How to get Flight Training (and an according rating) during the TNG era for persons who did not want to join Starfleet but were inhabitant of a planet within the Federation?

We have, as an example, Kasidy Yates(-Sisko). In her biography on Memory Alpha, it is not mentioned with any word that she was part of Starfleet at any point. Nontheless, she was allowed to operate for Starfleet and in their controlled space. On the other hand, it would be too dangerous to let anybody without any training take control over a Warp capable ship.

So, how was it determined who's allowed to fly a Warp capable ship in Federation space and where was it possible to get the necessary ratings?

  • 4
    Starfleet is the navy. It doesn't cover all (or presumably even the majority of) ships. In our world, countries have their navies, but also have merchant navies/merchant marines, which are non-military ships such as cargo and passenger vessels; there's certainly a Federation equivalent. Jan 18, 2021 at 18:20
  • @DanielRoseman Yes, but if you want to pilot a boat, I need a license (at least in Switzerland where I come from). Ând we don't even have a sea but only lakes.
    – Shade
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:25
  • There are endless references to merchant vessels; memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/…
    – Valorum
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:40
  • @Valorum But how do the pilots get their training / rating?
    – Shade
    Jan 18, 2021 at 19:16
  • 2
    @PaulD.Waite In order to drive a car / motorbike, you need a license. Same with piloting a boat. If you want to pilot an airplane, it costs you around CHF 120k (EUR 110 / USD 130) to get the license. Piloting a space vessel with a matter / anti-matter reaction which can, as seen in several scenes, be used as a bomb, is certainly more demanding than any of the previously mentioned tasks.
    – Shade
    Jan 18, 2021 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


The earliest look we have at civilian warp ships is in Star Trek Enterprise. The back story of Ensign Mayweather was that he was born to a space faring family/clan aboard the freighter ECS Horizon. It is mentioned that most freighters of that time were owned and operated by family clans who took care of their own training. https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/ECS_Horizon

We know something called a Master's License or Master's Ticket existed by at least the TOS era. In the episode Mudd's Women, Harry Mudd is impersonating Leo Walsh who holds a valid license while Harry's was revoked. https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Master's_License

During the Star Trek: TNG/VOY/DS9 era, several places are mentioned as part of various characters' backgrounds or service records. These include Starfleet Academy, Vulcan Flight School, The Daystrom Institute and Trill pilot school (where Jadzia Dax earned a level 3 license). https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Lower_Decks_(episode) https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Playing_God_(episode)

On the humorous side, in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Natural Law, Tom Paris is sent to pilot school by an alien race after he gets picked up for reckless flying. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708934/characters/nm0680392


Canonically there is no real answer one can presume that Yates and other non Starfleet citizens of the Federation are accredited somehow but honestly there is no real requirement for them to be especially if they stay in known space where an autopilot can take care of flying the ship.

The closest answer would be we really dont know there might not even be an age restriction since Paris was teaching a two year old to fly however anti-matter to power a warp core probably isnt easy to get which means only someone who can get anti-matter can realistically fly a warp capable ship.

As to training we see many instances of the holodeck being used for pilot training one can assume that if an accreditation is required it would be possible to acquire one much like a driving test is used to get a license today

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.