A Nazi pilot was part of the German effort to locate the Ark of the Covenant in the Well of the Souls at the Tanis digsite outside Cairo, Egypt in 1936. Serving under Colonel Herman Dietrich, Major Gobler, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq and Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht, the pilot was assigned to fly the Ark from Tanis to Berlin, Egypt aboard the jet plane Flying Wing following the Nazis' locating of the relic. However, American archaeologist Indiana Jones and bar owner Marion Ravenwood intervened, and ended up causing the destruction of the Wing and the deaths of the pilot, a mechanic and nine other soldiers.
Transporting the Ark
In 1936, this German pilot was part of the German effort to locate the Ark of the Covenant in the Well of the Souls at the Tanis digsite outside Cairo, Egypt in 1936. Serving under Colonel Herman Dietrich, Major Gobler, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq and Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht. After the Ark was recovered from the Well of the Souls by American archaeologist Indiana Jones and his associate Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir and then captured by the Nazis, the relic was scheduled to be stored on the jet plane Flying Wing with this German pilot assigned to fly the plane out of Tanis, Egypt to Berlin, Germany so that they could deliver the Ark to the Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler.
While the plane was being prepared for the journey, the pilot was in the cockpit when, having escaped Nazi imprisonment at the Well of the Souls, Jones and his companion, bar owner Marion Ravenwood, sneaked onto the airstrip just as Major Gobler and his driver left following an inspection, the Americans planning to take control of the Flying Wing and depart with the Ark. Just as Jones prepared to take the airplane, he was spotted by one of the mechanics working on the plane, forcing him to fight the mechanic behind the oblivious pilot. However, after Jones defeated the mechanic by shoving him headfirst into the plane's wing, his burlier companion appeared and challenged the archaeologist to a match himself, this time with the pilot noticing.
During the ensuing tussle, the pilot tried to intervene with his luger. When Jones bit the mechanic's arm and tried to avoid his rage by hiding under one the wings, the pilot fired off a round but missed, allowing the mechanic to knock Jones to the ground. With a clear shot, the pilot tried to finish off Jones, but the mechanic stepped in his way, unknowingly saving the archaeologist's life. The pilot waited until the mechanic moved away to shoot Jones, but just as he was ready to take the final shot, Ravenwood knocked him unconscious, causing the pilot's body to slump into the Flying Wing's controls and start the engine, setting into motion the sequence of events that would lead to the mechanic's death and later the pilot's own when the plane exploded due to a nearby gas leak caused by the plane's wing.
Behind the scenes
The pilot was portrayed by Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall in Raiders of the Lost Ark as a cameo appearance. Marshall also played a a tourist at the Nang Tao Airport in the film's sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Marshall took on the role of the pilot when the stuntman who was to play the part became ill. Having been asked by director Steven Spielberg to take the part, Marshall thought that the Flying Wing sequence would be easy to film, but ultimately he had to spend about three days sat at the Wing's cockpit in a jumpsuit when it was over 140ºF in arid Tozeur, Tunisia.
In the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Disney World, the pilot actually survives the plane fight, as he leaves the Flying Wing after landing the plane, yelling at the German mechanic before getting a motorcycle ride to the Nazi camp. Marion Ravenwood thus enters the plane unopposed.
The pilot is absent from both LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and its sequel, but is present in the Flying Wing set released by LEGO, along with minifigures of Indiana Jones, the German mechanic and Marion Ravenwood.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark novel (First appearance)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! (Non-canonical appearance)