The Jod Bomber Pilot, part of the Starfighter Corps, is a thing of legend; going even further back to the fabled Red Rock Kingdom pilots, the Jod Bomber Pilot has carried the proud tradition forward into the modern age. Myth or not, Jod Bomber Pilots are known in bedtime stories and campfire tales as heroes.
Bombardiers target and release bombs and other military ordinance. They are the bombardier in the BTL-S8 K-Wing Assault Starfighter and sport a specialized role aboard a FarSpace Long Range Bomber. They share the same pilot's suit as a Bomber Pilot.
In Popular Culture
The saying, "You'd playing fancy or bastion style?" was coined because of the legendary and mythical stories of Jod Bomber Pilots, in particular referencing the Jod Fighter Pilot's fancy flying (talent) verses the Jod Bomber Pilot's willingness to be a bastion of stubbornness in the face of long odds and still find a way to achieve victory (skill).
Unlike other branches within the Jod Military Forces that gives preference to nobility for officer positions, no such condition exists and only the best of the best are accepted into flight school. Trained exclusively at one of three fighter pilot flight schools for 1 year (Royal Aviation & Space Flight Academy, Jod Military Flight School, Sherman's Professional Military Flight School), pilots undergo 2 years of academy education previously with the Kingdom's Navy at one of their academies before entering flight school. If a cadet passes training at both branch academies on time, he or she is a fighter pilot by 21 years of age. Upon graduation, they undergo a year of flying "second" (wing-man) to a veteran fighter pilot before being cut loose on their own.
3 classes are held at each academy per year, meaning 9 classes a year graduate (plus 1 class extra for retraining---see below---totaling 10 classes). This ensures a steady pool of qualified pilots into the ranks.
The Chances of Making it Past Training
Any of the one year military flight schools are considered particularity hard, but Royal Aviation & Space Flight Academy is considered the hardest and the best. Of 20 pilot cadets in a class at Royal Aviation (the smallest classes of the 3 academies), only 7 cadets will make it (a 70% failure rate). At other academies, including Jod Military Flight School & Sherman's Professional Military Flight School, failure rates are roughly 40% to 50% with class sizes of 30 pilot cadets.
What a Year of Flight School Looks Like
First 6 Months
The first 6 months of flight school is 2 months of academics, followed by 2 months of book instruction on combat flying, then completed by 2 months of training flying in both a Jump Fighter Mk 4 and a StarDrive Interceptor Mk 2.
The next month (month 7) is a testing month---both by flight book & live training---in various trainers, including ones for the Bounce Interceptor, FAIR Raptor-class Fighter, BTL-S8 K-Wing Assault Starfighter, Aka'jor-class Shuttle, Delta-class JV-7 Escort Shuttle, Eta-class Shuttle, and GR-75 Medium Transport.
Month 7 sees most of the failures out of flight school. Of the craft flown in training, pilots must become proficient in at least one of the Starfighters (Bounce, Raptor, K-Wing) OR all three shuttles (Aka'jor, Delta, Eta) OR the GR-75 Medium Transport. At this point, those who fail to meet those requirements are excused from training and either are sent back to wherever they came from (and are not allowed to re-enroll for training, unless signed off by Starfighter Command personally) OR are allowed to train & test for Bombardier or Bomb Gunner.
Months 8 through 12
The last 4 months of Flight School see Pilot Cadets focusing on one particular craft (or more in case of shuttle & low altitude craft). Typically pilots are broken up into groups of 2 to 6 pilots and are given one-on-two pilot instruction from an Flight Instructor (every instructor has two pilots). A Senior Flight Instructor oversees each group of 3 to 4 Flight Instructors and their pilot cadets, while a Master Flight Instructor oversees the whole class.
- (Bomber & Fighter Pilots); Pilot Cadets wishing to become Fighter Pilots or Bomber Pilots must score 85% or higher overall in their last 4 months to be considered for graduation. Pilot Cadets that score between 75% and 84% are offered Shuttle Pilot or Radar Intercept Officer positions. Anything lower then 75% and the Pilot Cadet is excused from training and cannot re-enroll for training, unless signed off by Starfighter Command personally, or can train & test for Bombardier or Bomb Gunner.
- (Radar Intercept Officer & Shuttle Pilots); Pilot Cadets wishing to becoming a Radar Intercept Officer or Shuttle Pilot must score 85% or higher overall in their last 4 months. Pilot Cadets that score between 75% and 84% are offered Bombardier or Bomb Gunner positions. Anything lower then 75% and the Pilot Cadet is excused from training and cannot re-enroll for training, unless signed off by Starfighter Command personally.
Any Pilot Cadets that are offered a different position then the one they trained for the last 4 months must go through a 2 month retraining program for their newly selected position.
DAF Trained Pilots
Some of the best fighter pilots in the Kingdom of Jod never attended the Kingdom's Navy initial 2 years at academy to become a Fighter Pilot, much less excelled in academic studies in school, and were instead naturally gifted pilots. Instead of losing these natural hands to pirate or smuggler bands, Starfighter Command came up with the Deferred Academy to Functional Instruction Pilot Training Program (DAF).
The Starfighter Intelligence Force, while the DAF program was extremely controversial within the Jod Military Forces, finds & selects these naturally gifted pilots and after a thorough investigation and training regiment are put through the DAF program. The program is a two year training course (instead of 1 year) where pilots have a custom built instructional course on what normal academy cadets would learn---instead focusing on essentials on being a fighter pilot---then are put through the normal 1 year flight school afterwards.
Despite the DAF's controversial running, it has proven itself more successful then it failures in terms of pilots. Much of this can be given to the Starfighter Intelligence Force, which thoroughly screens every potential DAF pilot before being offered a training slot. It is a Starfighter Command requirement that every pilot class of 20 pilots have at least 3 DAF pilots.
Pilots are encased in body armored & high-tech pilot suits, which are a combination between the functional blaster bolt resistant armor of Phase II Clone trooper Armor and the blaster bolt dispersing qualities of Stormtrooper Armor. The pilot armor is designed to give Bomber Pilots greater protection through especially hazardous attack missions, as the craft (and their pilots in them) are easy slow moving targets for enemy ordnance. The Jod do not spare any expense in keeping their pilots alive and utilize cutting edge armored pilot suits and technology to achieve this aim. Features of the suit include:
- Cutting edge technological integration between pilot, suit, and fighter craft; pilots oftentimes refer to this as "becoming one" with the fighter, as the pilots's vitals, the suit's condition, and the starfighter's internal systems (including flight, targeting, & functionality data) are all connected for the pilot to see in a HUD on the pilot's visor.
- In case of ejection (without the ejector seat or escape cockpit pod), the armored suit can keep a pilot alive for upwards of 4 hours with recycled oxygen and heat in the vacuum of outer space or a hazardous environment (the suit could also resist light to mild acid for roughly ten minutes).
The suits are furthermore laced with Red Rock to make them compatible with the Planet of Jod. Like the Military Rescue Technician, Bomber Pilots are equipped with a leg holstered DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol (50 shots) for self defense with 1 additional energy clip of 50 shots, one of the few such instances where a true blaster is used in the Jod Military Forces.