The Coruscant Air Taxi is a small, circular multi passenger airborne vehicle used primarily on the planet Coruscant.[N 1]
The vast urban sprawl of the city-world of Coruscant presented problems tor local government when it came to transport systems. Over the centuries, as the planet's towers had grown and its population had increased, a vast air traffic control system was created to manage the movement of repulsorlift vehicles and other aircraft through the artificial canyons. This system instituted ’skylanes' — invisible highways in the air that could be followed from district to district without fear of becoming lost or suffering a collision.
As municipal transport buses became overloaded and the number of personally owned transports rose, the flow of traffic around Coruscant threatened to reach total gridlock. The decision was made to legalize a system of air taxis tor the planet.
Unlike the other aircraft in Coruscant’s skies, these taxis were allowed the rare privilege of 'free travel’ — a warrant to take whatever route was quickest to reach their destination instead of following the paths of the skylanes. This dispensation was previously given only to military, police and emergency vehicles, or craft piloted by persons with special Republic authority. It enabled taxis to avoid the busy skylanes and so not only get to their destination quicker, but also avoid adding to the congestion.
Coruscant’s traffic control authority instituted the taxi system by licensing tens of thousands of drivers and introducing the familiar disc-shaped taxi to the cityscape. The government operated some of the taxis directly, but independent or smaller companies controlled many of the craft.
Although the exteriors ot the vehicles were largely similar, the livery colours were used to indicate the various operators and owners. Traffic control authority taxis sported green hulls with brown stripes, while many independents had pink hulls with blue stripes.
For drivers in the skylanes, piloting was handled mainly by autonavigation. Taxi flyers had no such luxury. Because at this, taxi pilots were required to pass rigorous tests ot their flight skills and route knowledge before they were granted the coveted ’tree travel’ authorization documents. The vehicles themselves were designed to be agile enough to manoeuvre through the intricate labyrinth of Coruscant's short-cuts. They were also fitted with advanced scanners to help the pilots avoid collisions.
Although there were many variations on the open-plan design of the Coruscant taxi, almost all these craft were manufactured by, or under licence from, the SoroSuub Corporation on the Outer Rim world Sullust. Producing everything tram comlinks to cruisers, SoroSuub was a vast conglomerate that allied itself with the Empire during the Galactic Civil War, even taking over the government of its home planet, Sullust. Despite the fall of the Empire, the company was still operating well into the time of the New Republic.
The typical air taxi was eight metres in length, with a single pilot seated in the right side of the Forward passenger section. The pilot's controls were a simple steering yoke and a pair of thruster pedals with which to direct the taxi’s ducted engine exhaust and repulsorlift fields. Up to six passengers, depending on size and weight, could be carried in the standard taxi — one on either side of the driver in the front section and tour in the rear.
Each rider would find a small viewscreen on the panel in front of them which would display tare information, as well as advertisements and other data. These screens could also be used to tap into Coruscant’s computer network, if required. The taxis were designed as all-weather vehicles. In a city where life never stopped, they were called upon to operate day and night. During the hours after sunset, or it the taxis took fares into the darker lower levels of the city, the vehicles used a set of three forward-mounted, multi-spectrum headlights to light the way. These lamps could be altered to shine in visible, ultra-violet or infra-red ranges in order to assist navigation.
The air taxi used three repulsorlift generator units during flight operations. The primary units provided lift via two cylindrical emitters on the vehicle's underside. The secondary repulsors were radial arrays mounted inside the ventral fins beneath the main hull (these allowed For precision steering). Tertiary repulsors arranged on the horizontal plane projected a ’bubble’ field that served to deflect wind and weather, and protect the vehicle in a collision. Mild tractor-Field generators inside the seats held passengers and driver in place without the need for restraint belts. Luggage would be stored in a compartment between the passenger sections.
Air taxis had a top speed of 191 kph, but most drivers kept well below this maximum velocity. The craft was capable of reaching altitudes of nearly three-and a halt kilometres above the city Floor, putting all but the tallest of Coruscant's towers well within its reach. With a full tank of propellant, these vehicles could make journeys of 210 kilometres before refuelling. Although they have relatively small fuel capacity, air taxis make use of highly efficient twin turbine thrusters. These engines burn hot but are very cost-effective and largely maintenance free.
By law, air taxis are required to remain in communication with Coruscant’s air traffic control authority at all times. A driver who fails to do so will instantly lose his ’free travel’ waiver and his vehicle will be impounded. Two comlink systems are fitted as standard to the SoroSuub air taxi, the first being a series of signal receivers built into the body frame and the second, a communicator in the rear, equipped with a long antenna for clear reception.
Coruscant residents were familiar with the fast pace of air taxis, but visitors were often surprised by the hair-raising velocities. Although the skills of the drivers meant accidents were rare, a popular urban legend told of Senator Kalen, a delegate who offered a taxi driver a 100-credit tip to get him to a meeting at the Senate Chamber on time. The story went that the driver did as he was asked, but the high-speed trip gave Kalen a fatal heart attack and the tare was left unpaid.
- ↑ This is an non land travel vehicle, and therefore does not violate inclusion prohibition #3 (The full list can be found on the Prohibited Inclusions Page).
- ↑ The Official Star Wars Fact File. De Agostini. 2002-2005. Issue 34: Vehicles - Coruscant Air Taxi - Page 1
- ↑ Official Star Wars Fact File Issue 34: Vehicles - Coruscant Air Taxi - Pages 1 and 2
- ↑ Official Star Wars Fact File Issue 34: Vehicles - Coruscant Air Taxi - Page 2
- ↑ Official Star Wars Fact File Issue 34: Vehicles - Coruscant Air Taxi - Page 3
- ↑ Official Star Wars Fact File Issue 34: Vehicles - Coruscant Air Taxi - Page 4