At the Cyberdyne building, the T-1000 drove through a window in the building in order to commandeer the police helicopter. After entering the helicopter he ordered the pilot to "get out" -- which the pilot did -- instead of killing him:

The helicopter doesn't have much altitude so the pilot might have survived the jump; the pilot obviously thought he had a better chance of survival by jumping than remaining in the helicopter with the T-1000 (and the pilot didn't even know the T-1000 was a Terminator or what a Terminator is).

Since it's possible the pilot survived yet it would have been easy for the T-1000 to kill him (e.g. by forming a blade and stabbing him), why didn't the T-1000 simply kill the pilot?

As a Terminator it's not like the T-1000 would have any moral qualms about killing him, and there's been such an extensive firefight already that investigators wouldn't be particularly surprised upon finding the pilot's corpse. On the other hand, if the pilot survived the jump he could tell a tale about a strange "policeman" who could turn into liquid metal -- possibly compromising Skynet's future. (Granted, it's doubtful anyone would believe the pilot and he'd probably be sent to an insane asylum like Sarah, but why take a chance?)

Note: I am looking for an in-universe answer.


3 Answers 3


In the Randall Frakes novelisation (and the original script it was based on) the T-1000 throws the pilot out mid-air rather than asking him to leave. Presumably he didn't want to kill him because doing so might have caused the helicopter to crash. Note how close it came...

It instantly solidified into Officer Austin on the passenger seat. It grabbed the gaping pilot and hurled him out of the cockpit, then slid behind the controls.

The chopper was autorotating, spinning out of control, dropping toward the parking lot. The T-1000 recovered control ten feet above the ground.


178 T-1000 BLASTS OUT THROUGH THE GLASS, airborne on the motorcycle. It rockets across the gap to the hovering chopper and

178A SLAMS into the canopy. The impact of bike and rider pitches the chopper radically. The startled PILOT fights to regain control as the bike tumbles to the pavement below.

178B The T-1000 doesn't. It clings to the shattered canopy. Nightmarishly, the pilot watches as the T-1000 smashes its head through the plexiglass canopy and rapidly POURS ITSELF through the jagged hole. It reforms instantly into its previous self on the passenger seat.

178C It hurls the pilot out of the chopper and slides into the driver's seat. The chopper is auto-rotating, spinning out of control. It drops toward the parking lot. T-1000 recovers control ten feet above the ground.

Out of universe, this scene was clearly altered to provide a callback to the scene in the original Terminator film where Arnie takes the fuel truck. In that instance, the driver simply gets out onto the road.

  • How would killing him cause the helicopter to crash? Because it would take a little longer to stab him and then push him out, and with the helicopter so close to the ground it would have crashed?
    – Null
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:29
  • @Null - Yes. Precisely that. Also, he might not have died instantly, he might have struggled or lashed out.
    – Valorum
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:30

In-Universe, the Terminators don't go out of their way to kill humans. If it isn't in their way or their target, it won't spend time to kill them.

As to that specific instance, taking the time to kill the pilot, take the 200 lb corpse out of its seat belt, remove him from the controls, and throw him out the door would have caused the helicopter to crash. He barely had enough time to recover as is. It was the quicker, smarter option. Additionally, it was still reforming from its liquid state, and likely could not easily kill during that time.

  • Terminators don't go out of their way to kill people, but they don't have a problem killing people who are interfering with their mission (except Uncle Bob, who was specifically programmed not to kill). The pilot was interfering with the T-1000's mission so I think the T-1000 would have killed him, barring circumstances like the need to prevent the helicopter from crashing.
    – Null
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:34
  • You and I and the Terminator probably have different methods to calculate the value of "interference". I don't think that counts as interference unless the pilot didn't jump, or he fought or shot him.
    – user16696
    Jun 12, 2015 at 19:38

i think t1000 may have already calculated that casualty, the pilot was a potential threat to the integrity of the chopper if he puts up a fight, the t1000 needed the chopper to hury up to catch up to the trio. any compromise would've delayed the machine and would ve made it harder to track if he lost track of them.

  • 1
    I'm reasonably sure I already made that point :-)
    – Valorum
    May 3, 2019 at 21:08
  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Given that the terminator could kill the pilot as quickly as throw him/order him out, how does this answer the question?
    – DavidW
    May 3, 2019 at 21:10
  • @DavidW, flying a chopper, especially at low level, requires controlling both hands and both feet, constantly. Killing the pilot would have meant losing control of the stick, the collective, and both pedals at the same time, and that's assuming the pilot didn't try to do something intentionally. At low level, which they were, that would have meant instant crash. Scaring the pilot into jumping meant that the T-1000 could take the controls while the pilot was unstrapping himself and jumping out. Dec 6, 2019 at 16:58

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