Audit Requirements Helipads, Elevated Helidecks and Offshore Helidecks
There are certain helicopter landing areas which are not constructed as Heliport, however, are being used for regular operation for passenger transportation. Such helicopter landing areas are generally located and used extensively at places where helicopter transportation is preferred mode over the other modes of transportation due to geographical and other constraints. Such sites are normally owned by state government or other entities which are having their limited use. However, such owners extend its use on regular basis to helicopter operator without assuming the responsibility for operational aspects/ facilities at the landing area. Regulatory oversight cannot be performed over such areas due to various factors e.g. periodicity of operation, geographical location, large number of such areas.
Such usage of helicopter landing site is permitted by the owner with or without assuming any responsibility regarding the availability of minimum facilities. Therefore it is imperative on part of Helicopter operator to ensure that minimum facilities required for safe helicopter operations are available at site. Due to this reason it has been made obligatory in CAR, Section 8, Series ‘O’ Part IV & V, Operation of Commercial Air Transport/ General Aviation – Helicopters, on part of operator/ Pilot-in-Command, to ensure that a flight will not be commenced unless it has been ascertained by every reasonable means available that the ground and/or water facilities available and directly required on such flight, for the safe operation of the helicopter and the protection of the passengers, are adequate for the type of operation under which the flight is to be conducted and are adequately operated for this purpose. Therefore, it is recommended that periodical audits of helipads, helidecks inclusive of elevated helidecks will go in a long way to ensure safety. The audits could be by third party or regulatory authorities to take care of non-compliances if any. The periodicity of audit is recommended to be every 12 months.
Third party audit of helipads will be conducted in compliance with DGCA CARs as below:
• CAR, Section-4, Series ‘B’ Part III, Aerodrome Standards Air Traffic Services- Heliports, 28th August 2006.
• CAR, Section-4, Series ‘B’ Part II, Aerodrome Standards & Air Traffic Services- Minimum Safety Requirements for Temporary Helicopter Landing Areas, 21st December 2005.
• CAR, Section-4, Series ‘B’ Part V, Aerodrome Standards & Licensing- Minimum Safety Requirements for Helicopter Landing Areas used on Regular Basis, 4th August 2011.