How to fly a helicopter in GTA 5 on PC

Helicopters have a specific control scheme in GTA 5 on PC (Image via Reddit/Flame_Vixen)
Helicopters have a specific control scheme in GTA 5 on PC (Image via Reddit/Flame_Vixen)

Flying a helicopter in GTA 5 on a PC is simple once the player has mastered the control scheme.

When it comes to vehicles in GTA 5, aircraft tend to be the most challenging to control. Unfortunately, poor handling of these types of aircraft will result in a swift and untimely death. Some missions also require the player to use a helicopter, so it's a beneficial skill to learn.

Note: This article will go over the default control scheme for flying a helicopter on a PC, including keyboard controls as well as a guide for flying with a mouse.

Flying a helicopter can be quite difficult in GTA 5


GTA 5 is one of the most forgiving games in the franchise when it comes to controlling land vehicles. The driving controls in the game strikes a balance between realism and fun, feeling simple to pick up but a little difficult to master. This applies to flying as well, which is trickier than driving a car but is very satisfying once mastered.

This, however, does not appear to apply to helicopters. Although flying a helicopter has always been challenging in the GTA series, doing so in GTA 5 can be quite frustrating. GTA 5 players who struggle to use a helicopter on PC should thoroughly go through the following instructions:

GTA 5 Controls to fly a helicopter simplified for PC

These are the default controls for flying a helicopter in the game:

  • F = Enter/exit the helicopter
  • W = Ascend
  • S = Descend
  • A = Yaw to the left (turn left)
  • D = Yaw to the right (turn right)
  • Num 4 = Roll to the left (moves the helicopter to the left)
  • Num 5 = Pitch backward (moves the helicopter backward)
  • Num 6 = Roll to the right (moves the helicopter to the right)
  • Num 8 = Pitch forward (moves the helicopter forward)

Some helicopters have additional controls:

  • Left-click = Shoot mounted weaponry
  • E = Use the grappling hook/magnet

The mouse can also be used to control a helicopter in the game. The player's mouse movements will move the helicopter in the same direction (assuming the relevant setting is enabled).

Step-by-step guide to fly a helicopter

All helicopters operate similarly in GTA 5 (Image via Reddit/Flame_Vixen)
All helicopters operate similarly in GTA 5 (Image via Reddit/Flame_Vixen)

Here are the step-by-step guide on flying helicopters:

  • First, get in the helicopter you wish to fly (by pressing 'F') and press 'W' to start ascending. This key does not move the helicopter forward as one might assume; it simply elevates the helicopter.
  • To lower the aircraft, press 'S.' Like with the 'W' key, pressing 'S' will not make the helicopter go backward; instead, it will descend.
  • To move the aircraft forward or backward, press 'Num 8' or 'Num 5,' respectively.
  • To turn the aircraft left, press 'A.' To turn it toward its right, press 'D.' If you wish to strafe the helicopter to its left or right, you should press 'Num 4' or 'Num 6,' respectively.

That's it for the general movement of helicopters. This information applies to the default control scheme using just the keyboard, as using a mouse alongside it is a bit different.

Using the mouse to fly a helicopter


If the player prefers to use a mouse whilst operating a helicopter, then there will be some noticeable differences. For starters, one can see their mouse movements near the minimap radar.

Pressing the mouse upwards and away from the center of the radar will propel the helicopter forward. If the player does the same, but to the right, the helicopter will move towards the right. Players should still be able to use their keys as they fly a helicopter.

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Edited by Siddharth Satish
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