Despite an agreement signed in 2006 to mitigate noise around the famous French Riviera city of Saint-Tropez, helicopter operators and local authorities are still at odds about decibels in the popular vacation locale. The acrimony stems from the fact that none of the affected parties seemed to keep its promises last summer.
Can you think of a product on sale here that has even more passenger space than a VVIP Airbus A380? Hint: A helipad can be accommodated on its rear deck. You get it: it is a 260-foot yacht.
A research program commissioned by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has produced findings that could lead to safer night landings on offshore helidecks. The results have been so impressive that the CAA, in conjunction with other authorities, submitted a proposal to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to amend current worldwide standards and practices for helideck and heliport lighting.
The Baltimore Heliport in Maryland’s “Charm City” now features an updated pilot lounge with new sofas, flat-screen tv and DVD player. Located on Pier 7 on South Clinton Street, the heliport has four landing pads, and a new 6,000-sq-ft hangar is being constructed.
The classic clash between operators and their neighbors is a relative constant in helicopter circles. As cities such as Las Vegas experience surges in population growth and tourism activity, the comfort zone between people on the ground and aircraft in the sky gets squeezed to uncomfortable margins.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is drafting new rules for heliport layout and construction in a revised Annex 14. The new rules propose changes to the size of the final approach and takeoff (FATO) area, visual cues and surrounding airspace. ICAO expects the rules to be in place next year.
Bell 206B-III, Shelbyville, Texas, March 10, 2005–Brainerd Helicopter Service’s JetRanger, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, was substantially damaged when it crashed in a heavily wooded area in the Sabine National Forest. The ATP-rated pilot and two Forest Service crewmembers were killed. The VFR flight was supporting a prescribed fire, applying aerial ignition spheres over a forest of 50- to 60-foot-high trees.
Sikorsky S-76B, New York, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2005–The United Technologies S-76 refueled at a riverside heliport and was being repositioned to another spot to pick up passengers. The pilot flying described the conditions as “dark, drizzling rain, northerly winds 8 to 10 knots, [and an] unusually high water level of the…river.” The pilot flying was in the right seat; the pilot-in-command was in the left.
London City Airport (LCY) has broached the subject of an east London heliport to cater to the capital’s helicopter traffic. With the 2012 Olympics on the horizon, the airport believes the time has come to develop a coordinated approach to helicopter activity in the capital. It currently has only one public heliport, at Battersea in west London.
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