TIE Fighters--can pilots eject?

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TIE Fighters--can pilots eject?

Postby Feil » 2006-11-29 12:11am

Sparked by Stark's recent post (now in HoS), I bring this question...
Stark wrote:PS 'watch the movies before you write a novel on it', hypocrite-man. ESB clearly shows a TIE pilot ejecting, and if you're too stupid, blind or dishonest well that's not my problem.


A bit of googling seems to throw this somewhat in question, though.

the author of http://cold.org/~brandon/StarWars/BadGuide.html wrote:A friend of mine told me about reading a story on the special effects in the Star Wars movies just after Return of the Jedi came out. In the story, the special effects guy talked about them creating a scene in the Empire Strikes Back where a TIE Fighter pilot is visible in a ball of flame after his ship is blown up. After watching all the movies on his wide-screen laser disk version, we found it.

In the Empire Strikes Back, side 2, frames 23967-23983. It is the scene where the Falcon first enters the asteroid field. The first TIE Fighter to get hit by an asteroid explodes. In the center of the explosion you can see the pilot (on fire) spinning from the center of the screen to the lower left. I checked it out on my letterboxed VHS version (from the beginning of the tape (not the beginning of the movie) it is 39 min. and 40 sec. (to 39 min. and 41 sec.)) it is visible but I only have a 3 head VCR and the freeze frame sucks. But it's there... honest.


I do find it more likely that it's an instance either of a very crude, or a malfunctioning ejection system (as it didn't catapult the pilot clear of the blast, or [if my mental image is correct] come with an ejector seat). Still, I'm hesitant to accept this scene as conclusive evidence.

Obviously, there's the ejection from the TIE Fighter game (possibly X v TIE too?), but unless I'm mistaken (which I very well may be, having read only a very small portion of the EU) other EU references state that TIEs lack ejection capability.

Can we state with confidence that the TIE has an ejection system? If so, why? Are there other EU sources that support its existence? For that matter, which are the sources that state that TIEs lack this capability?


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Postby 000 » 2006-11-29 12:19am

Darklighter and the X-Wing series of videogames both confirm that TIEs had ejection seats-- I'm sure there are others (among them one of the Marvel issues), but can't think of any off the top of my head.

So far as I'm aware, the only examples that indicate otherwise were Wedge's musings about TIEs in general lacking ejection systems in one or more of the X-Wing books. Since Wedge is an idiot at best and deluded at worst, this doesn't mean a whole lot.

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Postby Spanky The Dolphin » 2006-11-29 12:27am

Stark wrote:The dude's ON FIRE? I never noticed that... :?

Yeah, more or less.
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Postby Howedar » 2006-11-29 12:46am


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Postby 000 » 2006-11-29 01:02am

Hah, I knew one of 'em was a Marvel.

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Re: TIE Fighters--can pilots eject?

Postby Tychu » 2006-11-29 01:05am

Feil wrote:Sparked by Stark's recent post (now in HoS), I bring this question...
Stark wrote:PS 'watch the movies before you write a novel on it', hypocrite-man. ESB clearly shows a TIE pilot ejecting, and if you're too stupid, blind or dishonest well that's not my problem.


A bit of googling seems to throw this somewhat in question, though.

the author of http://cold.org/~brandon/StarWars/BadGuide.html wrote:A friend of mine told me about reading a story on the special effects in the Star Wars movies just after Return of the Jedi came out. In the story, the special effects guy talked about them creating a scene in the Empire Strikes Back where a TIE Fighter pilot is visible in a ball of flame after his ship is blown up. After watching all the movies on his wide-screen laser disk version, we found it.

In the Empire Strikes Back, side 2, frames 23967-23983. It is the scene where the Falcon first enters the asteroid field. The first TIE Fighter to get hit by an asteroid explodes. In the center of the explosion you can see the pilot (on fire) spinning from the center of the screen to the lower left. I checked it out on my letterboxed VHS version (from the beginning of the tape (not the beginning of the movie) it is 39 min. and 40 sec. (to 39 min. and 41 sec.)) it is visible but I only have a 3 head VCR and the freeze frame sucks. But it's there... honest.


I do find it more likely that it's an instance either of a very crude, or a malfunctioning ejection system (as it didn't catapult the pilot clear of the blast, or [if my mental image is correct] come with an ejector seat). Still, I'm hesitant to accept this scene as conclusive evidence.

Obviously, there's the ejection from the TIE Fighter game (possibly X v TIE too?), but unless I'm mistaken (which I very well may be, having read only a very small portion of the EU) other EU references state that TIEs lack ejection capability.

Can we state with confidence that the TIE has an ejection system? If so, why? Are there other EU sources that support its existence? For that matter, which are the sources that state that TIEs lack this capability?


I dont remeber where exactly it was but i remember it was some time when the Special Edition came out that it said that the pilot can be visable when it hit the asteroid. I believe we see him not because he ejected but because he flew straight out of the damn TIE Fighter when it impacted the Asteroid
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Postby Darth Judas » 2006-11-29 01:54am

I tried to get a screencap of the scene, but the guy is flying through space like a tumbleweed, not to mention it looks like he was painted in later on freeze-frame. So none of the frames show anything that can be seen distinctly as an ejection seat. It just looks to me that he was sent flying from his TIE when it exploded.

One thing I found amusing, though... If you go frame-by-frame, you can see that he gets torn to parts. Literally. :D
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Postby Old Plympto » 2006-11-29 01:56am

I made some screenshots:

Asteroid about to hit TIE in question:
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Asteroid hits TIE in question. Check out the dot coming out of the blast in the middle:
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The dot clearly becomes something that's not a rock fragment:
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Here is the TIE pilot on fire, which probably is the least of his problems right now:
Image


Eulogy required here:
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Additionally, I dont think this is a Special Edition addition. I seem to remember the effect on my old SW Trilogy 9-disc LD collection.

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Postby Lord Poe » 2006-11-29 03:43am

Old Plympto wrote:Additionally, I dont think this is a Special Edition addition.


Nope. I saw it the very first time in the theatres. In 1980.
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Postby Darth Wong » 2006-11-29 03:47am

On a slightly related note, do we see any ejections from Rebel X-wings, Y-wings, or snowspeeders? We know that larger craft (including the Falcon) have escape pods.
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Postby DPDarkPrimus » 2006-11-29 03:49am

Darth Wong wrote:On a slightly related note, do we see any ejections from Rebel X-wings, Y-wings, or snowspeeders? We know that larger craft (including the Falcon) have escape pods.


EU sources say they can eject, but I don't think there are any examples in the films. Doesn't really matter much anyway- it's not like the Rebels can slap on the face mask to make the suit airtight before pulling the ejection lever before they're space dust. :P
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Postby Stark » 2006-11-29 03:51am

Actually, doesn't the EU have helmets that project airtight forcefields, allowing them to survive inspace without a mask?

Yes, in SW. Not ST. :)

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Postby Vympel » 2006-11-29 03:55am

Stark wrote:Actually, doesn't the EU have helmets that project airtight forcefields, allowing them to survive inspace without a mask?

Yes, in SW. Not ST. :)


Never heard of that- but then- look at the helmets of the clone ARC-170 pilots in RotS. There was no visible glass covering his helmet, only his eyes, yet there's two big airhoses going into his helmet from a chest-unit, just like TIE Fighter pilots. We also see the pilot being hurtled from his wrecked craft, much like in TESB.

Or the glass could just be hard to make out at those angles.
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Postby DPDarkPrimus » 2006-11-29 04:01am

Kind of a silly thing, though, when a conventional sealed suit ala a TIE Fighter pilot would no doubt be cheaper and most likely require less maintenence/be less prone to error.

But yeah, we all know the real reason the Rebels dressed like that: dramatic liscense. :P
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Postby Old Plympto » 2006-11-29 04:17am

Darth Wong wrote:On a slightly related note, do we see any ejections from Rebel X-wings, Y-wings, or snowspeeders? We know that larger craft (including the Falcon) have escape pods.
There are none, but Biggs did yell out to Piggy, "EJECT!" which would count as an indirect reference to an X-wing ejection system which could provide some measure of protection in space.

DPDarkPrimus wrote:But yeah, we all know the real reason the Rebels dressed like that: dramatic liscense.
I like it in the "Darklighter" arc of the Empire comics that there were captions that inform the reader that we could see the "hero" TIE pilots' (Biggs, Hobbie, etc) faces because of dramatic license and a fully sealed helmet is the norm.

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Postby 2000AD » 2006-11-29 05:00am

Stark wrote:Actually, doesn't the EU have helmets that project airtight forcefields, allowing them to survive inspace without a mask?

Yes, in SW. Not ST. :)


Yeah, not sure if it's the helmets though. IIRC it's the seat, they eject with the seat i think, and the seat is what projects the field, which makes more sense as the seat is more likely to have room for a field generator and power source.
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Postby Crazedwraith » 2006-11-29 05:09am

In the ESB shots isn't that guy flying in completely the wrong direction for him ot have ejected through the top of his craft?

Oh and I don't think Rebel ejector typically remain in there seats, its always the flighsuit thats described as emitting the magcon field.
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Postby Lord Revan » 2006-11-29 05:51am

In the thrawn trilogy it's said that rebel pilots (well Luke but it's implied that it's standard equipment) have peices that make their helmets air tight for extented periods in space so the shield must be a short duration shot from battery not meant to be used for extented periods of time (like life vests on modern pilots), as for TIEs I think there's enough evidence that pilots can in fact eject (even if we ignore EBS).
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Postby Lazarus » 2006-11-29 10:30am

Nope, no ejection system at all.


I'm not so sure either of those can be considered definitive evidence. In the first, the craft is clearly powered by some form of rocket booster in the place of the TIE heat dump aft of the cockpit, and not Twin Ion Engines, as these are quite visibly not present. As to why the craft would still be called a TIE when it is obviously something else, it might be slang, in the same way as IFV's are often called tanks in an uninformed blanket statement.

The second specifically refers to 'these TIE's', and not just TIE's in general, suggesting that there are differences between 'these TIE's' and the standard model, including an ejector seat.

The clip from TESB does not show an ejector system. Rather, it shows a pilot hurtling into space after his craft disintegrates. The fact that he is literally torn apart and set ablaze suggests that this is not an ejector system, but simply a result of the crafts destruction.

I'm sure there are those who cling to these images as proving the existence of TIE ejector seats, perhaps out of a desire to see the EU overruled, but I would suggest that, given the EU evidence and lack of definitive higher canon material, we should attempt to reconcile the various sources rather than produce a contradictory outcome.
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Postby 000 » 2006-11-29 12:20pm

Lazarus wrote:I'm not so sure either of those can be considered definitive evidence. In the first, the craft is clearly powered by some form of rocket booster in the place of the TIE heat dump aft of the cockpit, and not Twin Ion Engines, as these are quite visibly not present. As to why the craft would still be called a TIE when it is obviously something else, it might be slang, in the same way as IFV's are often called tanks in an uninformed blanket statement.


Artistic license (or screw up, really). Artists draw TIEs like that all the time-- and this is a Marvel comic, after all.

The second specifically refers to 'these TIE's', and not just TIE's in general, suggesting that there are differences between 'these TIE's' and the standard model, including an ejector seat.


Mostly semantics, but it's also a Rebel talking, and Rebel folklore holds that TIEs lack ejection seats.

The clip from TESB does not show an ejector system. Rather, it shows a pilot hurtling into space after his craft disintegrates. The fact that he is literally torn apart and set ablaze suggests that this is not an ejector system, but simply a result of the crafts destruction.


That's definitely not a case of intentional ejection, but it certainly doesn't mean they lack ejector seats.

[quote[I'm sure there are those who cling to these images as proving the existence of TIE ejector seats, perhaps out of a desire to see the EU overruled, but I would suggest that, given the EU evidence and lack of definitive higher canon material, we should attempt to reconcile the various sources rather than produce a contradictory outcome.[/quote]

I'm the last person to want the EU overruled, first of all; second, so far as I'm aware, the only references to TIEs lacking ejection systems are from Rebel pilots points of view. There's nothing to reconcile: the simplest explanation is that Rebel pilots are misinformed.

You're also ignoring the fact that the two sources you mentioned are hardly the only two to depict TIE ejections; at the very least, there's also TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, and Darklighter.

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Postby Crazedwraith » 2006-11-29 12:29pm

Except Most of these Views are Expressed, at least in the Wraith Squadron Books, when the characters are actually sitting in and competantly flying TIEs. Plus is expressed by or in front of pilots who've gone through Imperial Flight training.

Are you suggesting Pilots can't see an ejection control when its right in front of them? Or that Imperial flight training doesn't explicitly point it out to them?

Obviously the answer is that some TIEs do but other budget models, such as those built by warlords and the like, lack this option.
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Postby 000 » 2006-11-29 01:53pm

There are only two instances in the X-Wing series of TIEs not having an ejection seat-- and only one of them explicit:

Wedge's musings (in X-Wing: Wraith Squadron) wrote: No shields. No ejection seat. TIE fighters were disposable attack
vehicles for disposable pilots, and Wedge never cared to feel disposable.


X-Wing: Wraith Squadron wrote: "One, your starboard wing is gone, repeat, completely gone. Punch out!"
"No ejection seat, Two." Atril felt a deep sense of regret-compounded by
sudden nausea. Her inertial compensator must have failed, leaving her at the
mercy of her ruined fighter's spinning motion. "Get clear."


The latter can be explained away as Atril's ejection seat failing due to the damage to her fighter. The former is more difficult: either the quote should be ignored as apocrypha, or as Wedge being willfully stupid (TIE pilots are hardly disposable, after all).

There is only one other mention of TIEs and ejection in the entire X-Wing series:

X-Wing: Rogue Squadron wrote:Corran dropped his targeting reticle just to starboard of the
stricken fighter. The Interceptor drifted to the right and he fired. The lasers
took the right wing clean off. The squint immediately whirled off
into a Hat spin to port, uncontrolled and unrecoverable. Corran
pulled up before he saw the Interceptor crash and part of him hoped the pilot
had the intelligence to eject before he died.


Corran, at least, thinks that TIE pilots have the option of ejecting.

Here's the panel from Darklighter I've been referring to, incidentally:

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Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2006-11-29 01:59pm

During the Death Star attack in ANH, doesn't Porkins refuse to eject because he thinks he can still straighten things out, right before he crashes?

Also, in "Truce at Bakura", Luke seemed confident that Wedge's flight suit would protect him in vaccum for "a few minutes" even without one of his gloves.
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Postby Spanky The Dolphin » 2006-11-29 02:15pm

Stark wrote:Actually, doesn't the EU have helmets that project airtight forcefields, allowing them to survive inspace without a mask?

Heh, you mean like in Battlestar Galactica? :)
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