good to see you again CK, it's been a while since our old Wing Commander AAO days.
Since you can tail and dogfight purely on eyesight in the Wing Commander Universe, and sensor cloaks were possible during the early days of the war, wouldn't it make sense to have a human gunner using hand-eye coordination and instinct on the trigger?Yes, but the difference is that no one ever tried to explain why we have human pilots out there, so the issue really never came up. I'm singling the turret AI simply because the writer of the book singled it out as something that needs to be explained - and the explanation made no sense given the context of a game filled with AI. It's something that the book could have comfortably ignored, and chose not to ignore at its peril.