Help: Civilian Pilot Corps
A civilian pilot corps is a group of non-military licensed pilots sponsored by an alliance. Each alliance maintains a pilot corps, with the exception of the Mutuality, where citizen pilots of one form or another are the majority.
A civilian who wishes to join a pilot corps must enroll in a flight school and pass its course, which typically takes about two years. Flight school involves lectures and written tests, followed by flight time with a trained instructor, seeking to achieve a requirement of flight hours. A final written exam and flight test is required before a pilot can fly without an instructor. Upon passing their final tests, the new pilot is granted their license. Upon joining the civilian corps, the pilot must also sign a binding contract. Most pilots initially fly in the civilian program under a probationary period, during which they're referred to as cadets. If they serve well during this period, the cadets will be considered full pilots and can serve in the civilian program indefinitely.
PILOT CORPS CONTRACT
Pilot corps vary slightly from alliance to alliance, but many of the terms are similar:
* The pilot agrees to a hefty tax rate when paid for the resources he or she brings to a spaceport, often as much as 95%. Even so, pilots quickly become extremely wealthy.
* In return, the alliance will subsidize all starship purchases, covering around 75% of the cost of a ship. Thus, alliances own a majority of a pilot's ship, and this is why pilots are always ultimately obligated to their alliance. This differs in the Mutuality, where parts and wealth are both harder to come by, and station owners will often only be able to cover around 50% of a ship's value. Mutuality members tend to pay more for the same ship class than a pilot of any other alliance. (Note: higher performance starship components are subsidized to a lesser degree or not at all, and therefore it is not uncommon for the value of upgraded components to quickly outstrip the base cost of the starship, from the pilot's perspective.)
* In times of war or other risks to the alliance, civilian pilots are expected to make a reasonable effort to give aid to their alliance. This can include not only combat, but also volunteering for a wide variety of special, sometimes risky missions, since the alliance's own navy is in fact often less experienced in such matters, having been trained mainly for home sector defense. Refusing to fight or enter any sort of combat at all, such as claiming to be a pacifist, would make your agreement invalid and revoke your licence. With escape pods granting 100% success and aliens that want to exterminate the species, civilian pilots don't have the luxury of reasons not to fight.
* Civilian pilot travel is restricted to a handful of cities, for the stated reason of protecting local economies.
* Alliances will restrict the use of certain equipment and starship models until they judge the pilot to be sufficiently experienced. They make this determination with the license point system.
CONDITIONS OF A CONTINUING CONTRACT
In order to remain a member of their pilot corps, a pilot must remain in agreement with the above terms, particularly remaining loyal to the alliance and standing in its defense. A pilot must also maintain adequate mental health. A pilot who persists in running counter to their alliance's interests will first be warned, then will eventually be punished with "rogue" status, and in extreme cases, may be blacklisted and ejected from the alliance. In this case, an ejected pilot can only hope that another alliance is willing to offer him or her a safe haven.
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