FEC Heliports, in Chesham, UK, is offering a portable aluminum helipad that can be used with helicopters weighing up to 15,000 pounds. Company representative Colin Little said the Portapad can be built in two hours. It can be accommodated in a car trailer similar to those used for glider transport. All usual accessories can be fitted to it. These can be a hot fluid-based snow melt system, a windsock or removable steps, for example.
For years the aeromedical helicopters based in and around New York City and Washington have trained for massive urban disasters. Perhaps not as massive as the holocaust that the World Trade Center became–who could have imagined such a combination of terrorist act and terrifying high-rise fire climaxed by a multiple building collapse of geologic proportions?–but the kind of catastrophes big cities attract.
Closed by a ban on operations within three nautical miles of the World Trade Center site since September 11, Manhattan’s three public-use heliports were partially reopened on October 12, but only to Part 135 operations. The announcement came as good news for air-taxi operators but disappointed the large local population of Part 91 corporate operators.
Ever since the nerve-shattering morning of September 11, the skies over Manhattan have been strangely quiet. At first it was the same sort of silence that settled over the rest of the U.S.–the product of a total operations ban that was the national airspace lockdown.
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.
A new scale of landing charges introduced at the beginning of April for users of London Heliport is aimed at containing demand for the riverside facility, which has an annual limit of 12,000 movements–effectively 6,000 landings–as well as helping its new owner recoup a “considerable” investment in the site.
How will business aviation operations in the New York City area be affected by the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the end of next month in these security-conscious times? That was a headline topic at the May meeting of the Teterboro Users and Operators Association (TUG), which stays on top of issues affecting those who do business at the New Jersey airport.
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 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking over security checks of passengers and baggage at New York City heliports, following warnings that Al-Qaeda has considered using tourist helicopters as weapons.
Expert groups at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are designing new rules for helicopter IFR procedures and heliport construction. Developed primarily with Europe in mind, the guidelines are expected to be released sometime next year, according to ICAO officials.