Sky Cranes are controlled by either human pilots or onboard artificial intelligence units (though they are usually piloted by the latter), and can be used for both space and atmospheric flight duties. They can be deployed from battlecruisers, like the smaller frigates by way of hangars resembling a hanging rack structure, in which the Dropships are placed facing downwards. The main role of the Sky Crane is to drop operatives onto the battlefield via a process called Burning In. Their secondary role is to deploy vehicles for use by said operatives.
A Sky Crane will fly 15,000 feet above the battle and roll to the side before launching the operatives straight towards the ground. When delivering battlefield support items and vehicles such as tanks, they fly low over the battlezone, release their cargo, and make a rapid exit to avoid enemy fire.
Sky Cranes are also occasionally outfitted with an arsenal of weapons in order to better support ground troops, including attached rocket launchers, missiles, and machineguns.
Sky Cranes do not have separate struts, footpads, or wheels for landing. Their giant wings and thrusters act as VTOL landing mechanisms instead, the thrusters aligning themselves perpendicular to the ground to act as "legs" for the landing Sky Crane. They can also land on their "bellies" if the surface is a proper Dropship landing pad.