More often than not, we deal with clients that may be interested in installing a helipad or acting on behalf of someone who is that has not had prior experience in navigating aviation regulations and approval processes. In our experience, we tend to be on the receiving end of a similar range of questions and concerns during initial discussions. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of most FAQs that we believe will assist anyone else also considering installing a helipad.
1. What information do I need to provide to request a quote?
Is your helipad rooftop or ground-based?
Is it a hospital project, office building or private residence project?
Helicopters to be operated on the helipad
Specify the types of helicopters you will use. We recommend this be based on both current and future needs of the asset.
Applicable aviation standards
How will International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 14 be relevant to your project?
Are there any relevant industry specific guidelines relevant to your project?
For instance, are you looking to build a Standard solid-plate Aluminium Deck?
Or you looking more at an Enhanced Safety™ type helideck (passive fire suppression system according to standards contained in CAP 1264)?
Will the helipad be used at night?
If you intend on operating to/from the helipad at night, please advise so that appropriate lighting can be factored into the quote.
Will aluminium support be needed below the pancake?
Please forward to us any relevant drawings (General Arrangement – elevation and plan view) and support configuration. We’ll also need to take a look at any helipad structural drawings (elevation and plan view).
Shipping destination (nearest port)
We’ll need to know a destination to send your order.
Expected delivery date
When do you desire the project to be finished?
We understand that not all the information above may be available at the time you contact us. Please advise what information you do have and we will endeavour to provide as specific a quote as possible based on the details provided.
2. Does my helipad need to be certified by CASA?
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is a government body that regulates Australian aviation safety.
CASA does not currently have a legal instrument for the registration or certification of heliports other than those located within an airport.
CASA maintain an interest in the commissioning and operation of other helipad facilities only through Civil Aviation Regulation 92 as well as publishing advisory information for the establishment and use of helicopter landing sites i.e. Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) 92-2.
3. How long does it usually take to deliver the helipad once an order is placed?
Generally speaking, helipads can be delivered within approx. six (6) months of an order being placed. A timeline specific to the period you submit your order will be provided based on the pipeline at the time.
4. Is installation included in the quote or do I need to find a contractor to assist with this? How long is the installation process on-site?
Installation is not included within the scope of supply of Avlaw or its partner Aluminium Offshore.
However, we can provide referrals to companies who have been engaged by other clients on other Australian projects. Aluminium Offshore do provide one of their qualified staff to supervise the installation for a period of two weeks.
Generally speaking based on previous projects in Australia, installation once materials have arrived on site is 6-8 weeks.
5. The helipads I have seen are generally concrete. What are the advantages of selecting aluminium over concrete?
Concrete decks usually not purpose designed to allow for an air gap under the helipad.
This air gap is a standard requirement of all modern helipad regulations and this allows for a reduction in turbulence felt by landing and taking off helicopters.
Lower maintenance costs
Adopting an aluminium construction means an easy to build, lighter construction/lower structural loads on building and lower maintenance costs for the lifetime of the helipad
Easier to repair
The shorter assembly and installation times mean the helipad is simple to repair and replace.
Aluminium features a modular form allowing any part that is damaged to be repaired or replaced with minimal disruption to the utilisation of the asset.
Aluminium decks can also provide passive fire-retarding features (Enhanced Safety™ deck) recommended by UK CAA CAP 1264.
Installation of such an Enhanced Safety™ deck means that the operator can use a water-only Deck Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS) which provides better fire suppression capability compared to foam and is also lower maintenance and environmentally friendly. There is no need for a foam fire fighting system in such cases.
Enhanced Safety™ decks incorporate a perforated surface which allows any burning fuel to rapidly drain through the surface of the helideck and up to 95% of fuel can be recovered unburned and safely. Documented and public fire tests have shown that the fire on such a deck can be extinguished within 4 seconds with water DIFFS; and in less than 11 seconds without any active fire-fighting system. This is extremely useful for hospital rooftop helipads as it is not easy to evacuate patients in the event of a rooftop fire.
The Fixed Foam Monitor System (FMS) is the only possibility for a concrete helipad HLS but it has the following limitations:
• It requires trained rescue crew to operate the monitors
• Wind affects the throw from these monitors
• Heat from a fire may prevent access to monitors in the first place
6. What are the exclusions from the scope of supply that I should be mindful of?
• Manpower/cranes for assembly and installation
• All piping
• All cabling
• Firewater pumps/tanks and fuel/water separator
Avlaw Aviation Consulting have highly qualified helipad design experts that can answer any further questions you may have. Get in contact us today to discuss your helipad project.