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.
The new owner of the London Heliport, von Essen Hotels, has appointed UK helicopter charter operator PremiAir to manage the site. The heliport, located at Battersea on the south bank of the River Thames, will be extensively redeveloped following a February 8 deal in which von Essen Hotels purchased the site from the Weston group.
Helicopter pilots gave a clear demonstration of their dedication to their profession last month by turning out in impressive numbers on one of the most frigid nights of the year, with a snowstorm tossed in for good measure, to attend a meeting of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council at the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton in Northern New Jersey. Approximately 75 pilots attended.
While U.S. helicopter tourism operators have been under continuing pressure from regulators and environmental groups over the past few years, their colleagues in less restrictive legislative environments have continued to make a decent living. Charter companies in South Africa have been doing particularly well at offering “flightseeing” packages, even though the gloss of a weak U.S. dollar has long since faded.
The owner of London Battersea Heliport is seeking planning permission to build a hotel alongside it on the southern bank of the River Thames. Weston Aviation commercial manager James Ford told AIN that the new building, to the west of the pad, will incorporate new reception and ATC facilities for the heliport.
The Harrods Aviation FBO group has sold London Battersea Heliport to Weston Aviation for an undisclosed amount. The new owner, based at Takely, UK, is part of the Weston Homes building group. Battersea is London’s only downtown heliport and is located on the south bank of the Thames River, about four miles west of the financial district. Its standard daily opening hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., but early and late extensions can be arranged.
Industry lobbying group the Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH) is stepping up its efforts to improve public acceptance of helicopter operations in France.
Washington, D.C.’s South Capitol Street Heliport (09W) has been struggling to reopen to at least some pre-approved general aviation rotorcraft since mid-2002, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been dragging its feet.
Bell 206L3 LongRanger, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 6, 2005–The Industrial Helicopters Long-Ranger disappeared while operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The fate of the commercial pilot and two passengers is unknown, but they are presumed dead. The helicopter had made two flights that day, from a company heliport in Scott, La., to two oil platforms, returning to the heliport.