Helipad is a common abbreviation for helicopter landing pad, a landing area for helicopters. While helicopters are able to operate on a variety of relatively flat surfaces, a fabricated helipad provides a clearly marked hard surface away from obstacles where a helicopter can safely land.
Helipads may be located at a heliport or airport where fuel, air traffic control, and service facilities for aircraft are available. However, most helipads are located remotely away from such facilities due to space and cost constraints. Usually a helipad does not have fuel and service facilities for aircraft, and does not maintain a full time air traffic controller.
Many office towers maintain a helipad on their roofs in order to accommodate air taxi services. Some basic helipads are built on highrise buildings for evacuation in case of a major fire outbreak. Major police departments may use a dedicated helipad at heliports as a base for police helicopters. Large ships and oilrigs sometimes have a helipad on board (usually referred to as a helideck).
Helipads are common features at hospitals where they serve to facilitate MEDEVACs or air ambulance transfers of patients to trauma units or to accept patients from remote areas without local hospitals or facilities capable of providing the level of emergency care required. In urban environments, these heliports are typically located on the roof of the hospital.
Rooftop helipads sometimes display a large two-digit number, representing the weight limit (in thousands of pounds) of the pad. In addition, a second number may be present, representing the maximum rotor diameter in feet.
Helipads are usually constructed out of concrete and are marked with a circle and/or a letter "H", so as to be visible from the air. However, they are not always constructed out of concrete; sometimes forest fire fighters will construct a temporary helipad out of wood to receive supplies in remote areas. Rig mats may be used to build helipads. Landing pads may also be constructed in extreme conditions like on frozen ice.
A helipad atop the SunAmerica Center in Century City, California
The main helipad at University Hospital Coventry in England
- ^ FAA Advisory Circular 150/5390-2B page 51
- ^ "Siachen: The world's highest cold war". CNN. Wednesday, September 17, 2003 Posted: 0550 GMT ( 1:50 PM HKT). http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/south/05/20/siachen.kashmir/. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- de Voogt, A.J. 2007. Helidrome Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.
- ICAO 1995. Heliport manual. Montreal, Canada: ICAO Publications.
- Frost, John B. 1996. British helipads. Chester, UK: Appledore Publications.
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