The Eagle could be flown by a single pilot (seated port in the command module) or by a pilot with copilot. Remote control from Main Mission was used in certain circumstances: when pilots were incapacitated (Matter Of Life And Death, Ring Around The Moon, The Full Circle), in dangerous situations (The Last Sunset), during systems failure (The Seance Spectre, The Last Enemy) or when operations precluded a pilot (Breakaway, Space Brain, The Metamorph). The Eagle must be switched from "manual" to "automatic" to allow this to happen (Ring Around The Moon, Space Brain, Dragon's Domain, The Bringers Of Wonder part 1).
If the flight involved atmospheric operations, the pilots wore normal uniforms, but in space they wear spacesuits. In some circumstances it is arguable (Missing Link, The AB Chrysalis). The general principle is broken several times, notably by wearing uniforms in space operations in Space Brain, The Mark of Archanon, Brian The Brain, Space Warp, and The Dorcons.
Year 1 and Year 2 pilot sections.
The command module changed slightly during the series. The door was numbered 6, whatever the Eagle number, in the first 6 episodes (Breakaway, Matter Of Life And Death, Black Sun, Ring Around The Moon, Earthbound, Another Time, Another Place: the pod door was numbered 5 and the rear door 3). From Missing Link onwards the correct number appeared (War Games had a 9 in Eagle 1). Text might also be added to the number: "Reconnaissance Eagle 4" in Collision Course, "Rescue 4" in The Metamorph, The Exiles and All That Glisters.
Two control levels were sited by the pilots, but their functions changed regularly. The forward one (with two handles) operated the grab release in Collision Course, the manual/auto setting in Space Brain, the thrust in The Metamorph and the retro-rockets in Devil's Planet. The smaller one (with single handle) generally controlled the "main motors" (eg All That Glisters, The Immunity Syndrome), although in The Metamorph it controlled the boosters.
In The Metamorph, the controls for the spine boosters. The label on top is "Booster", with "Full Thrust" to the rear.
In Space Warp, a close up of the control levers, marked "Throttle" with "Manual" and "Automatic" - although both are moved at the same time, causing the engines to fire.
The forward control level in close up, as the MANUAL/ AUTO switch in Space Brain.
In All That Glisters, the rear control moves from "Booster" to "Full Thrust", and then the control levers start rising, as the Eagle takes off. Above the ground, the front control levers move from the front position to the rear, and the Eagle begins to descend.
The flight console screens were in colour in Breakaway only (although red text appears in Death's Other Dominion). An extension panel between the pilots appeared in The Metamorph and its screens were used in preference from then on.
The flight console in front of the pilots changed slightly after Earthbound to include the vacuum chamber controls, and were revised again for Year 2. The laser was usually controlled from one of several buttons behind a hatch, although this varied.
In Another Time, Another Place, two red clipboards can be seen resting against the black cockpit front wall, one of the few times it can be "seen" (see image thanks to Martin Daoust). The black front wall is present in Year 1 shots showing the area in front of the cockpit console. A black front bulkhead could function as a retractable "glare shield" since there must be windows directly in front of the seats as the pilots are blinded in several episodes (Breakaway, Ring Around The Moon, War Games).
In Space Brain and The Immunity Syndrome, a nuclear detonation control unit was placed on top of the console. Other items placed on the console include the space warp detector, discovered and used in the Eagle in Space Warp, and also seen in Devil's Planet and The Immunity Syndrome, and an Eagle remote control unit in Eagle 4 in Space Warp.
The flight console shifts forwards and backwards, as do the chairs. Sometimes the pilot chairs are against the back of the cockpit, at other times they have a gap behind them.
The console is only 2 feet/ 60 cm wide, and some camera views show beyond the edge. The sides of the set are extended with dark grey backing, usually in shadow to disguise the length of the set. Year Two shots are less consistent; in Rules Of Luton, even the edge of this extension is seen.
In The Beta Cloud, two shots show normal computer panels beyond the creature on the centre and starboard side. These are possibly payload avionics racks, installed in front of the copilot console if the Eagle is flown by a single pilot only.
Otherwise, we only see insert shots of either a window or a screen.
The window (only the port window is ever seen) features in Breakaway, Ring Around The Moon, Alpha Child, Collision Course, The Full Circle, Space Warp, The Seance Spectre, Devil's Planet and The Immunity Syndrome. The window(s) are supposedly located directly in front of the seated pilots while the screen is located between the pilots. They are never visible in side shots so they must be located in front of the extension of the set, i.e. some distance in front of the pilot console. This creates a continuity problem with the SFX miniature Eagle, so the "window" may in fact be a periscope like device. The use of fibre optics or prisms would allow the seated pilot an unobstructed view of the lunar surface during landing (the top windows would be largely useless for this purpose anyway).
The side computer panels were unchanged until The Mark Of Archanon when new panels included "Oxygen" and "Manual/Remote" on the port (pilot) side and "Engine Ignition" (or "Auxiliary- Engines On/Off") on the starboard (copilot) side. The panels were then shuffled as required through the series. In Devil's Planet, a "Laser Control" panel appeared on the starboard. In The Immunity Syndrome "Backup System" and "Standby System" panels were used on the starboard side. Some of the side panels seem to have Cyrillic text.
An unusual view from Seance Spectre.
The escape hatch in Devil's Planet.
The escape hatch control panel is seen by the door on the pilot's side. It only appears in Devil's Planet.
Plan by Marcus Lindroos
Copyright Martin Willey. Thanks to Martin Daoust and Marcus Lindroos.