Hmm. I just want to clarify Mike's reading of the rules, since I'm not sure I understand him correctly.
The rule at issue: "If all vipers are already in play and a player wishes to activate the "Hangar Deck" location, he may choose to move a viper from any space area to the "Reserves" so that he may pilot it." [Rulebook, p. 28]
All those "may"s suggest that this rule is permissive: It's an extra something a player may do, as opposed to a requirement that a player must do. In other words, the rule is not saying: "You must first move a viper into the Reserves in order to pilot one." Instead, it's saying: "If there aren't any vipers left in the "Reserves," we'll let you grab an unmanned viper so you can always join the fight."
I consider this a completely free action, an extra ability to be used in these narrow circumstances. Is this correct? My only concern with Mike's response is his use of the word "activate:" "So basically, you activate the Viper outside..." Do you mean to say that the unmanned viper must be activated independently (by someone in Command, perhaps)? Or are we all on the same page?