Heliport

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A heliport at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Heliport at ZDF (German Television) in Munich
Helicopter parking in Germany
Heliport of the university hospital Aachen, Germany

A heliport is a small airport suitable only for use by helicopters. Heliports typically contain one or more helipads and may have limited facilities such as fuel, lighting, a windsock, or even hangars. In larger towns and cities, customs facilities may be available at a heliport.

The early advocates of helicopters hoped that heliports would become widespread, but they have become contentious in urban areas due to the unpleasant noise caused by helicopter traffic.

Purpose[edit]

In a large metropolis, a heliport can serve passengers needing to quickly move within the city or to outlying regions. Generally heliports can be situated closer to a town or city centre than an airport for fixed-wing aircraft. The advantage in flying by helicopter to a destination or even to the city's main airport is that travel can be much faster than driving. As an example, the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in New York City provides scheduled service to John F. Kennedy International Airport and is used to move wealthy persons and important goods quickly to destinations as far away as Maryland.

Some skyscrapers feature rooftop helipads or heliports to serve the transport needs of executives or clients. The U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles is an example. Police departments use heliports as a base for police helicopters, and larger departments may have a dedicated one such as the LAPD Hooper Heliport.

Helipads are common features at hospitals where they serve to facilitate MEDEVACs or air ambulance transfers of patients to trauma units or to accept patients from remote areas without local hospitals or facilities capable of providing the level of emergency care required. In urban environments, these heliports are typically located on the roof of the hospital.

Numbering[edit]

Although heliports can be oriented in a certain direction or have specific approach and departure paths they are usually are not numbered in a standard fashion like runways. In most cases it is standard to paint a large "H" and the maximum allowable weight of a helicopter in thousands of pounds. It is also common to put marking on a heliport depicting the maximum size helicopter permitted to land. Other common markings can include ownership, radio frequencies, and magnetic north.

Lighting[edit]

Heliport lighting normally consists of a circle or square of inset lights around the surface called the TLOF (touchdown and lift-off area) and another around the overall landing area called the FATO (final approach and takeoff area). The later encompasses the TLOF as well and the lights may be elevated or inset. Both sets of lights are now recommended to be white by the International Civil Aviation Organization and Federal Aviation Administration. Yellow (amber) was the former standard and is still preferred in many locations. There is a great deal of variance in color depending on the owner and jurisdiction. These lights were traditionally incandescent but are now increasingly light-emitting diodes with brightness control. The TLOF and FATO lights may be supplemented with surface flood lights. A lighted wind cone is necessary. At ground-based locations, a row of lead-in lights in the preferred direction of approach is sometimes used. Visual slope guidance systems (such as HAPI, PAPI, etc.) are recommended in both ICAO and FAA documents but are rarely deployed due to the high cost relative to the rest of the lighting system. While airports commonly use 6.6A direct current power, {Citation needed} heliport lighting is normally AC powered. Radio control of the lighting by the pilot via an automated ground-based controller is also common.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • de Voogt, A.J. 2007. Helidrome Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.
  • ICAO 1995. Heliport manual. Montreal, Canada: ICAO Publications.
  • Frost, John B. 1996. British helipads. Chester, UK: Appledore Publications.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular AC 150/5390-2C Heliport Design, 2012.
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 418 Standards for Heliports, 2011.
  • Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) Airfield and Heiport Planning, UFC 3-260-0,1Nov 2008.
  • National Interagency Fire Center PMS 510, Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide, Chapter 8 Helicopter Landing Areas, Feb 2013.

*Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular AC 150/5390-2C - Heliport Design..

*National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 418: Standard for Heliports.

*Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) Airfield and Heiport Planning, UFC 3-260-0,1Nov 2008

*National Interagency Fire Center PMS 510, Interagency Helicopter Operations Guide, Chapter 8 Helicopter Landing Areas, Feb 2013.

External links[edit]