AIR-VIPER members are pilots in training at the Air Force station on COBRA Island. Their ranks consist of various military and civilian flight school drop-outs. By joining COBRA, they have the opportunity to earn their "wings" and triple their salary at the same time. However, before they are allowed to fly COBRA aircraft, they must be put through a rigorous parachute training course from an A.V.A.C. (Air-Viper Advanced Class) jumpmaster. Each trainee is outfitted in a specially designed flight helmet which includes built in oxygen mask, optical display screen, and digital altimeter that alerts them exactly when to "pull the chute." Their training consists of parachute free falls and ejection seat launches over treacherous drop zones.
Qualified candidates must then log over 1,500 hours of flight time and be familiar with the vast arsenal of aircraft that COBRA has to offer. This encompasses everything from one-man gliders, "Trouble Bubble" flight pods, fixed-wing, and multi-engine aircraft. Upon graduation, they are given an option to undergo a surgical procedure necessary to make them more resistant to hypoxia, hyperventilation, and other decompression sicknesses.
From COBRA COMMANDER's files: "Although these pilots are taught how to bail out of a burning craft, I'm only concerned that the flight helmets are returned in one piece!"