Crew are an essential part to World of Warplanes: You can not fly a plane without crew. And seeing that automated planes have not yet been added, and most likely won't be, crew are needed for all planes. This page is dedicated to getting you familiar with your crew.
There are two crew that you will encounter in the game: The pilot and the rear gunner. Each type has its own set of skills that it can master, though it takes much time to master one skill, let alone two.
The pilot is the most important of the crew. Your plane would be a pile of metal scrap if there were no pilot. Pilots drive the plane, shoot the guns, and do everything else related to the main functions of the plane. You will be seeing a pilot from your first plane onwards.
The rear gunner is the second crew type you will hear about. It will appear in advanced planes. They are responsible for getting whoever is on your tail... off your tail. They will shoot at enemies that come within their range. However, they have a shallow range, much less than of your plane as a whole, and they have less accuracy, so do not rely too much upon your rear gunner. But in some certain situations, they can save your life. Note that planes on your tail, while getting shot at by the rear gunner, will often injure the rear gunner too by firing.
There are multiple skills that a pilot and rear gunner can learn. There are some skills that both can master, and in fact must before learning another, and some skills unique to the pilot or the rear gunner.
You can choose a skill to start levelling, as well as find out how much experience will it take, by clicking a crew member and selecting his Personal File.
The first skill every member of the crew learns is a main proficiency – pilot or rear gunner. Basic crew members have a 50% proficiency which grows with every bit of experience you get in battles. You can also train them in a Training Wing to gain 75% proficiency for 40,000 credits, or for 400 gold you might send them to a Combat Wing and train proficiency to 100%.
Proficiency is the most important characteristic for the crew. At 50%:
- A pilot guides the aircraft poorly. This means that the aircraft achieves its maximum rotation speed on all its axes (yaw, pitch and roll) 20% slower and its engine achieves maximum power in both nominal and afterburner modes 20% slower.
- A pilot Shoots and aims bombs poorly. With 50% pilot proficiency all the guns mounted on the aircraft have a 10% larger aiming spread than is optimal, while bombs and rockets have a 20% accuracy penalty.
- A rear gunner with 50% proficiency takes a 30% longer pause between salvos, so, in effect, he protects your aircraft almost a third less effectively.
While a crew member achieves proficiency, the penalties to his skills are reduced linearly, so for example at 75% they will be reduced by a half.
After gaining 100% proficiency, the crew gains access to additional skills that affect various aspects of their effectiveness. As with proficiency, they start working right from the start when you choose them with effectiveness corresponding to the percentage you've gained. Note that contrary to proficiencies, you cannot “force-learn” skills for credits or gold, and every single following skill requires much more experience.
Here are skills that can be learned by both pilot and rear gunner. These can only be learned after the crew gains 100% proficiency, which increases from experience earned in battles.
- Stamina - This increases the amount of damage your pilot or rear gunner can take before becoming injured. Levelling it to 100% will increase the crew member’s health pool by 50%. This skill is most important for nimble fighters – an injured pilot drastically decreases your chances of winning a dogfight. If you’re flying a ground attack aircraft – this skill will be more important for a rear gunner, since maneuverability for this type is not a requirement but if you lose your defensive capabilities against some annoying fighter on your six – it might prove fatal.
- Increased View Range - Just as the name suggests, this increases the range at which a crew member is able to detect an enemy in his view sector. Levelled to 100%, this skill gives a 50% range increase: for instance, if an aircraft has a forward-facing view sector of 3000 metres, its pilot, upon fully levelling this skill, will be able to detect an enemy at 4500 meters. The rear gunner gains less from this skill – only 20%. It was balanced this way to avoid situations when the gunner detected an enemy and started shooting at him long before being detected himself. Please note that this skill also affects the visibility decrease rate when flying in fog or clouds. At this moment IVR is the most important skill.
- Fire Fighting - Decreases maximum fire duration by up to 50%. Bear in mind that an average level of skill among the crew members is used by the game: if the pilot has 100% and the rear gunner has no skill in it at all, then the maximum fire duration will decrease only by 25%.
Here are skills that only a pilot may learn. These can only be learned after the crew becomes 100% skilled at one other skill.
- Engine Guru - Increases engine power. With 100% skill level, increase is 5% and that’s not as little as it might seem.
- Bombardier - Increases bombing and rocket launch accuracy by 50%. With new ground targets system you should be able to really notice the difference while having this skill learnt.
- Crack Shot - Increases accuracy of the mounted guns by up to 10% by reducing firing spread. This skill is most important when you shoot long salvos (and the spread grows gradually) and also when sniping from a large distance with large-caliber weapons.
- Veteran - Decreases maneuverability loss due to wings, tail or fuselage damage by 15%.
Rear Gunner Skills
Here are some skills that only a rear gunner may learn.
- Long Reach - Increases turret firing distance by up to 20%.
- Tutor - Increases amount of experience your crew gains in battle by up to 50%.
- Sharpshooter - Decreases turret firing spread by up to 20%.
When choosing a combination of skills to level as a priority, you should consider the aircraft type and even model. For example, highly manoeuvrable fighters will benefit most from Engine Guru, while heavily armed heavy fighters pilot might prefer Crack Shot. The more hit points your aircraft has, the more valuable Veteran might become e.g. situations when a heavy fighter or a ground attack plane receives a lot of “crits” (critical hits) but survives are quite frequent so reducing manoeuvrability loss in these cases might be a good idea.
For ground attack aircraft pilots, Bombardier and Crack Shot are a definite priority, while a rear gunner should study Long Reach first. Also, you might use a little trick: level Tutor first to a 100%, which will be faster because of its bonus to experience gain, and then reset the skills and choose the one you need in battle. That’s for you to decide. Levelling the needed skill in a normal way will give you its increasing benefits from the start, while using this trick will give you a 100% levelled skill faster.
A skilled crew will be much more effective in battle because the aircraft will become faster, more manoeuvrable and it’s weaponry – more accurate and deadly.
Crew members can be injured from shots, which decreases their abilities for that match, such as an injured rear gunner loses accuracy. Crew can be healed in-battle by a first aid dressing package. All crew are automatically healed upon return of the aircraft to the garage. Injured or knocked out crew will gain less experience than if they are unharmed.