The Constructor

Heliports: Types and Construction Features

Heliport Features

Heliport Features

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Heliports are landing pads designed for helicopters and powered lift aircraft. They are constructed either from steel, concrete, or aluminum.

Heliports are constructed on the roofs of skyscrapers, private buildings, hospitals, golf courses, and other places where helicopters are commonly used.

This article discusses the types and construction features of heliports.

Types of Heliports

Heliports can be constructed either on the ground or at an elevation. An elevated heliport can be constructed on a rooftop or elevated structure.

Heliports can be of the following types based on the industry they are used for:

  1. General aviation heliports
  2. Transport heliports
  3. Hospital heliports
  4. Airport heliports

1. General Aviation Heliports

The helicopters used by individuals, corporations, and helicopter air taxi services are accommodated under general aviation heliports. Most of the general aviation heliports are privately owned.

2. Transport Heliports

Transport heliports accommodate large helicopters that perform air carrier operations.

3. Hospital Heliports

Hospital heliports are used to accommodate helicopters used for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). During emergencies, large military helicopters are also accommodated by hospital heliports.

4. Helicopter Facilities at Airports

Helicopters operate in most airports without interfering with airplane traffic to perform separate services. Separate terminals and gates for helicopter boarding with interconnecting passenger traffic are provided in the airports. 

A person who uses a helicopter to go to an airport must ensure that the airport has convenient space and services at the airport terminal. These services include locations with exclusive helicopter facilities, TLOFs, FATOs, safety areas, approach/departure paths, helicopter taxi routes, and taxiways.

Construction Features of Heliports

Figure-1: Features of General Aviation Heliports
Figure-2: Aluminimum Rooftop Heliports in Hospitals

It is recommended to consult the local air program in the early planning stages of any helipad construction. The helipad construction must follow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), state and local zoning regulations, etc. 

For more details, visit:  Advisory Circular-U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration 

FAQs

What are heliports?

Heliports are landing pads designed for helicopters and powered lift aircraft.

What material is used for helipad construction?

Helipads are constructed either from steel, concrete, or aluminum.

What are FATO and TLOF in helipad construction?

FATO is an area over which the pilot completes the final phase of the approach to land or from where the departure is made. Touchdown and Liftoff area (TLOF) is a load-bearing and paved area normally centered in FATO, on which a helicopter performs a touchdown or liftoff.

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