A Flying Pirate is a specialized unit of Space Pirate encountered on Tallon IV, Bion, and Talvania.


As the moniker suggests, the Flying Pirate is outfitted with a large jet pack apparatus capable of launching missiles, which home in on enemies in a swirling flight pattern. Their left wrists are equipped with modified green Galvanic Accelerator Cannons. In addition to their armaments, Flying Pirates' morphology is drastically different from the other Pirate forces on Tallon IV: Their bodies are extremely slender, with two long toes on each foot, and their spiked, full-head helmets end in a curved hook reminiscent of a beak.

If critically injured, Flying Pirates will perform a last-ditch suicide strike, spiraling to the ground and exploding on contact. A charged Plasma Beam shot will incinerate Flying Pirates before they can commence this strike. 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 in M16: Slipstream and drop their own cannon balls. These are dangerous to the soldiers and cannot be placed into catapults to attack the Warship. The Flying Pirates' jetpacks can be attacked separately this time. They also attack the Force when they are attempting to Drill into the Space Pirate HQ on Talvania during M18: Hightower.


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.
  • A computer screen in Elite Control contains a scan saying "Scramble all aerial units immediately. Flight pattern Sigma 4 is in effect." Whether this corresponds to the actual flying patterns that Flying Pirates demonstrate in Prime, or subsequent Pirate Aerotroopers throughout the series, is unknown.