Continuing our popular series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the foundation of the Pilots Federation.
“The Pilots Federation was established in 2805 in response to a surge in private-starship ownership. It was created principally to allow pilots to share reliable trade-route information, and to provide them with a system of mutual protection against the rising scourge of interstellar piracy.”
“At the time, independent pilots were generally mistrusted, the itinerant nature of their profession giving rise to perceptions of irresponsibility. The Pilots Federation’s strict code of conduct put an end to this, and over time a galaxy-wide respect for its members emerged.”
“As piracy became more prevalent, the Pilots Federation started issuing bounties on known pirate vessels. Some of those outside the organisation condemned the initiative as bloodthirsty, but few were able to argue with the impact it had on piracy. Shortly thereafter, the Pilots Federation introduced an official ranking system to reflect the number of combat victories achieved by each of its members. Pilots who accumulated the largest number of kills were awarded the title of Elite – a citation that became highly coveted among independent pilots.”
“The Pilots Federation derives the bulk of its wealth from the GalNet data network. Originally a system of ship, bounty and star-chart data, it evolved into an interstellar aggregator of market information and galactic news. By 3300, the Pilots Federation was not only the dominant provider of this information, it was also the main manufacturer of the hardware and software serving this data. Today, Pilots Federation systems are fitted as standard on virtually all independent starships.”
“In 3290 the Pilots Federation expanded its ranking system to encompass the fields of trade and exploration. In 3301 it expanded it again to include pilots who had distinguished themselves in the Close Quarters Combat championships.”
“The Pilots Federation has always remained politically neutral, avowing that it exists to support pilots rather than nationalities or political factions. The organisation is based in the Shinrarta Dezhra system, which can be accessed only by invitation. Receiving an invitation is typically dependent on achieving a high rank in the Pilots Federation. This stipulation has contributed to perceptions of the organisation as secretive – a perception compounded by the fact that the Pilots Federation has very little direct interaction with the public.”