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Pilot’s Briefing

Posted on Wed Jan 4th, 2017 @ 5:23am by Ensign Jacob McCall ENS

Mission: Shakedown
Location: Deck 17

The corridor stretched out in front of Jacob. The quick trip from the upper decks down to the Fighter bays had taken a few seconds but for Jacob, now on Deck 17, it felt like he was deep in the bowels of a large animal; the vibrations of the warp coil its heart beat, the computer its neural system and its people … that would have to be the blood vessels. Jacob realised he was daydreaming and looked down at his PADD. This deck housed Fighter Bay Number 1, Fighter Transport Lifts 1-3, Wing Commander’s Office and the area he was heading for; the Pilot’s Briefing Room.

Jacob arrived only moments before the briefing had begun. He sat at the back and felt a little nervous in the room with so many higher ranking officers. He was here because it would be part of his duties to manage the Traffic patterns of the shuttle and fighters as they approached and exited the Armageddon.

The acting Squadron commander stood up. “The Traffic pattern, unless otherwise ordered, will be a left-hand pattern.“ He tapped a view screen and a schematic lit up showing a moving diagram of shuttles entering and leaving the ship. “Both the landing and take-off patterns” the commander continued “are rectangular in basic shape.” The diagram shifted to give a 3D view of the Armageddon.

Jacob felt a thrill of excitement, he knew the terminology from training and now he was here, putting it into practice. The commander was using a pointer to show the various sections of the flight paths

“Upwind leg.“ The pointer marked the flight path parallel to and in the direction of the shuttle and fighter landing bays. “Crosswind leg.” A short climbing flight path at right angles to the departure route. Jacob knew what was next the “Downwind leg.“ A long level flight path parallel to but in the opposite direction of the landing runway and finally the “Base leg”. A short descending flight path at right angles to the approach end extended centre line the entry gates to the bays. ”The landing aircraft will be in this pattern below the ship. The Departure leg will be at 45 degrees from the ship for 2 km.” The commander said with a hint of authority in his voice.

It seemed odd to Jacob that the terms to describe the legs are based on the relative wind even in space where there were no atmospheric conditions.

The Commander continued, “all craft are expected to join and leave the pattern, sometimes this will be at the discretion of the pilot, while at other times the pilot will be directed by the Flight Control.”

At this point the commander used his pointer to direct everyone to Jacob. Jacob was just about to speak when the commander, undoubtedly saving him from making a fool of himself, continued.

“The Orbit will be 500 meters below the flight pattern for landing and 500 meters above the ship for take-off.“ Jacob relaxed a little; the Orbit procedure is where a spacecraft flies at 360°. This is usually to allow greater separation with other traffic ahead in the pattern, Jacob thought. The lecture continued in this vain for another thirty minutes.

Jacob left the briefing room with the realisation of his first role in Starfleet beginning to sink in.


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