When Cobra first started their Terror Drome project, one of the key features of said project was the Firebat interceptor mini-jet. At first glance, there seems nothing remarkable about the Firebat. Control-wise, you can't find any engine status readouts, navigation aids, you aren't even provided an ejection seat. Just the basic control panel, stick, pedals and weapons control.
It takes a special kind of pilot to overcome the lack of computer control and the sudden high-speed vertical take-off. A.V.A.C. pilots come from Cobra's Air-Viper pool and must be capable of getting around the limitations and controlling a mini-jet at extremely high speeds. The Firebat is not the best fighter jet but there is no lack of applicants for A.V.A.C. positions. It is said that taking off from the "Pocket Rocket" is the ultimate adrenaline rush.
A Real American Hero continuity
Marvel Comics continuity
The A.V.A.C. debuted in issue # 54, where he is referred to as "Firebat Pilot" and in which he sports a black and red flight suit, as opposed to the silver, black and red motif of the action figure.The A.V.A.C is scrambled to intercept an incoming
Joe aircraft, namely the Conquest X-30, that has strafed an airbase that Cobra has sold to the provisional military government of Sierra Gordo. The Firebat launches and the A.V.A.C. immediately positions himself to "wax" the tail of the Conquest X-30, piloted by Slipstream. Seeing this maneuver and countering it, Slipstream quickly regains the upper hand by cutting a tighter circle and angling back behind the Firebat.
However the A.V.A.C., himself an experienced pilot, counters Slipstream's maneuvers with a few of his own, eventually lining the X-30 up in his sight picture. With a burst from his nose mounted minigun, the A.V.A.C. shoots down the X-30.
Before returning to base, the A.V.A.C. reports that only one chute has deployed and that it is in sector 95-23. Unbeknownst to the A.V.A.C., the Conquest X-30 is still airborne Slipstream having intentionally lined himself up to be shot so that a disguised Snake Eyes could eject, be captured and brought into the launch base for reconnaissance purposes.
An A.V.A.C. can next be seen very briefly in issue # 69, again being launched from a Terror Drome located in Sierra Gordo. There is nothing to indicate that this is in fact the same pilot from issue # 54. This A.V.A.C. wears a flight suit that does not resemble the standard A.V.A.C. flight suit, sporting an orange helmet and gloves, a blue flight suit, and red mask with white Cobra insignia.
In response to Destro making a TOW run on the Terror Drome in a rocket laden gunship, Zarana launches the Firebat to cover her and the Dreadnok's (Monkeywrench and Thrasher) escape. The A.V.A.C. immediately positions himself behind the gunship preparing to shoot it down, when Destro swings the gunship around 180 degrees and blows the Firebat out of the sky.
Sunbow animated series
|A Real American Hero (1986)
The A.V.A.C. was released as part of the 1986 series of A Real American Hero toys, packaged exclusively with the Terror Drome. From 1988 to 1993, A.V.A.C. was available mail-order from Hasbro Direct packaged with the Firebat.
Appearance: silver helmet with black visor; silver and red armor on chest, arms, and legs; black gloves, belt, and boots; black Cobra emblem on chest
Accessories: black parachute harness with Cobra emblem on back.
Variations: the backpack had either hard or soft straps.
- The writers' guide for the Sunbow series defined A.V.A.C. as standing for "Air Viper Attack Corps", albeit misspelled as "Corp".
- Later file cards make A.V.A.C.'s acronym officially stand for Air-Viper, Advanced Class.
- A.V.A.C.'s appear in Sunbow's first G.I. Joe cartoon season, well before their first toy release in 1986. They are seen operating grey-colored Firebats (the later toy release would be maroon colored), as well as Cobra Rattlers in the episode "Worlds Without End."
- Steve Gerber, G.I. Joe Writers' Guide (Sunbow Productions, Inc., 1985), 17. Available as a PDF at http://joeguide.com/pm/writersguide/