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What Does It take to Build a Helipad?

Either for private, commercial or emergency services, helicopters are of immense help when it comes to quick and safe transportation, especially in hard-to-reach places. The one thing that is extremely convenient when it comes to this mode of transportation is that an airport is not necessary for its take-off or landing. All you need is a helipad or a helideck, depending on whether you are onshore or offshore. 

Helidecks are platforms for helicopter landings and takeoffs on large ships, cruisers and on oil platforms far away in the oceans. While helipads are located on land. Helipads can also be a part of a bigger heliport, where a bigger number of helicopters can fluctuate. 


Who Is Building Helipads?

It seems that hospitals and private homeowners are the ones who need helipads the most. In the case of emergencies, transporting injured people is much easier and faster than sending out the ambulance vans. In some cases, flying a helicopter is the only way to reach persons who are in need of medical help. Same goes for evacuations during natural disasters.

Hospital helipads are usually built on rooftops for easier access to the building and much-needed help. 

However, hospitals are not the only ones with helipads. Some residential buildings built helipads which can help during fire emergencies and similar events. Some even have helipads for air taxi services. 

Today, more and more people wish to build a helipad on their private property due to easier transportation. Expensive homes which have a helipad in their backyard are a great investment in secluded areas and especially in areas where airports are not close. Neighbour complaints can be the only reason building a helipad would be restricted, but that didn’t stop anybody so far!


Helipads Characteristics

Each helipad needs to be marked according to its purpose. This is not applicable for temporary emergency constructed helipads about which we will talk more later.

Standard helipad marking is a large letter H, which can be easily noticeable from the air. For hospitals, H is painted with red colour and it also has a cross outline in the background. For all other helipads, the letter H is painted white.

Usually, helipads have also painted the maximum gross weight which can be supported. There should also be information about the maximum helicopter dimensions that can be allowed to land. Sometimes there are also painted arrows present which indicate arrival and departure paths. Depending on its purpose, many helipads have also company logos or hospital names indicated next to the helipad.

Besides mandatory markings, helipads need to have lighting installed for nighttime flights which need to be placed according to official recommendations. More recently, pilot-controlled lighting (PCL) is being incorporated. This is a system that allows pilots to control lighting as they seem fit and in a way that will not interfere with their night vision during landings and take-offs. 

Helipads can be constructed in various surroundings for different emergencies. They can even be made out of timbers in wildlife for a temporary landing. 

There are also portable helipads which can come in handy when a helicopter needs to land somewhere without a flat surface, such as hillsides or riverbeds. 


Helipad Construction

Concrete and steel were for years a go-to material when it came to helipad construction. However, aluminium proved itself as a better, lightweight and less corrosive material. Also, no painting of the aluminium helipads is necessary during the span of its lifetime, which makes such helipads much easier to maintain. 

The building of the aluminium helipads is also a much quicker process than constructing steel or concrete ones.  

Another innovation when it comes to helipads is the Deck-Integrated Fire Fighting System (DIFFS). This fire suppression system can extinguish the fire on its own without any human assistance. 

In case you are thinking of building a helipad, contact us and we can guide you from design to commission. Our partnership with Aluminium Offshore brought to us many satisfied customers who are now proud owners of helipads all over Australia.