Whenever it becomes necessary to ferry troops and equipment between an orbital mothership and the dead center of a raging warzone, the pilot most likely to successfully weave the dropship
down to the surface and back is invariably a woman. She is the smooth voice over the radio who reassuringly informs her passengers to prepare for some chop, swoops down in the nick of time to extract her allies before they're overrun, and deftly threads her landing craft through clouds of anti-aircraft flak and passageways barely wider than its wingspan. She is the Female Dropship Pilot.
The Female Dropship Pilot got her start in the seminal Robert A. Heinlein novel Starship Troopers
in which the interstellar naval forces of the Terran Federation specifically single out female cadets for pilot training. This premise was based on real-world scientific testing which has consistently shown that women naturally exhibit better hand-to-eye coordination and more acute reflexes than their male compatriots. Although the "Mobile Infantry" in the book were actually fired down to the surface in unguided "drop pods" and only extracted via dropship after the ground battle was concluded, the concept caught on and became common staple in other works of science fiction.
One of the highest profile examples was James Cameron's 1986 Aliens
, a hugely successful science fiction movie in which the space marines
were so heavily inspired by their counterparts in Starship Troopers
that the book was supposedly required reading for the cast. Corporal Collette Ferro is the living embodiment of Heinlein's theoretical flight training. Cool, collected, and effortlessly confident (until she was devoured by an alien, anyway), Ferro firmly established the mainstream standard by which all other Female Dropship Pilots are judged.
Female Dropship Pilots are a distinct presence in virtually every game that features the requisite aircraft. While not all of the pilots are necessarily women, those who are have an uncanny knack for safely carrying major characters through fire fights that shoot down their colleagues.
Cpl. Ferro herself is specifically evoked in multiple examples, including the character " Foe Hammer
" in Halo: Combat Evolved
who conducted several successful troop extractions and equipment drops for the protagonist throughout the game, and the ubiquitous female Dropship Pilots in StarCraft
who go so far as to recite memorable lines directly out of Aliens
. In both instances, the voice actresses were provided with copies of the movie and encouraged to replicate the same unflappable, self-assured demeanour in their own performances.