So the rules for the Pilot are as follows:
Fly (Helm Phase)
You move your starship up to its speed and can make any turns allowed by its maneuverability. This doesn’t require a skill check.
Maneuver (Helm Phase)
You move your starship up to its speed. You can also attempt a Piloting check (DC = 15 + 2 × your starship’s tier) to reduce your starship’s distance between turns by 1 (to a minimum of 0).
So how are these different exactly? The fly seems to allow you to move any amount up to the ship's speed. While the Maneuver ability ... allows you to do the exact same thing? I don't see the difference here...
Both allow you to move your ship up to it's movement, only one requires a check and another doesn't. Eh?
Maneuver allows you to take tighter turns. Starships have turning arcs and this check allows you to reduce them.
Ah, so silly. The classic problem of the word "turns" meaning so many things. I read that thought "turns" was between player turns, not "turns" of the ship. Thanks.
To ask this question another way:
Why would anyone use the "Fly" action instead of the "Maneuver" action. There doesn't seem to be a penalty for a missed DC check. So if you fail it just reverts back to being a normal "Fly" action.
If the check is made up front, there should be a penalty of some sort. It would actually make more sense to make the check at each point you want to turn.