Permanent, approved heliports at hospitals are essential for safe and efficient transport of patients.BNN Aviation is highly experienced in working with hospitals in establishing heliports which are close to patient treatment areas, safe for pilots, minimize noise impact on the community, yet which are affordable.
FEASIBILITY AND SITE SELECTION
- Flight Safety
- Noise Impact
- Passenger Ground Accessibility
- Permanence vs. Obsolescence
- Construction Cost
- Environment Clearance.
- MOD Clearance.
HELIPORT SAFETY AUDITS
- Compliance with DGCA.
- Survey flight paths for obstruction clearance
- Heliport Lighting
- Heliport markings and signage
- Fire protection
· Specialists in rooftop heliport engineering
· Structural analysis of building
· Modular designs in Concrete, Steel or Aluminum
· Means of egress
· Specialized fire protection
· Hangar and fueling design
· Drawings prepared in AutoCAD by registered professional engineers. Specifications in
BNN Aviation understands the business uses of helicopters and the importance of heliports to realize the point-to-point capability that only the helicopter provides. We also understand the resistance by some communities to business helicopters and therefore we are experienced in making professional presentations
Elevated and Rooftop Helipads and Heliports
Relevant documentation here include Annex 14 (Volume II Heliports Third edition July 2009) and the Heliport Manual (9261-AN903-Third Edition 1995) and appendices. These ICAO SARPs prescribe the helipad physical characteristics, obstacle control criteria, visual aids requirements and guidance on elements such as site selection and structural design. The discussion below relates more to helipads built to ICAO and European standards, which are somewhat more stringent, than the US FAA standards.
Determination of Helipad Size – ICAO Criteria
Helipad size determination in accordance with the current ICAO SARPs is based on a number of factors, notably the helicopter greatest overall dimension (D) and the Performance Classification of the helicopter operations.
The staff at AOPL was extremely professional, very efficient and timely in all their dealings with us, from negotiations to design details and construction, and right through to certification.
For conventional helicopters with a single main rotor, D is the overall length with the main and tail rotors turning. The ICAO SARPs assume that for elevated heliports, the FATO and TLOF are coincidental.
The following discussion refers to elevated heliports which are the principal application of the XE range of heli decks.
The size of a FATO intended to be used by helicopters operated in Performance Class 1 shall be as prescribed in the helicopter flight manual (HFM) except that, in the absence of width specifications, the width shall be not less than 1 D of the largest helicopter the FATO is intended to serve.
The size of a FATO intended to be used by helicopters operated in Performance Class 2 or 3 shall be of sufficient size and shape to contain an area within which can be drawn a circle of diameter not less than 1 D of the largest helicopter when the MTOM of helicopters the FATO is intended to serve is more than 3 175 kg or 0.83 D of the largest helicopter when the MTOM of helicopters the FATO is intended to serve is 3 175 kg or less (with a recommendation that 1 D is applied for the smaller helicopters)
The FATO is surrounded by a safety area which extends beyond the FATO by nominated distance criteria including having a minimum external dimension of 2D. A notable change introduced in the third edition of Annex 14 is that the safety area need not be solid.
As an example of the application of the criteria for a Sikorsky S76 operating in Performance Class 2, the FATO needs to be of sufficient size to accommodate a circle of 16.00m, the S76 D value. The S76 PC2 FATO would be surrounded by a safety area with an external dimension of 32metres, (2D).
The Bell 412EP has a D value of 1`7.1 metres and a minimum FATO size of 22.9m by 26.5m as prescribed in the flight manual for operations in Performance Class 1 from an elevated helipad with restricted adjacent drop down height. That FATO would be surrounded by a (non-solid) safety area the minimum external dimensions of which would be 34.2 meters (2D) by 35.05m (26.5m + 0.5D).
To understand the need for adequate rescue and fire fighting services at the helipad, it is helpful to look at a couple of different Code requirements. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has assessed the level of risk from fire following an accident on elevated heliport sites as being potentially catastrophic and all flights for which permissions are necessary under Rule 5 of the Rules of the Air (which covers flight below 1000 feet AGL) are necessary will attract a condition that the recommended levels of protection and response for operations to elevated helicopter landing sites are in accordance with ICAO Annex 14, Volume II, Chapter 6 (Table 6-3) and the ICAO Heliport Manual Chapter 6. This condition will be applied to all flights.
It is also important to consider the safety case relating to a crash situation and the potential free release of fuel from the helicopter’s fuel tanks. Current helicopters have a longer range over older models and therefore carry more fuel. A 1000l fuel discharge which is on fire is not easy to contain and can be expected to make its way down the building pipes , with potentially disastrous consequences to those below. The XE Enhanced Safety helideck has a passive fire suppression system which ensures that any fuel discharge is entrapped and extinguished within the helideck and drained away as raw fuel, which of course can be safely collected at a remote location.
Rescue and Fire Fighting Provisions – UKCAA Guidance
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is a regulator that produces regulatory and advisory publications in a range of formats including the Civil Aviation Publication (CAP) series. Annex 3 to Chapter 21 of CAP 768 Guidance Material for Operators (1st edition August 2008) provides the following comments in relation to and Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS) for onshore helicopter landing sites and references the technical guidance for presented in CAP 437 Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas – Guidance on Standards (6th edition, Dec 2008) which strongly encourages consideration of the use of a Deck Integrated Fire Fighting Systems (DIFFS) on elevated facilities.
Particular problems arise from the operation of helicopters at elevated heliports that require special attention with regard to the RFF provisions. One important aspect is the confined and restricted space available on the average elevated heliport. This will impose restrictions on foam monitor and/or hose positioning and general fire fighting tactics. It is feasible that an accident could result in a fuel spill with a fire situation which could quickly cut off or reduce the already limited routes of escape to a place of safety for the helicopter occupants. In addition the accident or fire may involve RFF facilities located adjacent to the landing area. As a result the requirement for the amount of extinguishing agent at elevated heliports is based on a fire fighting action which may be required to last much longer than at surface level heliports. In addition, at an elevated heliport, RFFS should be immediately available on or in the vicinity of the landing area whilst helicopter operations are being conducted in order to achieve a rapid ‘knock-down’ response.
At an elevated heliport, at least one hose line, complete with nozzle/branch pipe and capable of delivering foam in a jet spray/aspirated pattern at 250 L/min, should be provided. It is also considered essential at an elevated heliport to be able to apply the fire fighting agents, both principal and complementary, to the entire landing area irrespective of the wind direction. To achieve this and to overcome the possibility of a monitor being involved in the accident, it is necessary that at elevated heliports in Category H2, that at least two monitors be provided each having a capability of achieving the required discharge rate, and positioned at different locations around the helideck so as to ensure the application of foam to any part of the landing area under any weather conditions. Alternatively, a system of hand controlled branch lines or a deck integrated fire fighting system (DIFFS) may be considered. Further technical guidance is available in Chapter 5 of CAP 437; Offshore Helicopter Landing Areas – Guidance on Standards. To further ensure the application of the agent to the entire landing area, monitors should preferably be operable from a remote control position located clear of the landing area and easily accessible.
Rescue and Fire Fighting Provisions – Application of ICAO SARPS
- ICAO provides relevant SARPS and associated guidance material in relation to the provision of RFF facilities in Annex 14 Volume II and the Heliport Manual. The ICAO provisions are essentially the same as those detailed by the UKCAA in CAP 768 and 437 as discussed above.
The ICAO SARPs classify the levels of protection needed for elevated helipads by dividing them into H categories according to the size of the helipad. H1 helipads are up to 15m in diameter, H2 up to 24m and H3 from 24m to 35m. As an example, an H2 helipad will require (a) performance level B foam applied at 500lpm for 10 minutes plus (b) complementary agents which are usually hand held fire extinguishers to be situated at the helipad area.
- ICAO also cautions that ‘although the amount of fuel carried by helicopters is generally less than that carried by aeroplanes, a more serious fire situation can occur as the fuel tank is located underneath the occupied portion of the fuselage and close to the engine. In other words, burning fuel in a helicopter crash is more likely to remain within the area adjacent to the helicopter and thus the resulting fire situation may be more serious than one involving an aeroplane of similar size.’ (Heliport Manual, 1995, para 6.1.7)
- The best way to meet these requirements and to afford the maximum fire protection for helicopter crew, passengers, building occupants and third parties adjacent to the building is to instal a DIFFS system to the helipad. The helipad itself should be of the Enhanced Safety™ type which contains a built-in, automatic fire suppression system.
- In November 2008, representatives from international organisations including the UK CAA and members of the ICAO Heliport Design Working Group attended live fire tests on the XE Enhanced Safety helideck with a DIFFS capability. The tests were organized by Aluminium Offshore and the overwhelming response from senior representative in attendance was support for the passive helideck with DIFFS option as a world best practice for helipad fire control.
- The UK CAP 437 guidance material was revised in December 2008 following the demonstration of XE Enhanced Safety Deck with water based DIFFS capability. Although the current version of Annex 14 Volume II does not included reference to the benefits of helidecks with a passive fire suppression system and integrated DIFFS capability, it is anticipated that discussion of the option will be included in future revisions of the Annex and the Heliport Manual in a similar manner to the CAP 437 guidance.
AOPL recommends consideration of the following practical issues when planning your elevated helipad
- Size of the helipad (discussed above) and connected with which type of helicopter you intend to operate
- Loading considerations- more critical for existing buildings than new structures, can the roof columns take the dynamic and static loads from the helicopter
- Structural considerations- how will the helipad be supported? A trussed support frame may be best as this can allow reaction loads to go directly into the building columns rather than the roof
- Turbulence and placement of helipad- this is a complex topic and cannot be discussed at length here. “Preferably, the helipad should be elevated such there is a clear space of at least 6ft (2m) in height between the pad and the supporting roof. This will prevent additional turbulent flow from being generated and allow more streamline flow over the helipad” (“Evaluating wind flow around buildings on heliport placement”- Federal Aviation Administration, USA, DOT/FAA/PM-84/25)
Maintenance – design for minimal maintenance. This is especially critical when the helipad is cantilevered out of the building top. Again, an aluminium helipad requires virtually no maintenance.
Your Safety Requirement
XE Enhanced Safety Helideck
XD Standard Helideck
|Installations that require enhanced Safety for heli-operations||Installations with no special safety requirements|
|Frequent landings||Occasional landings|
|Safety as paramount consideration||Cost effectiveness as key consideration|
|Unmanned triggering of safety measures (when coupled with DIFFS)||–|
|Helideck located above living quarters / wheel house / bridge||–|
|Helipads located above hospitals / buildings||–|
Add-ons For Additional Weight Savings
Upgrade existing helidecks with:
- Support structures
- Stairs and platforms
- Antennae towers
- Slip resistant floor decking
- Stair towers
- Living quarters
- Other custom-made structures
Standards and Regulations
Our aluminium helidecks can be designed in accordance with various international and national rules and standards. Choose the rules that apply to your installation, and we’ll help you find the best solution for your needs.
- Helideck size: 1 x D-value
- Perimeter safety net
- Zone 1 lighting
- Water DIFFS allowed for XE Enhanced Safety helideck
Enhanced Safety Helidecks
A crash and burn scenario is always a frightening possibility – the intense, fuel-based fire will quickly spread on a flat helideck, making passenger rescue extremely hazardous. Vital time is lost in combating the fire on the helidecks when all attention should be concentrated on the blazing helicopter instead and on getting crew and passengers to safety.
On unmanned platforms, this problem is even more acute as fire-fighting facilities are limited to start with; outside assistance may simply not be available. Civil Aviation Authorities around the world recognize this risk and require extensive fire-fighting and crash safety equipment to be available and positioned around the deck.
XE Enhanced Safety Helideck*
A patented, passive fire-retarding system
The XE Enhanced Safety helideck was developed to reduce these risks and make passenger safety a top priority. This deck incorporates a patented, passive fire-retarding system which works by allowing burning fuel to atomize through an aluminium mesh screen. The mesh screen is installed inside the punched heli-decking which comprises the landing surface. A full-perimeter drainage system ensures that liquids are channelled, sub-surface, from heli-decking to drain.
Burning fuel is starved of oxygen and rapid heat dissipation occurs in the mesh. The fire is retarded immediately. Spilt fuel is quickly and safely drained away unburned and any remaining vapour burn-off can be extinguished in seconds with minimal water spray. Up to 97% of spilt fuel is recovered unburned. The atomizing process breaks down the fuel spraying through the decking to such an extent that only a simple water spray is needed to extinguish the remaining minor vapour flaring.
The XE Enhanced Safety helideck has been rigorously tested with multiple fire tests in the presence of Det Norske Veritas, Lloyds Register, the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, International Civil Aviation Authority, ABS, various helicopter operators and manufacturers, public safety groups, offshore safety crews, pilots and user bodies.
The deck is currently installed on numerous offshore vessels, FPSOs and drilling platforms, hospitals and other locations. It can be fitted to a new-build structure or retrofitted to existing locations which require additional safety. For retrofitting, the existing steel structure can be utilized to the maximum extent by only laying down the safety decking and drainage system.
The XE Enhanced Safety helideck is a fully modular design: the deck is pre-fabricated and shipped to you in containers. Site assembly involves bolting only and can be completed within a couple of weeks. The deck is then installed under our supervision.
This model of helideck does not need foam or other extinguishing agents to deal with a fire on its surface and only water is sufficient to extinguish the residual fire vapour burn after the bulk of the fuel has been drained off. In recent tests on this helideck attended by representatives from UKCAA, ICAO, DNV, LRS, ABS, a 450l jet fuel fire was controlled in the following times:
- Purely passive basis , i.e with no intervention: under 90 seconds
- Using a water DIFFS unit: under 4 seconds
LATEST: UKCAA CAP437 7th edition, 2013, Ch5 allows installations with an XE Enhanced Safety helideck to use seawater instead of foam for the foam monitor or DIFFS systems. This means a huge reduction in cost, complexity, testing, maintenance and renewals.
This helideck has a subsidiary advantage in reducing bird guano build up on unmanned offshore platforms. Its unique deck surface punch pattern replicates the random walk of large sea-gulls who find it difficult to walk on these decks with webbed feet. Users have reported substantial reduction in bird activity with these decks and birds prefer to roost elsewhere on the platform.
 “A fire is deemed to be under control at the point when it becomes possible for occupants of the helicopter to be effectively rescued by trained firefighters” (UKCAA)”
* Previously known as the Astech® Safety helideck
Weld free, modular construction ensures faster fabrication. Bolted connections allow quick assembly, fewer inspection hold-points and easy replacement of damaged sections. We manufacture the deck, trial fit it for you and then dismantles it for shipping to wherever you like. Our supervisors will make site assembly an easy task.
Modular sections mean the deck is easier and lighter to transport, assemble and lift into place.
The standard helideck weighs about 40% of an equivalent steel helideck
All the pilots at our heliport have unanimously expressed praise for this new helideck, especially the fit and finish of this product, which replaces an old rust-pront deck. We trust the high standards of design and manufacture will be upheld…
Complies with all offshore fire requirements and SOLAS 194, Ch 11-2. There are no restrictions on using aluminium helidecks on any offshore or marine location. IMO MODU Code, Section 18 contains a requirement for the fire testing of aluminium helidecks which are to be situated directly on top of living quarters, bridges and similar spaces so that they be ‘equal to steel’. Classification bodies usually prescribe specifications for this fire test. Both models of our helidecks have been live fire tested in the presence of major Classification bodies and certified ‘equal to steel’. In fire performance, to find out more about this steel equivalence fire test, please see Commentary on SOLAS Regulations.
Stay Dry, Non-slip Surface
No weld distortions on surface; the aluminium decking top is serrated and cross-milled to provide a permanent non-slip grip exceeding UK CAA CAP437 requirements. This non-slip surface is excellent and will last the lifetime of the deck. However, if you foresee the helideck working extensively in slushy or extremely slippery conditions, we recommend that an additional non-slip grit be applied to the top painted surface. We will be happy to include this as an option if you should require it.
An aluminium helideck is a good investment. Not only will its residual value appreciate over time, it can be reused several times, as it will usually outlast the structure it is initially placed on. The purchase of an aluminium deck is also low in comparison to steel since the higher per-ton cost of aluminium is offset by the lower tonnage used and the savings in fabrication time.
Helideck Support Frames
Aluminium alloy support frames offer great advantages:
- 60% weight savings over steel equivalent
- Completely maintenance free
- 1 week assembly (against several months for steel)
- Light weight reduces lift requirements
- Cost effective against steel
- Re-usable and recyclable
- he pioneer in the design and production of aluminium alloy structures
- Aluminium Offshore is a pioneer in the design and production of aluminium alloy structures. The company and its subsidiaries have built up a reputation for impeccable design, flawless execution and solid customer service.
- As one of the largest, specialist design-and build companies in the world, we offer a complete design, supply and assemble package to customers who are looking to upgrade traditional steel and concrete designs to a lighter and corrosion resistant metal.
- The Aluminium Offshore story began – like all good stories – with an idea. That idea was to use aluminium instead of steel in the construction of offshore marine structures. At the time in 1987, such an idea might have been considered unconventional to say the least, but two decades and a lot of hard work later, it has proved to be rather visionary.
- So, why aluminium? At the most basic level aluminium has a unique combination of characteristics; structurally robust while at the same time lightweight and low maintenance. These qualities are as true now as they were when we started 25 years ago, but have become ever more important in recent years as the demands of both offshore and onshore construction have evolved.
- Offshore, as remaining oil reserves are discovered at ever greater depths and in increasingly inhospitable environments, the benefit of lightweight structures and reduced maintenance costs is being felt more than ever. Onshore, the dramatic growth in helipads for both the public and private sector has created new demands on flexibility, modularity and aesthetic integrity – demands which aluminium can deliver better than any other material.
- Of course it takes more than just a great idea to create a world-leading company. As Thomas Edison said, “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” and the team at Aluminium Offshore continues to work as hard as ever to ensure complete satisfaction for our clients worldwide. At the heart of our philosophy is a deep commitment to both integrity and innovation. It’s in our blood and what makes us acknowledged leaders in our field. We have never just built structures. We innovate, research, refine, test and then do it all over again with a kind of divine discontent that drives us to deliver cutting edge solutions and constant cycle of iterative improvement.
- We have never and will never copy designs or ideas from anyone else. Our location in Singapore makes logistical sense and allows us to export not only our products but our innovation and know-how around the globe. We thrive on challenge. In the beginning it was the challenge of bringing aluminium to a steel-locked industry. Since then it has seen us consistently redrawing the boundaries of what can be achieved using aluminium; from building Asia’s first aluminium helideck in 1988, developing the world’s first Enhanced Safety helideck in 1989-93, to successfully installation of the world’s largest helipad in Hong Kong in 2008 and to numerous other ‘firsts’.
- The Aluminium Offshore story is based upon taking an innovative idea and, through hard work and complete honesty bringing it into reality. This has set the tone for our business over the subsequent 25 years. It is why we have never lost a customer or missed a project deadline and why even our competitors admire and respect us. From that very first idea, Aluminium Offshore has grown to become probably the largest helideck builder in the world with close to 400 helidecks installed worldwide. We like to see it as a vindication of our beliefs and a reflection of our continued hard work.
Rooftop Helipad with Night Landing Lights