Transport (left) and gunship (right) Vertibird
When the Great War struck in 2077, the Vertibird was still in prototype phase, scheduled to enter military service in 2085. It is possible that certain prototype models were used in the latter stages of the Anchorage Reclamation. At least two distinct versions of the Vertibird were created: a transport design, with a large glass canopy, six non-rectable landing struts, a spacious cargo bay and seven bladed rotors for extra lift, and a gunship, with a heavily armored hull, four rotor blades, four tetractable landing struts and better armament.
Vertibirds of both types have appeared in the hands of the Enclave after the War, indicating the development cycle reached a stage allowing to reliably produce the aircraft. These were used extensively in field operations on the West Coast, which include trading with the Salvatore family of New Reno, capturing of test subjects for the FEV Curling-13 research programme from Arroyo and Vault 13 and more. Around 2242, the Chosen One stole the Vertibird Plans from the Navarro base, making it possible that the Vertibird plans ended up in the hands of various factions of the wasteland. The destruction of the oil rig later that year has likely destroyed a large number of aircraft in Enclave's service. When the Navarro military base was later conquered by the NCR, Vertibirds stationed at the base were put into service in the Republic's armed forces.
In 2277, Enclave forces that relocated to the Capital Wasteland deployed a large fleet of Vertibirds to support their ground operations in the region. These gunships were used in a decidedly military capacity. When the Enclave suffered a defeat at the hands of the Lone Wanderer, supported by the Lyons' Brotherhood of Steel, a large number of these aircraft were destroyed, both during the attack on Project Purity and the subsequent conquest of Adams Air Force Base.
The Vertibird has a distinctive design, resembling a large dragonfly. It is a double rotor assembly, with one proprotor, engine and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. For takeoff and landing, it typically operates as a helicopter with the nacelles vertical and rotors horizontal. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90° in several seconds for horizontal flight, converting the Vertibird to a more fuel efficient, higher speed turboprop aircraft. The Vertibird has excellent range (at least 175 miles), but requires regular refueling (the fuel source is not specified).
The Vertibird has a standard, analog cockpit designed for two pilots in a side-by-side seating configuration, with analog instruments, gauges and flight controls arranged around them. In transport variants, the cockpit is made glass, providing excellent visibility. The gunship variant opts for a reinforced, armored cockpit with slits and external cameras for flight. The crew consists of two pilots (although it can be reliably flown by a single pilot). In transport Vertibirds, a Mr Handy unit is typically flown with the VTOL, for loading and unloading cargo.
The main fuselage is armored and extremely durable, with a deceptively bulky appearance. The interior of the Vertibird is cramped: the cockpit transitions directly into the entryway and then into the troop section, located on an elevated platform in the middle of the craft, with six seats. The Vertibird can haul cargo or more personnel inside, with the use of railings located inside the craft. Transport variants instead use a cargo bay.
Weapon hardpoints are located in the front, near the cockpit. The Vertibird can be armed with a variety of weapons and defensive countermeasures, with the most common loadout including Gatling lasers, missile racks, and a mini nuke bed. In addition to its cargo hold, the Vertibird has a winch that can be used to haul large volumes of equipment or a large cage carrying a deathclaw.
The Vertibird design is efficient, but not without its disadvantages. Rotor failures effectively turn it into a plummeting coffin; such was the case with Daisy Whitman's Vertibird, which crashed near Klamath around 2241.
- Enclave - principal operator of the Vertibird, with access to dozens of units. These are extensively for field operations, including the capture of specimens from Arroyo and Vault 13 for experiments and trading with New Reno for chemicals on the West Coast, as well as troop insertion and fire support missions on the East Coast.
- New California Republic - as of 2281, several units captured from the Enclave on the West Coast are used by the NCR. One has been converted to transport the President of the New California Republic, callsign Bear Force One.
- Lyons' Brotherhood of Steel - has access to at least one captured Vertibird, converted for Brotherhood use.
- Enclave Remnants - the Devil's Brigade still retains their single Vertibird, secured in a refueling station
 Gameplay attributes
In Fallout 3, Vertibirds are mostly support craft, but will attack in a few circumstances. They are a significant threat for a wide array of reasons, but the biggest is that they pack an enormous amount of firepower on an extremely well-armored chassis. Their weapons include a nose-mounted Gatling laser, a pair of missile launchers, and a bomb rack for mini nukes. All of these weapons are threatening; the missile launcher deals heavy damage and can knock an opponent back. The Gatling laser can deal a lot of damage from afar, and the mini nukes, used in airstrikes against heavy targets and emplaced defenses, can kill a hostile instantaneously.
Fortunately, the Vertibirds the player character faces are usually set for a specific assignment - either dropping Enclave troops off, or flying racetrack circles and providing fire support. Vertibirds on insertion/extraction duty will not attack, but the Enclave soldiers they drop off will. Vertibirds tasked with fire support are the biggest threat. These Vertibirds often perform bombing runs, and make several passes to eliminate any resistance in the area. Vertibirds on these support flights may open fire with their missile launchers or Gatling lasers, though they do not use them as much as their mini nukes.
Vertibirds can be destroyed with heavy ordinance, though they cannot be targeted in V.A.T.S. The resulting explosion will scatter a great deal of debris, which will be visible to the player. A Vertibird explosion is significantly more powerful than that of a car or truck and will kill or seriously injure anyone nearby, including disembarking Enclave troops.
The largest concentration of Vertibirds the player will have to face is in the quest Take it Back!, and these will be automatically destroyed by Liberty Prime as it advances. The player character can, however, destroy them as they are hovering while engaging Liberty Prime.
Vertibirds can sometimes be encountered on the ground. One can be found on the steps of the Capitol Building in the Capital Wasteland. In these cases, upon finding one of the parked Vertibirds, there should be a cage containing a deathclaw near. When engaged in combat, the Enclave officer nearest to the cage will often let loose the deathclaw.
 Explosion data
|ITEM||HEALTH||ID||NAME||FORCE||DAMAGE||RADIUS||IS RADIUS||RAD LEVEL||RADIUS||DSPTN TIME||KNOCK DOWN|
- If a vertibird is destroyed immediately after the Enclave troops have disembarked, the explosion will kill them. If they are still aboard, they—along with any loot—will be destroyed. However, the passengers appear about 1.5 seconds after the vehicle lands, as it is throttling up to take off; if the ship is destroyed during this narrow window, the troops may remain on the ground, completely unscathed.
 Behind the scenes
 Cut content
When destroyed, the wreckage uses a slightly different texture set, including rotor markings and the emblem of what is likely to be the Enclave Air Force.
 Design background
- The name "Vertibird" is the trademark for a toy helicopter playset popular in the 70's.
- Many design aspects of this aircraft appear to be inspired by the hovering insect, the dragonfly. For example, the six legged landing gear and twin bulges in the forward fuselage.
- The technical concept of wingtip-mounted, tilting engine-pods with rotors featuring a diameter between a classic aircraft propeller and a helicopter's main rotor has been used in several real-world-designs like the experimental aircrafts Bell XV-3, Curtiss-Wright X-19 or Bell X-22.
- A prominent tilt-rotor aircraft in current military service is the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey which is operated by both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force.
 Vertibird Designation
The designation "VB-02" would, in real-world US military usage, indicate that it is a bomber aircraft. As the Vertibird's primary roles appear to be transport and ground attack, the "VB" prefix seems to be simply intended as an abbreviation of Vertibird. In post-1962 US Department of Defense nomenclature, the transport variation's designation would probably be CV-2, meaning "cargo/transport VTOL, design number 2", with the gunship variant being "AV-2", meaning "Attack Purposed VTOL, design number 2".
 Fallout 2
Enclave soldiers in front of a Vertibird.
 Fallout 3
Brotherhood of Steel Vertibird landing on mobile base crawler.
A gunship Vertibird outside Arlington Library.
A Winterized Vertibird landing in Operation Anchorage.
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Fallout 3 Vertibird concept art.
 Fallout: New Vegas
Enclave Vertibird in Remnants Bunker.
 Appearances in games
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 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."
- ↑ Museum of Technology exhibit
- ↑ A winterized Vertibird can be seen during Operation Anchorage, dropping off troops
- ↑ Distance between the Oil Rig and Navarro
- ↑ Daisy Whitman flies it solo during the Battle of Hoover Dam
- ↑ Fallout 2: The crashed Vertibird near Klamath and the secret transaction between the Salvatores and the Enclave feature a Mr Handy as part of the crew.
- ↑ Supplied image.
- ↑ NCHELI.MSG: "The laser weapons are in our cargo bay."