Over the last 2 nights I have been performing solo manoeuvres within the Calypso training zone, gaining some skills and practice. Each session I travel into the zone and then collect a train of Cosmic Horrors, these attack the ship and when about 10% of integrity is left I leave the pilot seat and head down to engineering where I perform repairs, I then return to the cockpit and continue taking damage. At the end of the session I allow the Cosmic Horrors to destroy the ship as it is a quicker way to return to Crystal Palace, repairs are done at the beginning of the next session. I am gaining both pilot related skills and repair skills but progress is slow.
I have noticed that after the ship was destroyed the first time all the guns became accessible and have remained so, an additional feature to the gun bug perhaps!