The helicopter shares the same appearance in both games, based on the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane/Aircrane, but with the cockpit bent down and the landing gears extended. The helicopter is unique as it has a large magnet under the rotor that allow it to lift large vehicles such as train cars, as seen in both TBoGT and GTA V; however, this feature is, much like the Leviathan in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, mission-exclusive and may not be used in normal gameplay, unless specific mods are used.
The Skylift appears to be the biggest helicopter in the whole series (possibly on par with the Leviathan), being bigger than the Cargobob.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
The Skylift is first seen in the mission Caught with your Pants Down, where it is being used to transport an APC across Algonquin, in which Luis Fernando Lopez must shoot the chains holding it steady to send the APC crashing to earth in order to steal it for Yusuf Amir. It is also seen in the mission For the Man Who Has Everything, where Yusuf flies one in order to hijack a train car from the subway system.
Even though the Skylift is addressed as unobtainable, the helicopter can still be obtained with a minor exploit involving chasing Yusuf Amir and retrieving the Skylift after the mission For the Man Who Has Everything. The easiest method to use for this involves spawning a Buzzard as soon as he says "have fun with it", chasing the Skylift, and shooting it down over a large area, where it can be stolen. A video illustrating this method can be seen here.
When the Skylift is obtained, it can be saved at a safehouse as long as it has a lot of space (at least two wheels in the yellow chalked spot, (the best one being the Middle Park East Safehouse). The magnet doesn't work, simply because it isn't intended to be obtainable, so there is no animation for it working (except during 'For the Man Who Has Everything'). This vehicle can be spawned and lift up other vehicles using Trainers, but the vehicle will be unsolid.
The Skylift returns in GTA V bearing its appearance from TBoGT, albeit only appearing in a grey livery instead of blue, and bearing different markings. It makes an appearance in the mission Sidetracked, where Trevor/Michael uses it to pick up train carriages to use in the obvious approach of The Big Score. The electromagnet mounted on it, unlike in TBoGT, can be used by pressing right on the D-Pad, with behavior similar to the hook on the Cargobob. After completion of the mission, the magnet cannot be used further, however the helicopter can be saved at any helipad and kept afterwards.
Unfortunately, an update makes this method useless, therefore, making the helicopter unable to save (likely "banned" by Rockstar for being meant unobtainable) - If a player desires to try the method, they must uninstall all updates and DLCs. It can be done at any time (i.e. just before doing this mission) and, once is completed and stored, the player can reinstall the updates and the Skylift is still here, being permanently available for use.
NOTE: The helicopter must be stored as Michael, since Trevor's helipad will flip the Skylift due to a glitch
The Skylift also appears in the Maze Bank Tower base jump where it transports a motorcycle to the top for the player to ride on for the jump. It is unobtainable by normal means, such as shooting the pilot out of the helicopter, as weapons are disabled for the jump.
This helicopter is unavailable in GTA Online, however a glitch will make the way to fly the Skylift in GTA Online, spawning a Marquis in water with deathmatch creator, press the edit button and the Marquis will turn into a Skylift, however this glitch has been patched. A video can be seen here.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
- Featured during preparation for the final heist (where you pick up a train carriage to use to escape the cops) only if the player has chosen the Obvious approach. Obtaining it may not always work, though.
- It appears briefly in the Bank Bailout parachute jump, however, it is impossible to get it.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
- The Skylift was primarily made with a flat body, but was changed due to being more similar to its real life counterpart, the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane.
- The Skylift's name is also a parody of its real life counterpart name, the Skycrane.
- Due to its enormous weight, it's easily the slowest helicopter in the game.
- The Skylift actually has a third seat, which is facing backwards, and is located at the rear of the cockpit. However this seat cannot be used by anyone. Also, a small set of stairs can be seen, along with an unusable rear door.
- Similar with other unique vehicles in the series in terms of details, the Skylift features a well detailed rotor hub, complete with a red main rotor.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
- Luis calls it an aircrane while flying to the Skylift holding the APC during Caught with your Pants Down.
- The logo "Liberty Sky-Lift" might be a parody of "Erickson Air-Crane", the manufacturer and main operator of the S-64, so "Liberty Sky-Lift" might be the operator of the Skylift.
- Yusuf states when he first saw the Skylift that he wanted it. It's possible he did steal this Skylift for when Luis steals the Subway Cart during For The Man Who Has Everything.
- In For the Man Who Has Everything, the Skylift's windows are broken as soon as it grabs the train.
- Beta model features "LC2-K" written near the cab. Actual model only features "LC2".
- Although there are no stickers on the Skylift, it is manufactured by HVY, as can be heard on the police radio.
- It can take a few RPG or Buzzard rockets before catching fire.
- There are actually two models for the Skylift present during For the Man Who Has Everything, one which has the train car held beneath it, and one without it. The model with the train car can be obtained; however this is very difficult, and if the camera shifts away from the Skylift, the car will disappear. Even if obtained, the train car is not solid, and will disappear if saved.
- Due to a 2012 patch by Rockstar, the Skylift can no longer be obtainable in the mission For the Man Who Has Everything on the PS3 version of the game, the only way to get the helicopter on the PS3 is in the mission Caught with your Pants Down.
- In Sidetracked, when attaching the flat car, a magnet extension appears from nowhere. The extension can be kept on the helicopter, but cannot be stored.
- In GTA V, there's a strange glitch that if the player switches characters and then switches back, the Skylift will spawn floating mid-air, when no-one is piloting it.
- The Skylift's tires cannot be popped due to them being very small.
- The Skylift in GTA V only appears in a grey color, similar to the TBoGT Beta model, which was grey.
- Due to the height of the cockpit, the protagonist will not close the door when exiting it. The door itself is not solid and when walking below it, the player's head will clip through it, and also if jumping through it. Also, shooting it will not close it. It is possible to close the door, but requires an exact jumping height and exact aiming.
- It is possible that in the Beta, the Skylift wasn't an exclusive vehicle, due to being listed in the BradyGames guide book (like the Annihilator, which is only available in Online). This implies that will spawn either in Online or in Story Mode.
- The blades of the Skylift are not solid, even when the blades are spinning.
- Leviathan, a heavy helicopter used as a sky crane during a mission in GTA San Andreas.
- Cargobob, a heavy helicopter capable of lifting vehicles in GTA V.