In The Phantom Menace, Anakin's piloting skills are treated as irregular and a sign that he is Force-sensitive. It's apparently extremely rare for humans to podrace and he's the first human in the history of the Boonta Eve Classic to win.

QUI-GON : They have Podracing on Malastare. Very fast, very dangerous.

ANAKIN : I'm the only human who can do it.

SHMI looks askance at her son.

ANAKIN : (Cont'd) Mom, what? I'm not bragging. It's true. Watto says he's never heard of a human doing it.

QUI-GON : You must have Jedi reflexes if you race Pods.

Despite this, the vast majority of regular and great pilots in the Star Wars franchise are human.

The Empire and First Order were explicitly species-ist, so it makes sense that they only employed human pilots. However, the Rebellion and Resistance had mainly human pilots and the Republic used human clones for pilots as well. They all seemed to do fairly well. Additionally, many of the supposedly best non-Force-sensitive pilots were human, such as Han Solo and Poe Dameron.

Do any other Star Wars works reinforce the idea that humans were generally poor pilots compared to other species?

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    Where does that dialog say pilots? It's talking about pod racers. Humans make poor pod racers. That doesn't mean they're poor spaceship pilots.
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 23:16
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    @nebogipfel What biological deficits would affect podrace piloting but not starship piloting?
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 1:05
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    For the record, jet airliners fly at more than twice the speed of a F1 car. Being a good airline pilot does not make one a good F1 pilot automatically.
    – Marvel Boy
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 1:12
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    @RogueJedi well, a deficit of common sense is a prerequisite for podracing and unnecessary in most spaceships. (More seriously though, spaceships have shields and therefore a higher error margin than pods do.) Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 5:51
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    @Renan also, there are different kinds of piloting in our own world. Flying single-engine fighers during the war is not likely to make you a very good pilot of an airliner wirh four engines. It's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether, even if you don't park in the red zone. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


If you accept Legends answers, the official wikia page on Podracers states:

Almost entirely non-Human, the demands of piloting the craft were not well-suited to the Human frame. Species of multi-limbs like Xexto, or of a more dexterous species, like the Dugs, were the most capable and able Podracers.

It appears that it is the designs of the Podracers that makes it difficult for humans to pilot them. We know from canon that some of the most exceptional pilots in the galaxy are humans including Poe Dameron, best pilot in the Resistance and, of course, Han Solo.

Counting force sensitives as good pilots seems murky as it is unclear where their force-enchanced senses and reflexes end and their pilot skills begin, but both Anakin and Luke were good Podracer pilots.

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    While I generally accept it, Wookieepedia is not "official."
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 15:08

  There is some indication that droid pilots could do maneuvers living pilots could not

For example, this is from the Revenge of the Sith novelization:

They blew past the tri-fighters, looping in evasive spirals. The droid ships wrenched themselves into pursuit maneuvers that would have killed any living pilot.

also this:

For merely human pilots, this would be suicide. By the time you can see your partner's starfighter streaking toward you at a respectable fraction of lightspeed, it's already too late for your merely human reflexes to react.

There is also some mention in the Tarkin novel :

Tarkin monitored the ground-feed holovids. The droid fighters were highly maneuverable but no match for Sentinel's powerful guns.

This of course does not answer the question were humans worse pilots then other sentient species. Except pod races, most of the pilots we see in the Star Wars universe are in fact humans, no matter whether were they flying for the Republic, the Empire, the Rebel Alliance, the First Order or the Resistance. The only exception is of course the aforementioned CIS with their Droid army, but even if they had some advantage over humans, according to the Lords of the Sith novel, they were still not equal in skill overall:

Isval knew the tri-fighters' experimental droid brains would leave them no match for the V-wings, which meant she had little time.

Therefore, we could conclude that the disadvantages humans had in pod races did not translate to piloting in space, and it is in fact more likely that humans had some advantage over other species in this regard, considering the number of famous pilots that were human.

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