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The HVY Skylift is a very large heavy-lift helicopter featured in The Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online.


The Ballad of Gay Tony

The Skylift is strongly 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. 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 helicopter is only available in a blue color and white markings.

The Skylift is one of the largest helicopters available in the game, as its general appearance is much longer, taller and wider than any of the traditional helicopters (on par with that of the Leviathan, a cargo helicopter from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas). Its rotor blades have a black-white pattern with the same yellow color at the end of each blade.

Grand Theft Auto V

The Skylift returns in Grand Theft Auto V bearing its appearance from TBoGT, albeit appearing in a grey color instead of blue, as well as without markings.

Current Design Gallery

Version History Gallery


The Ballad of Gay Tony

Due to its enormous weight, the Skylift is easily the slowest helicopter in the game. Its handling is stiffer and has low take-off and forward speed. The helicopter takes a lot of time in gaining altitude and easily loses altitude when descending too fast due to its mass, as well as having a slow movement when maneuvering the helicopter (by only yawing to a side takes roughly 7-8 seconds). Landing the helicopter in a busy street or an area surrounded by buildings is a challenge, due to the helicopter's sheer size and the rather large main rotor, which easily collides with street lamps and nearby buildings.

An advantage of the helicopter is that it can take a few RPGs or Buzzard rockets before catching fire. Similarly, the Skylift is too heavy to lose control when a vehicle touches its blades, usually resulting in it being pushed away with ease, while the Skylift remains steady (except if the vehicle is another Skylift).

The Skylift is powered by two large turboshaft engines, powering the six-blade main rotor. The tail carries the large transmission shaft that is connected to the tail rotor. The Skylift's engine sound is very similar to that of the Annihilator, only heavier due to the large blades.

TBoGT Overview

Aircraft Statistics - Grand Theft Auto IV
Take-Off Speed
(0-60 knots in Seconds)
Top Speed
(mph / kmh / knots)
Engine Type Engine Location Mass
(kg / lbs)
N/A 99 / 160 / 86 N/A N/A 15000 / 33069
Website Statements
N/A N/A Twin turboshaft engines, 6-bladed rotor Middle Cannot be observed

Grand Theft Auto V

The Skylift retains its properties as in TBoGT. However, due to the game's physics, the helicopter's handling feels slightly responsive and lighter than in its previous appearance, since its mass has been decreased. As with every aircraft in Grand Theft Auto V, the helicopter may tend to become fragile after a few shots or crashes, leaving it with engine damage that becomes worse over time.

The engine sound is also the same with many transport helicopters such as the Maverick, the Police Maverick and the Swift, only with a bit faster pace due to the six-blade design.

GTA V Overview

Aircraft Statistics - Grand Theft Auto V
Take-Off Speed
(0-60 knots in Seconds)
Top Speed
(mph / kmh / knots)
Vertical Climb/ Descent Rate
Engine Type Engine Location Mass
(kg / lbs)
Fuel Tank
Size (litres)
N/A 99 / 160 / 86 N/A N/A N/A 10000 / 22046 100
Website Statements [?]
Observed / First-Person Airspeed Indicator (Enhanced version)
N/A N/A N/A Twin turboshaft engines, 6-bladed rotor Middle Cannot be observed Cannot be observed
Rockstar Games Social Club

Image Gallery

The Ballad of Gay Tony

Grand Theft Auto V


Prominent Appearances in Missions

The Ballad of Gay Tony

Grand Theft Auto V

  • The Skylift makes an appearance in the mission Sidetracked, where Trevor or 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.
  • The Skylift also appears in the Bank Bailout base jump where it transports a motorcycle to the top of the Maze Bank Tower 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.

Grand Theft Auto Online

  • The Skylift may appear in an Air Freight Cargo sell missions, used to carry a container to the drop-off point.

Notable Owners


The Skylift is one of the rarest vehicles and it is usually difficult to obtain.

The Ballad of Gay Tony

The helicopter can 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. If the player is quick enough, the Skylift would have the subway wagon still attached to it.

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').

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.

Grand Theft Auto V

  • Featured during preparation for the final heist (where the player picks up a train carriage to use to escape the cops) only if the player has chosen the Obvious approach. After completion of the mission, the magnet cannot be used.
  • It appears briefly in the Bank Bailout parachute jump, however, it is impossible to obtain during this mission.

Unfortunately, an update makes the "Sidetracked" method useless, therefore, making the helicopter unable to save - 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



Skylift body
  • In the Beta, the Skylift has much resemblance to the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, evidenced by the flat body depicted in the TBoGT trailer and a promotional screenshot. This was likely changed onto a more original concept, with the changes mentioned above.
  • The Skylift's name is also a parody of Skycrane, the real life counterpart name.
  • 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.

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, suggesting he stole it 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 can be broken as soon as it grabs the train.
  • The Beta model features "LC2-K" written near the cab, while the actual model only features "LC2".
  • Although there are no visible decals on the Skylift, it is manufactured by HVY, as it can be heard on the police radio.
  • There are actually two models for the Skylift present during For the Man Who Has Everything, one which has the Subway 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.
  • One of the cinematic cameras seen in the Skylift is a first person view from the helicopter (similar to a standard camera view from a vehicle), but it will be slighty angled to the right.

Grand Theft Auto V

  • 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.
  • There is 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 for some reason.
  • The Skylift only appears in a grey color, similar to the TBoGT Beta model, which was grey.
    • However, said color is part of the mission and not part of a random color selection, as the files reveals that the Skylift has five different color combinations.
  • 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 character's head will clip through it, and also if jumping through it. Also, shooting the door will not close it.
    • It is possible to close the door by jumping and running into the door, although the player needs to jump on a specific part of the door to close it.[vague]
  • The Skylift uses the same textures as the Cuban 800, albeit with the omission of the "CUBAN 800" stencil.

See Also