Alien: Covenant
Pilot Chair.... what is its Purpose?

Pilot Chair.... what is its Purpose?

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DeaconMember10416 XPDec-18-2019 4:48 PM

I think i will try a Different Topic that has not been Discussed in Much Detail to my Knowledge, Especially since after we had Alien Covenant.

The PILOT CHAIR as its known, is ONE of the Most Iconic Pieces of the Franchise.

But what is its Purpose....?

Has its Purpose Changed as we got to the Prequels?

It seemed to be Indicated at the time and after of ALIEN, that this was Not Only a Pilot Chair but also some kind of Targeting System for the Bio-Weapon.

Some even Speculated if this was like a Weapon, a Canon of Sorts....

But lets look at this Seriously...

*A Canon?  You mean the Eggs are Loaded Up from the Cargo Hold and Fired via that Device?  How does it Escape the Ships HULL?

*Targeting System.  So the Eggs are Dropped from the Cargo Bay?

I find it Unlikely if both cases the Eggs would Survive either of these, NOW the using the URNS like this as far as IF the Window/Dome of the Ship OPENS... would work...

But in Alien Covenant we are shown the URNS are Dropped...

However what Alien Covenant also shows us is that maybe you don't need to use the Pilot Chair Telescope Device to Target where to DROP the Payload... as we see David was standing in ONE of the Cargo Holds while the Bombardment was about to Commence.

So the Pilot Chair does-not need a Pilot at the Controls to Deploy the Payload.

So whats NEXT?

Is it used as Controls to Pilot the Ship, like you would a Air Plane?

It seems the Ship can FLY, well at least Maintain its Position with NO ONE at the Controls, as noted by David being in the Cargo Hold during Bombardments (we assume Dr Shaw was not Piloting? but can that be ruled out, but thats not really for this debate).  

We do also see the Ship was floating in Space while Dr Shaw was Pondering whether to Repair David, do we assume that a Headless David could Pilot the Ship into Orbit?

We see there are Four Engineer Cryo-Pods with Three Dead Occupants and One Survivor, and the Pilot Chair was Retracted under the Platform.  And so WHY are there Four Cryo-Pods if ONE Engineer is Needed to Control the Ship?

When the Engineer activates the Chair to Raise Up and he gets into the Chair and Suits Up... when he Presses the Controls/Buttons on the Rear of the Telescopic Apparatus, we see this Activates the ORRERY/MAP.

so maybe this is used as a Control System to Set a Course (we see David wondering around the Ship after Dr Shaw was placed in Cryo-Sleep) and also to get the Ship to Take Off into Orbit...  It also likely Controls the Hanger Doors.

And so Once the Ship is in Space and a Destination is SET then the Pilot Chair has NO Use... maybe until Landing/Enter Orbit.

What of the Telescopic Apparatus what does it allow to be seen?

The Device just points UP and so you would ONLY see what is above the Ship as far as what can be seen through the Glass Dome above... but this would be like Driving a CAR while looking out of the Sun Roof!

Logically the Ship would have to have Cameras or Similar on the Outer Hull or Similar that can send Images/Display to the Pilot Chair..  But it surely would NOT need that LONG Telescopic Apparatus to View a External View provided by Cameras etc.

I think Ultimately at Conception (ALIEN) maybe it was never given as much thought.... at the Time i think it was mentioned it was a Canon of Sorts...  but then thats a Bit Silly when you think about it...

I think at the END of the DAY back at Inception it just looked Fricken Awesome and Cool.....

Whats your Verdict on the Pilot Chair and Telescopic Apparatus?


R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

14 Responses to Pilot Chair.... what is its Purpose?


TrilobiteMember8212 XPDec-18-2019 5:17 PM

Now that you mention it, it looks like an upside down phallus.

It obviously has a viewer for the pilot and the longer part could be a sensory/navigation array of sorts. I never saw any evidence it was a weapon of any kind.


XenomorphMember1234 XPDec-18-2019 6:26 PM

The Engineer climbs into it in order to take off - the pilot chair is for piloting.



ChestbursterMember935 XPDec-19-2019 1:45 AM

Well, it seems obvious that the pilot chair is for piloting. You need to start her up, get her airborne, plot a route on the star map, and off you go. Then it's bedtime. :)


XenomorphMember1319 XPDec-19-2019 6:00 AM


Symbolic? When aligned correctly,it shows the true path.

Used to guide the pilot in quantum separation?

It monitors the pilot and sends the data to the empire?

It focuses/channels the aura of the universe into the pilot.

alien, unknowable, bizarre tech.


FacehuggerMember457 XPDec-19-2019 7:08 AM

I'm guessing it's an X-ray pulsar navigation device.

The Galaxy is littered with pulsars (spinning neutron stars that emit X-rays) and each one has a characteristic frequency, up to several hundred rotations per second.

It is estimated that such a device could pin down its location anywhere in the Galaxy to within a few kilometres.

The 'telescope' could point in an arbitrary direction, which is just as well, since the one on the pilot chair would be of little use as an optical device.


PraetorianMember3422 XPDec-19-2019 10:06 AM

The below video slows down to give us a look at the Orrery and it's components.  I hope that this assists in the above, very impressive discussion.


The Orrery

The apparent glass beads at the top of the Orrery are shown below from the outside and inside.  

The supporting structures connected to the ring above this transparent ceiling can be seen in both images below as well. 


A Double Helix


Additional Angles


DeaconMember10416 XPDec-20-2019 6:25 AM

Certainly that is the Conclusion that i arrive at, it appears that its NOT required once the Juggernaught is in Space and has a Destination Set, but it is required to Take Off/Land and so it acts like the Landing Gear on a Plane... so ONCE the Ship is in Orbit the Pilot Chair can Retract back into Floor.

I would say for this Purpose there was NO real need for the Telescopic look of the Device, if say has a set of Controls and some Screen or other way to Communicate Visually with the Pilot.

Looks really COOL though... Epic Set Piece.

Like some of the Detail given by some of you Guys, MonsterZero, Hox and Ingeniero ;)


Certainly that is the conclusion that i arrive at, it appears that its NOT required once the Juggernaught is in Space and has a Destination Set, but it is required to Take Off/Land and so it acts like the Landing Gear on a Plane... so ONCE the Ship is in Oribit the Pilot Chair can Retract back into Floor.


R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


FacehuggerMember457 XPDec-20-2019 7:09 AM

Yeah, the main thing was the visual. Giger was undoubtedly inspired by images such as this one of Percival Lowell scanning the heavens...


EngineerAdmin22767 XPJan-09-2020 6:33 PM

I always considered the pilot's chair to be more of a massive telescope, allowing the Engineer/Jockey to track their course through space since the Juggernaut / Derelict had no windshield!

@Hox hit the nail on the head, I believe.

Alien: Romulus - New Alien Movie Coming Soon! Visit for more info!


NeomorphMember1686 XPJan-10-2020 4:30 AM

I like this topic, it is interesting. To me it could something that can be used to see where it is like a telescope but then would not the ship have coordinates to understand where it is. Maybe it is as simple as something to use to see what is outside or to look at the stars?

About its role being changed with the prequels I do not see how that would be possible since Prometheus did not show us much of that. We can only guess in this case.

Perhaps it is a canon and a telescope, depending on what adjustment that you have. Push one button and you get X, push another and you get Y.

"How does it Escape the Ships HULL?"

There could be something that we do not know about? I am not sure what that would be

"And so WHY are there Four Cryo-Pods if ONE Engineer is Needed to Control the Ship?"

Maybe they alternate so one is flying as long as he can and then he wakes up another? Who says that there is only one Engineer in there. Maybe they also need to sleep? We do not know how far those ships travel or if the Engineers sleep so maybe that is the explanation.

"And so Once the Ship is in Space and a Destination is SET then the Pilot Chair has NO Use..."

You can autopilot it or drive manually, it could be about that.

It could be more about style than about what it is actually good for.

BD: as far as I remember it you mentioned before that they do not think things through logically when they do those things but that they put things there just because so maybe that is the case.


DeaconMember10416 XPJan-10-2020 3:41 PM

Indeed Hox

I got the Impression when i First saw the Pilot Chair in ALIEN and for Many Years after, that it was INDEED some kind of Telescope of Sorts for Pinpointing Locations/Destinations.

But the More i looked into it say the Last 10 Years and also since Prometheus was that to Imagine the Pilot Room as some kind of Observatory did mean the View was Restricted due to the Size of the Domed Section.

So the Telescopic Apparatus of the Chair would have a Restricted View through the TOP of the Ship, that would NOT fit the purpose of locating Star Systems and the Orrery Scene in Prometheus kind of made such a Idea a bit MOOT anyway....

I would However Suspect the idea was for it to Perform a Similar Function as a Telescope or at least like a Submarine Periscope.

While with Prometheus and The Crossing it would appear that the Pilot Chair is NOT required apart from maybe to TAKE-OFF and LAND this does not mean we can RULE out that it can be used to SCAN the STARS.

Its Sci-Fi and Alien and so just because the Ship has a Small Glass like Dome does not mean that the Telescopic Apparatus uses this WINDOW area to View the Sky/Space. The Ship could have Various Cameras or Similar that Provide a LARGER view of the Heavens to the Pilot.

Bottom line like the overall Design of the Ship it just looked AWESOME...

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


NeomorphMember1823 XPJan-19-2020 6:43 PM

if the ship is indeed bio-mechanical in nature then perhaps it is a form of interface between what the ship sees/ senses and the helmet of the pilot. the ships information is collected in the telescope like device and transformed into a 3D holographic projection inside the pilots helmet. when he makes a course correction, the device relays the relevant information to the ship. this would negate the need for windows


DeaconMember10416 XPJan-25-2020 7:00 PM

Indeed, i have mentioned before that maybe the SHIP has some kind of Sensory Devices all over the Ship or some way that anything can be Captured from outside the SHIP and sent to the Telescopic Device and so it Acts more like a Viewing Screen

This Concept Work for Prometheus which i had not seen before does seem to Indicate as such.

This Gives a Indication of the Pilot Chamber Room Scale

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


FacehuggerMember457 XPJan-27-2020 5:13 AM

That's a nice concept work, BigDave. I've not seen that one before. I wonder if it's a coincidence that it bears a strong resemblance to a cross-section diagram of an organic eye, with the lens at the top.

It could be that the window might just be there to provide illumination. Everybody likes a bit of natural light, right?

You're right, the pilot chair does look awesome, and maybe some details are best left as a mystery. It could be, for example, that it has multiple purposes.

As for how the 'telescope' receives its input, it could indeed receive signals from remote sensors. Alternatively, it could be using advanced alien technology, something like imaging neutrinos rather than light. You could put a neutrino telescope at the centre of a planet and its view of the cosmos would be unhindered. Virtually everything in the universe looks like glass to a neutrino including, perhaps, the hull of the juggernaut.

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