Learn How to Fly Minicopters and Dominate the Skies
The RUST Minicopter was introduced in the Minicopter Update and brought a wealth of convenience, risk, and excitement to the game. Learning how to fly minicopters safely requires considerable patience and practice. However, this investment will pay off in spades as being a capable mincopter pilot will elevate your RUST gameplay to new heights. The minicopter’s controls are easy to learn and difficult to master, but merely knowing the minicopter flight basics will put you miles ahead of most other players.
After learning the basics of how to fly minicopters in RUST, you’ll be able to:
- Traverse the map quickly.
- Cover distance safely
- Get a birds-eye of the map
- Scout player bases
- Bypass player’s compound walls
- Complete monuments faster
- Control the sky during raids
Getting from one end of the island to the other quickly and safely is a huge boon to players, especially those with more than one operational base. To achieve this, one only needs to learn the basic controls of minicopters. But once you move on to the advanced flight tactics and maneuvers, RUST will change as a game. With a new perspective and utility, you’ll find yourself more capable of taking part in the RUST end-game, even if you aren’t the world’s greatest PvP’er.
The minicopter’s basic controls
- W to engage your rotors
D, to drive
Wto take off
Sto disengage rotors
Wfor lift and accelerate rotors
Sto descend and slow rotors
- Mouse controls pitch and roll
Mouse Backwardsto pitch
Mouse Rightto roll
Dto turn left and right
Dto turn without roll
Mouseto look around
SPACEto leave your seat
Xto swap the seat
The basic controls are straight-forward, and knowing the buttons to press will get you in the sky. Understanding the essential steps to master flying a minicopter in RUST will take a bit more learning.
There are 7 essential factors to learning to master minicopters in RUST:
- Finding and Repairing a Minicopter
- Fueling and Refueling a Minicopter
- How to Drive a Minicopter on the Ground
- How to Take Off with a Minicopter
- Minicopter Basic Flight Control
- Landing Your Minicopter Safely
- Minicopter Pilots Need to Know
Finding and repairing a minicopter
Not long ago, Minicopters could be found spawning across the map along roadsides, however, with the Module Vehicle Update released on July 2nd, 2020, this is no longer the case. Minicopters are now acquired through two primary methods:
- Purchase from the Air Wolf Shop
The Air Wolf Shop is located inside of the Bandit Camp monument and it is here that players are able to purchase minicopters from an NPC vendor in exchange for 750 scrap. Once purchased, a minicopter will appear on the nearby landing pad, allowing a small window of time for the player who purchased it to strap in before it opens up to other players.
Minicopters will spawn in with a total of 1000 health and will begin to decay the moment they appear in-game. It takes about 8 hours for a minicopter left outside to decay completely. When a minicopter runs out of health, it will explode, lighting the surrounding area on fire. The explosion damage is capable of killing even well-geared players.
If you see a flaming minicopter, either give it some distance or get in there and repair it quickly. You can fix minicopters using metal fragments and a hammer. Each hit of the hammer will repair the minicopter of 52 health.
If you’re into hijacking minicopters, it’s essential to ensure your new minicopter’s health is relatively high as they can take damage from collisions, gunfire, SAMs, melee weapons, misc tools, explosives, and decay in general.
Fueling and refueling a minicopter
While the Air Wolf Shop minicopters will come with 100 low-grade fuel, minicopters you discover abandoned or are otherwise hijacking, are likely to be empty. The easiest way to get low-grade fuel is to craft it by combining cloth and animal fat, both of which can be found on any hunted animal. The fastest way to produce it in bulk is to build an oil refinery at your base or borrow the one found at the Outpost monument and refine crude oil. Otherwise, you can purchase low-grade from the Outpost monument vending machines, find it in red oil-barrels along with crude oil, and at very low odds, you can discover low-grade in individual crates.
To refuel your minicopter, look at the backend of the vehicle. Behind the pilot’s seat, there is a bright red tank, conveniently labeled ‘fuel.’ Press
E on the fuel tank, and you will see the space you can input and remove fuel. However, it’s important to note that if there isn’t an active pilot, another player can open the fuel tank and steal its contents.
The fuel tank can hold up to 500 low-grade. With the engine consuming 30 low-grade fuel every 60 seconds, a full tank will get you 16 and a half minutes in the air.
If you are the pilot, the tank will be locked, and only you can access it. Look back at the tank by holding
L-Alt and moving your mouse. Holding
Alt will move your head without moving the minicopter controls. Looking back at the tank and pressing
E will let you refuel or empty the tank without giving other players the chance to swipe it. As you improve as a pilot, you will eventually be capable of refueling mid-flight.
How to drive a minicopter on the ground
A minicopter left in the open will decay in 8 hours, whereas keeping the minicopter in a player-built garage, that extends to 36 hours, gives you plenty of time to log back on and repair it. The only door a minicopter can pass through safely is a garage door. As such, you will need to know how to control your minicopter on foundations, flooring, or at ground level.
Once seated and fueled, hold
W until the rotors engage and release
W before taking off. Hold
L-ctrl, and you can now use
W to drive forward,
A to turn left,
D to turn right, and
S to reverse slowly.
It’s important to drive very carefully as it’s easy to get a minicopter stuck in walls and even the ground. So do whatever you can to make its storage simple. Do not place other base components in the space you plan to keep the minicopter. And since the Modular Vehicle Update, small foundation ramps can be built, useful if your minicopter garage is ground level.
How to take off with a minicopter
Once you’re ready to take off, hold
W, and the minicopter will begin to rise. It’s better to take off from a flat surface whenever possible. If it’s impossible to take off from a foundation or flat ground, use the mouse to straighten your view so that you are level with the horizon, and not pitching or rolling.
If you took off from a flat surface, then traveling straight up with
W is very easy, so it can be worth the time to find the most balanced area possible. If you can’t find a flat space, it’s critical to straighten your view as you lift off with
W. Using the mouse, pitch up or down until the horizon line is center height on your screen. Also, use the roll to balance the horizon from left to the right edge of the screen as flat as possible.
Minicopter basic flight controls
The mouse controls the minicopters pitch and roll. Push the mouse left or right to roll the minicopter left and right, respectively. Pushing your mouse on the mousepad will pitch your minicopter forwards, and pulling the mouse down will raise its nose. Pushing your mouse left or right will roll the minicopter in those directions. Pressing
D will control your left and right yaw.
It’s important to know that pressing
D means turn left or right means turning using both roll and yaw by default. Meaning your minicopter will angle into the turn for greater speed efficiency. Its this unexpected roll that catches most new pilots off-guard. If you want to control the yaw alone, that’s turning without rolling, Hold
L-ctrl, which will lock the minicopters capacity to roll. Note that it won’t lock the minicopter’s pitch, so you can still angle forwards and back.
To gain forward momentum, you will need to have the rotors engaged, and the nose of the minicopter pitched down, putting the minicopter on a 45-degree angle to the ground. This way, your rotors are now pushing you forwards. Be careful of overcompensating your forward pitch. Doing so will give you forwards momentum and acceleration at the expense of maintaining height. With practice, you will find the sweet spot of acceleration and speed without losing altitude. You can pitch hard for a boost of speed, so long as you’re aware of the risks.
To slow down or stop, you will want to level out your pitch and roll while tapping
S. You will slowly lose momentum, but if you need to stop faster, to prevent a crash or not overshoot your mark, keep holding
W and pitch the minicopter nose up. With the nose up, the rotors are now providing reverse thrust. Before you come to a complete stop, pitch the nose back to level, otherwise, you will find yourself going in reverse.
Landing your minicopter safely
When you are hovering above where you need to be, tap
S until you are descending at a safe speed. Note that holding
S may bring you down too quickly, and might even disengage your rotors completely. Falling from even a small height may cause enough collision damage to obliterate your minicopter.
Once you advance, you can use a combination of the above techniques to fly in low, pitch up, start tapping
S , and level out with the mouse just above the ground to perform a quick landing. From there, it’s back to driving at ground level controls.
Minicopter pilots need to know
The monument Launch site comes equipped with S.A.M turrets (Surface to Air Missiles) that are deadly to minicopters and the APC Bradley, who is also a crack shot. Minicopters should avoid the launch site in general at all costs. Players can also build SAM turrets, so be aware of large compounds. Scout before flying over whenever possible.
A minicopter flying by is an enticing target to any experienced RUST player. The quickest way to put a minicopter down is to shoot the pilot in the head. The only way to avoid this is to pitch or roll away from where you think targets might be shooting, so the bullets hit the minicopter instead of your face. If you are in the passenger seat and your pilot goes down, hitting
X will swap to the pilot seat to assume control.
Lastly, in an inevitable collision or crash, you can press
SPACE to eject from your seat, even in flight. Doing this at the last minute might save your life, so long as you don’t eject too early or too late. Too early, and you will experience tremendous fall damage. Jump too late, and you will be too close to the explosion of the crashing minicopter to survive.
Learning how to fly the minicopter will let you master the skies
Once you’ve learned how to fly minicopters in RUST, your gameplay experience will change. Many more opportunities to exploit the island’s various resources will open to you. It’s easy to become comfortable with the little play area around your base. But once you master the sky the entire island will become your playground.