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Vertibird is a designation for a series of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. These multipurpose tiltrotor aircraft were developed by the United States military[1] and rapidly became a primary gunship and transport aircraft.


Developed by the Department of Defense as early as 2072,[2] the original Vertibird was created as a multipurpose tiltrotor vertical take-off aircraft. While utilized early on in the days before the Great War, Hornwright Industrial got word of its development, and began planning the use of it for their own methods.[3] Following the success of the initial design, the military commenced work on a superior model, hoping to improve on virtually every aspect of the original: Better armor, better weapons, better speed and cargo capacity, everything. When the Great War struck in 2077, the XVB02 Vertibird was still in the prototype phase, scheduled to enter full military service in 2085.[1]


In Fallout 4 there is only one model used by both the pre-War United States Armed Forces and Arthur Maxson's Brotherhood of Steel, a bulkier transport model compared to earlier games, with two additional jet engines behind the main cabin. These Vertibirds utilized on the East Coast have transparent cockpits, sliding doors on the cabin, a 5mm minigun on the lefthand side, dual fixed forward 5mm machineguns on the fuselage nose, folding wings and rotors. The Vertibird also has a docking hook along the top near the tail, that links with the docking hook/arm on the flight deck of the Prydwen. Different from previous models is the model's retractable landing gear, in a different configuration with one along the centerline at the front of the aircraft and the other three in a tricycle layout at the rear of the fuselage.

The Vertibird's VTOL flight mechanics allow it to approach landing zones, transiting into a hovering mode of flight, by tilting its rotors vertically upwards 90 degrees. Vertibirds lack the large armament package seen in the Capital Wasteland. When dropping the Sole Survivor off in an area inhabited with hostiles, a Vertibird transporting the player will sometimes support them by firing on the hostiles with its dual machine guns. Other Vertibirds may also engage hostiles with an NPC operating the minigun.

Vertibirds are easily destroyed by ranged weapons and can be targeted in V.A.T.S. When a Vertibird is airborne and takes enough damage, it starts spinning on its Y axis, similar to how helicopters spin when they lose their tail rotor, before crashing into the ground and exploding, similar to a mini nuke explosion. The Vertibird usually breaks up into four large pieces upon crashing, releasing small amounts of radiation for a short while. However, if the Vertibird takes an immense amount of damage the Vertibird will slowly fall to the ground and pass through it. Marking with a recon scope can show its progress under the terrain.

Although the Brotherhood of Steel operate nearly all functional Vertibirds seen in Fallout 4, the Gunners also possess one functional Vertibird, which can be encountered in the southwestern portion of the map. They at one point possessed at least one more, which crashed into the Mass Bay Medical Center. The Minutemen and the Railroad may also come into possession of a single Vertibird. The Good Fighters have also managed to repair two Vertibirds and make them flightworthy.



In order to travel by Vertibird, the Sole Survivor can throw a Vertibird signal grenade in a suitable location. The aircraft will then attempt to land in what it considers a safe location, as close as possible to the colored smoke signal, however, it may not be possible for it to land in highly congested terrain, in which case a message will appear and the used signal grenade will still be expended.

After a short amount of time, the aircraft will appear in the distance and approach. If the player character is in combat, the Vertibird will also enter combat for 20 to 30 seconds. It will then land nearby, as close to the smoke plume as possible. The Vertibird can then be approached and the option to Ride can be selected, upon which the player character will always board the aircraft by entering the left door and taking up a position at the minigun. The player character can disembark while still on the ground by pressing the same key used for Ride, though the option is hidden, and may re-embark again thereafter. However if the player character is not embarked prior to the expiry of a timer, the Vertibird will leave without them.

Once on board the Vertibird, the Pip-Boy's map tab can be opened and a destination selected (choose Fast Travel). The destination can be changed mid-flight, at any time prior to final descent at the currently selected destination.

It is generally not possible to request (by smoke or by map selection) landings on the roofs of buildings, not even on designated helipads (notable exceptions are smoke landings on the helipads at Cambridge Police Station and Listening Post Bravo). However, in landing to drop off at the destination, the Vertibird will attempt to land as close as possible to the fast travel target, including if this is placed on a roof or similar surface, provided the surface is large enough and a clear glide path exists. If selecting the Land option prior to arrival at the destination, the Vertibird will land in the nearest suitable spot. This may occassionally be an elevated highway or other elevated surface.

In moderately congested terrain, the Vertibird may need to land some distance away, potentially out of sight. A landed Vertibird will always add a quest to the Pip-Boy's Miscellaneous section, which initially is not active. Once activated, the quest marker can be used to locate the Vertibird, and it will be automatically activated for landed Vertibirds in the future.

Traveling over radioactive areas is less dangerous than walking through them. The vertical distance from the surface of the ground (or other radiation source) reduces the radiation effect, meaning that for example, in the Glowing Sea radiation effects will be experienced only while crossing very high places (such as the ridges of the Crater of Atom) or during the take-off ascent or landing descent.

Encountering creatures while on board a vertibird may result in these creatures chasing the vertibird. Burrowing creatures such as Radscorpions and mole rats (which ignore normal limitations on movement speed) may then burst from the ground upon landing, even a considerable distance (several game world cells) from where they were originally encountered.

After dropping off the player character at the destination, the Vertibird may briefly return fire if it is being fired on by hostile NPCs.

In Survival mode, periodic damage from over-encumbrance does not occur while traveling in a Vertibird. Thirst and hunger effects, and periodic damage from disease, occur in the normal way.


Combat on a Vertibird revolves around the usage of the door-mounted minigun. It utilizes a special 5mm round, similar to companion special ammo, which cannot be obtained or retained by the Sole Survivor. In a normal game, the ammo will not deplete.

The weapon functions differently, depending on if the player or a non-player character operates it. Player-operated miniguns profit from perks such as Heavy Gunner and Lone Wanderer, but the Sole Survivor may not utilize V.A.T.S. or other weaponry while on board. Miniguns operated by non-player characters suffer from a much lower base damage, have only half the ammo capacity, and their operators receive a 10% accuracy penalty per 100 range, for targets within 500-1000 range, resulting in a 50% penalty for targets at 1000 range. However, non-player characters may also utilize weapons other than the minigun, including personal weapons and the dual fixed forward 5mm machineguns.

Minigun operated by:
Player Non-player character
Base damage (before bonus) 25 5
Accuracy 43 43
Rate of fire 272 272
Range 514 ?
Range penalty 500-1000 No 10% per 100 range
Max ammo capacity 1000 500
Unlimited ammo in normal game Yes Yes
Can use other weapons No Yes

A hidden perk (crRangedDmgPerk) grants bonus damage for all Vertibird-mounted weapons (typically +5, higher for high level NPC vertibirds - see table below). This increases the base damage of the nose-mounted fuselage guns as well as the minigun, and affects both the Sole Survivor and non-player characters. Note that the bonus damage of this perk is applied additively, not multiplicatively, after any other perks affecting the minigun.

The minigun may be fired when the aircraft is on the ground (after boarding and before take off, but not after landing) as well as while airborne. The aim point crosshair for the minigun is very wide when hip-firing, and disappears when aiming in first person view. In third person view, there is no aimpoint dot. It is only possible to aim down the door gun's barrel "by eye" in first person view.

Vertibirds operated by NPCs are leveled in a similar way to monsters and other hostile non-player characters. Their level range reaches from 20 to 50, with their stats varying for each level range:

Level DR / ER Base HP Damage bonus
20 60 910 5
30 90 1110 5
40 112 1310 10
50 135 1510 15

Vertibirds used by the player for fast travel are the lowest tier types, identical to the level 20 NPC types.



  • During flight, the Vertibird's wings will change position as it turns or changes altitude.
  • Brotherhood Vertibirds have faded markings on the upper wing surfaces that might be the Brotherhood symbol, but otherwise lack any Brotherhood insignia.
  • Brotherhood of Steel personnel, operating on randomly encountered Vertibirds, have a perk that reduces explosion damage they suffer by 50%.
  • A much weaker variant of the Vertibird is encountered during War Never Changes. It has only 50 DR, 0 ER and 510 base HP. However, it is not normally possible to interact with it.
  • The Vertibird's door-mounted minigun is always on the lefthand side, despite a floor rail mechanism to slide it from one door to the other being depicted in the model.
  • Traveling by Vertibird can add fast-travel locations and points of interest while in the air, as well as updating settlement workshop data, if passing sufficiently close to a settlement (including vertical distance).
  • While the player character may not utilize VATS or weapons other than the minigun, they can still access the Pip-Boy screens and use inventory-equip shortcuts.
  • Wearing power armor while traveling aboard a Vertibird will still drain the armor's fusion core.
  • Vertibirds can fold up their wing and rotor assemblies when not in use to reduce the space they take up, as can be seen on the Prydwen.
  • The Vertibirds escorting the Prydwen upon its arrival are unmanned.
  • The Vertibirds used by the player character to ascend to, and descend from, the Prydwen do not have a door gun, or any flight animation.
  • Temporary followers from BoS radiant quests, such as scribes and squires, won't use the vertibird.
  • Other than during scripted missions such as Show No Mercy, and between boarding and takeoff, the Vertibird that the player is travelling can not be shot down, or harmed at all. It is also vulnerable to attack if it takes off due to expiry of the timer, after the player character has boarded at least once, but then disembarked prior to takeoff.
  • There is specific dialogue to warn when a vertibird that the player character is travelling in falls below 25% Health, though that is only relevant during scripted missions when the Vertibird is vulnerable to attack.
  • If the player character survives the explosion of a Vertibird they are aboard (travelling or landed), any companion also aboard the Vertibird will despawn, but will rejoin the player character at the next world cell transition (eg Fast Travel).
  • It is possible to use a travel Vertibird as a bomb, by placing a signal grenade near the intended target (the Vertibird will land as close as possible to the signal grenade), boarding then exiting the Vertibird (which makes it targetable and damageable), then doing damage to the Vertibird until it explodes. The Vertibird will immediately be marked hostile (potentially triggering mines) but will not move or attack. Provided emough damage is done prior to the expiry of the Vertibird's departure timer, it will explode on the ground. The damage and area of effect is similar to a mini nuke explosion.

Behind the scenes

In The Art of Fallout 4, the Fallout 4 Vertibird is described as the "result of a goldfish meeting a Hind helicopter."[4]


  • PCPC The wreckage from a destroyed Vertibird may continue to move long after it has crashed, sending (harmless) fuselage spinning over and over around the crash-site.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox OneXbox One Boarding a signaled Vertibird that has landed in Boston Common Pond will cause you to remain irradiated, even after landing.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox OneXbox One Idling long enough inside the Vertibird to where the camera pans around the character in third person, then moving the camera after landing, may cause the player to become stuck inside, and the Vertibird will take off with the player unable to move. After a few moments, the player will fall out of the Vertibird.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox OneXbox One When a Vertibird runs out of health, it is supposed to spin wildly out of the air and crash into the ground. However, sometimes a glitch occurs where it gets staggered while this is happening, causing the Vertibird to become 'zombified'. It will hover in the air and slowly drift towards the ground, sometimes even sinking into it rather than exploding like it should. [verified]
  • PCPC The Vertibird can suffer from Wounding Legendary weapon effect (bleed). With enough sequential hits and using enough powerful weapon, like Pickman's Blade, the Vertibird's life can be seen diminishing from bleeding through V.A.T.S. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 The Vertibird can suffer from having the minigun disappear after the player has taken off, essentially making it defenseless for the remainder of the journey. there seems to be no set trigger. moving or not moving, panning the camera or not. zoomed in or out. [verified]
    • Playstation 4Playstation 4 In the event of the minigun disappearing, it is then possible to select other weapons from inventory and - for automatic weapons and melee weapons only - attack with them. [verification needed]
  • Playstation 4Playstation 4 The Vertibird and player character can glitch through the Prydwen while maneuvering to dock with the player character on board. [verification overdue]
  • Playstation 4Playstation 4 The Vertibird and player character can glitch under the ground or under water while maneuvering to land with the player character on board. This is rectified by the time the player character is ready to disembark the aircraft. It seems to be more common at the waters edge, for example outside The Castle or at Nordhagen Beach. [verification overdue]
  • Playstation 4Playstation 4 While aboard a Vertibird, energy damage (DMG) of personal weapons (excluding mines and throwables, and radiation damage) is reported by the Pip-Boy as 6x times normal. It is unclear whether the weapons would actually do this damage, since they cannot normally be used when aboard a Vertibird. [verification needed]
    • The additional reported damage is driven by the crRangedDmg actor value (AV) of the Vertibird, which is the input to the crRangedDmg perk. In the case of energy damage, the AV is used as a multiplier rather than being used additively. In turn this is because damage other than standard (ballistic) damage uses a different entry in the perk, Mod Typed Weapon Attack Damage as opposed to Mod Weapon Attack Damage. [verification needed]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Museum of Technology Vertibird placard: "This is a scaled model of a prototype military transport vehicle being developed by the U.S. Military. The XVB02 'Vertibird' is a VTOL ('Vertical Take Off and Landing') craft with an extremely durable armored fuselage and can be armored with a variety of offensive weapons and defensive countermeasures. This is the most advanced aircraft of its kind ever developed, and the military hopes to press them into service by 2085."
  2. Shanghai Sally: Chapter Closed
  3. Hornwright Industrial Headquarters terminal entries; CEO's terminal, Personal Entry 02
  4. The Art of Fallout 4, p. 270: "VERTIBIRD
    This design is the result of a goldfish meeting a Hind helicopter. It needed to be bulky to have enough room for power armor units to maneuver inside its cabin."