Flying Pirate

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A Flying Pirate is a Space Pirate with a jet pack found in Metroid Prime. They shoot many swirling homing missiles and modified green Galvanic Accelerator Cannons. Once low on health, some Flying Pirates will perform a last ditch suicide strike, spiraling to the ground and exploding on contact. In the other Prime games a similar unit is called the Pirate Aerotrooper, which is presumably a more advanced version of the Flying Pirate.

Samus can easily target the jetpack with the Thermal Visor, once acquired. Due to the high combustibility of the fuel used for the jetpack, they are highly vulnerable to the Plasma Beam. Despite this, it is often easier to use the Ice Spreader to freeze large groups of them and then pick them off with missiles--the Ice Beam works too, but they are often nimble enough to avoid its slow, non-homing shots.

Flying Pirates also appear in Metroid Prime: Federation Force. They attack the Federation Force during the Pirate Warship battle and drop their own cannon balls which are dangerous to the soldiers and cannot be placed into catapults to attack the Warship. Their jetpacks can be attacked separately this time. They also attack the Force when they are attempting to Drill into their base on Talvania.


Logbook entryEdit

Flying Pirate scanpic

Flying Pirate

Metroid Prime

Temporary scan

Morphology: Flying Pirate
Pirates trained and equipped for airborne assault.

Logbook entry

Flying Pirates are extremely agile in the air, but the heat signatures of their jet packs can be tracked with Thermal Imaging. While their Missiles are extremely potent, their jet packs can be even more so. If the pack fails, they will make a suicide strike.

Gene Kohler design notesEdit

Flying Pirate scan image dolphin hd

Samus scans a Flying Pirate.

Though originally created by another artist at Retro, Gene Kohler tweaked and refined the Flying Space Pirate design to better fit his UV layout style and skinning technique. "I did skin the final asset from scratch. It took me about two days to create the skin (texture)," recalled Gene.

While in the process of writing this article I went back and played through Metroid Prime a bit to refresh my memory on certain portions of the game. When I finally came to my first encounter with the Flying Space Pirates, I couldn't help but notice their eyes were made of flames. Even more intriguing was the fact that I realized that nearly all of the Space Pirates had flaming eyes. I couldn't help but ask why this was. Was this to make them appear more menacing? Gene confirmed my suspicions, "Yep… you hit the nail on the head. I think it is simply to make them look cooler to view and visually more enjoyable to fight."

Flying Pirate Control Tower

Samus battles a Flying Pirate at the Control Tower.

Another artistic style I noticed while playing was the varying designs of the Space Pirates. Gene explained by telling N-Sider that, "Andrew [Jones] wanted the Pirates to look like they belong to the same race, but also strived to give them a different look that pertained to their combat specialty. It would have been pretty boring to simply see a regular pirate with a jet pack on for the Flying Pirate… put a glowing purple helmet on a regular pirate and call it a Trooper… you know?" A Good move on Andrew and Retro's part. By giving the Space Pirates different appearances, they were able to successfully diversify the creatures - a feat that no doubt enhanced the overall experience of the game.[1]


  • When shot with the Ice Beam they remain frozen in the air despite the fact that their jetpack is frozen solid (however the jetpack thruster appears to remain operational in this state).
  • The Flying Pirates were modelled and skinned by Gene Kohler.
  • If shot with a charged Plasma Beam, a flying pirate will be knocked back severely.


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