RPG Characters and Roles - Helm - General Information
The Flight Control console, often referred to as CONN, is responsible for the actual piloting and navigation of the spacecraft. Although these are heavily automated functions, their criticality demands a human officer to oversee these operations at all times. The Flight Control Officer (FCO) receives instructions directly from the Commanding Officer. If the Commanding Officer is not available, Helm takes commands directly from the Executive Officer.
Options for Powered Spaceflight
There are three (3) different options when selecting powered spaceflight.
- Thrusters - Thrusters are used for the intricate docking and backing out maneuvers so important when moving in heavy traffic while attempting to connect with a host star base gondola. Thrusters are also used to make slight course change adjustments.
- Impulse - Impulse is the principal sublight propulsion on the ship and for certain auxiliary power units like Emergency Pod and Warp Core Ejection. Impulse is measured in ¼, ½,¾ and full impulse. There may be two power fusion engines on a star ship, one for main impulse and the second for the saucer module. Both can be managed by Helm at the same time on the main bridge as long as the Saucer is still locked into the battle section.
- Warp - Warp is the power source for speed beyond light speed. It is measure in cochrans. Warp factors are figured from Warp 1 which is the lowest warp to warp 9.
Warp speed is dependent upon interstellar conditions like gas density, electric and magnetic fields and fluctuations in the sub space domain as well as energy penalties resulting from quantum drag forces and power oscillation inefficiencies.
There are different Warp limits based on the application of the ship. When towing another ship the warp limit is no higher than Warp 5 for a safe and controlled flight. Warp is not possible when separating or relinking between the s aucer and battle section.
The current power source must be disengaged before another power source can be engaged.
When leaving spacedock regulations state that only maneuvering thrusters will be used, until you are clear of the space doors.
Areas of Responsibility
There are five (5) major areas of responsibility for the Flight Control Officer:
- Navigational references/course plotting
- Supervision of automatic flight operations
- Manual fight operations
- Position verification
- Bridge liaison to Engineering department
Conn also serves as a liaison to the Engineering department in that he/she is responsible for monitoring propulsion system status and providing system status reports to the commanding officer in the absence of an engineering officer's presence on the bridge.
Accessing the Flight Control Panel
The Flight Control Panel displays the readings for navigation and tactical sensors, overlaying them with both current positional and course projections, along with options available to the Helm.
Access is initiated by a palm scan place on the console. Power becomes active via a security coded voice command. Controls are adaptable for the species assuming command of the helm.
- Auto Piloting - Monitoring of automatic flight controls are simply visual oversight and periodic systems checks of the automatic flight controls. These are usually performed during routine flights. The Automatic flight controls must be select off unless the ship engages the Alert status of Yellow or higher levels. In the event that a maneuver exceeds the capacity of the ship, the Inertial Damping System (IDS) will request Helm to modify the flight path.
- Manual Piloting - During Alert status, flight plan program allows Helm to override the safety Auto Lockout for the IDS. There are several different modes of manual flight once auto flight has been deselected.
- Manual Navigation - This is nothing more then plotting the course free of the navigation system. A kind of off road way to travel. It is use primarily to maneuver around in Nebula's and Ion or Tachyeon fields.
- Manual Navigation Projections
- Helm Control
Verifying Ship's Position
The Helm is responsible for setting and maintaining the flight course of the ship. Before a ship can go toward a place the Helm must know where in space the ship is currently located. It is called the Ship's Relative Position. Space is height, width, length and depth much like flying in the sky of a planet. Charting and course plotting is described in those four dimensions by describing:-
- Heading - Direction of Flight. It is defined in terms of 000.
- Bearing - Measurements of relative height to the ship altitude.
- Mark - Is the relative position of the ship in relationship to the galaxy center.
- Azimuth - Is the angle by degree away or toward that center. Like the radius of a circle there are 360 degrees to the Azimuth. So turning 30 degrees port is turning 30 degrees to the right without changing elevation.
. . . in measurements of degrees. All positions are based on the current orientation of the spacecraft to the center of the galaxy. So to change the ship's position, the heading, bearing, mark and Azimuth must be changed.
Liason to Engineering Department for Flight and Warp Control
Helm coordinates the throttle control on the console. When there is a malfunction of the power systems either Engineering directly or Operations can make adjustments to the power sources (Thusters, Impulse, Warp) in order to reroute power to throttle controls. It is the responsibility of Helm to repair damage to the Helm console.