8-210 PROGRAM TRACKING AND REPORTING SUBSYSTEM (PTRS) ACTIVITY CODE. Initial evaluation: 1695.
8-211 OBJECTIVE. The objective of this task is to perform an evaluation of a proposed or existing heliport. Successful completion of this task results in a completed heliport evaluation report to the Airport Division through the regional Flight Standards division (RFSD) All Weather Operations Program Manager (AWOPM).
8-212 PREREQUISITES AND COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS.
A. Document Prerequisites. The heliport proponent should have submitted the following documents for the evaluation packet:
1) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 7480‑1, Notice of Landing Area Proposal, with the applicable data filled;
2) The heliport layout diagram that is drawn to scale showing key dimensions of the heliport size, safety area size, distance from safety area perimeter to property edges, and approach/departure paths in relation to buildings, trees, fences, power lines, and other significant features; and
3) A heliport location map showing the location of the heliport site and the approach/departure paths (on this map, an arrow should point out the heliport site).
B. Personnel Prerequisites. This task requires knowledge of the regulatory requirements of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 77 and 157, the current editions of FAA Order 7400.2, Procedures of Handling Airspace Matters, Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5390‑2, Heliport Design, and FAA policy. The following personnel are authorized to conduct heliport evaluations:
1) An FAA Flight Standards Operations aviation safety inspector (ASI) or an FAA Airspace System Inspection Pilot (ASIP); and/or
2) A Procedure Evaluation Pilot (PEP) that is authorized by the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, AFS‑400, to conduct heliport evaluations of heliports per this guidance.
C. Equipment Prerequisites. The following equipment is the minimum needed in order to complete an onsite evaluation of the proposed heliport:
1) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver capable of verifying latitude and longitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds,
2) Inclinometer and compass,
3) Laser range finder,
4) One hundred foot tape measure,
5) Digital camera, and
6) Calculator that is capable of doing tangent functions.
D. Coordination. This task may require the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to coordinate with the Regional Airports Division, RFSD AWOPM, and the applicant/owner or operators of the heliport being evaluated.
A. Types of Heliports. Heliports are one of two types: public use or prior permission required (PPR), also known as a private heliport. Both types can be used for either General Aviation (GA), which is the most common, or transport helicopters. Heliport specifics on both can be found in AC 150/5390‑2. The evaluator must determine if the heliport will be limited to PPR use or for public use, and if it is for GA or transport helicopters.
1) Public use heliports can be publicly or privately owned and can be used by any qualified pilot without requirements for prior approval from the owner or operator. The evaluator should consider the heliport facility requirements with regards to AC 150/5390‑2 if they are to be used in the pubic interest; e.g., air carrier usage.
2) A PPR heliport is developed for exclusive use of the owner and persons authorized by the owner. The heliport owner and operator should ensure that all pilots are thoroughly knowledgeable about the heliport (including such features as approach/departure path characteristics, preferred heading, facility limitations, lighting, obstacles in the area, size of the facility, etc.).
3) Heliports at hospitals should be treated as special cases because they are used by professional helicopter pilots providing a unique public service. Hospital heliports may be either PPR or public use. They are normally located in close proximity to a hospital emergency room or medical facility. Special considerations for standards relevant to a hospital heliport are found in AC 150/5390‑2.
B. Definitions and Elements of a Heliport. See Figure 8‑1B, Helipad Minimum Dimensions for General Aviation Heliports Job Aid, in this guidance for heliport layout and dimensions.
1) Heliport Location. Heliports may be located on the ground, water, rooftop level, or helideck.
2) Touchdown and Liftoff Area (TLOF). A TLOF is a load‑bearing helideck or helipad normally centered in the Final Approach and Takeoff Area (FATO) where the helicopter lands or takes off. The TLOF must be at least 1 times the rotor diameter of the design helicopter of intended use. Dimensions of the design helicopter are used to determine the size of the TLOF and can be found in Figure 8‑1, Helicopter Data Chart Job Aid, and Figure 8‑1A, Helicopter Dimension Data Job Aid, of this guidance.
3) FATO. A FATO is a defined area over which the final phase of the approach to a hover or a landing is completed and from which the takeoff is initiated. The FATO may include one or more TLOFs within its borders at which arriving helicopters terminate their approach in a hover or a landing. Objects or structures should be outside the FATO to permit at least one clear approach/takeoff path aligned with the prevailing winds. The FATO must be at least 1.5 times the overall length of the design helicopter (the helicopter, usually the largest for which the helipad was designed) of intended use. Dimensions of the design helicopter are used to determine the size of the FATO and can be found in Figures 8‑1 and 8‑1A.
4) Safety Area. The safety area is a defined area on a heliport surrounding the FATO, intended to reduce the risk of damage to helicopters accidentally diverging from the FATO. The actual width of the safety area is determined by the ultimate use of the heliport and the suggested dimensions can be found in AC 150/5390‑2.
NOTE: The FATO and the safety area must be free and clear of objects such as parked helicopters, buildings, fences, or objects that could be struck by the main or tail rotor or catch the skids of an arriving or departing helicopter. The safety area may have frangible mounted objects required for Air Navigation (AN) purposes.
5) Protection Zone. A protection zone is an area off the end of the FATO and under the approach/takeoff path, established to provide for the protection of people and property on the ground. The protection zone is the area under the 8:1 approach/departure surface starting at the FATO perimeter and extending out for a distance of 280 feet (400 feet for transport helicopters). The heliport proponent should own or control the property containing the protection zone. This control should include the ability to clear incompatible objects and to preclude the congregation of people. For PPR heliports, a protection zone is optional.
6) Approach/Takeoff Path. The approach/takeoff path, also known as the ingress/egress routes for the heliport, has a clear slope free of objects. The clear slope is an imaginary 8:1 slope (8 units horizontal and 1 unit vertical, or 7.125 degrees) surface centered on the approach/takeoff path and conforms to the dimensions of part 77 subpart C, Obstruction Standards. The slope can be determined by the use of an inclinometer. The actual dimensions of the approach/takeoff path can be found in AC 150/5390‑2.
a) Approach/takeoff paths should avoid congested areas, heavily populated urban areas, existing air traffic operations, or environmentally sensitive areas. The function is to enhance the protection of persons and property on the ground, to permit the clearing of incompatible objects, or to exclude congregations of persons or activities from the approach/takeoff surface. Approach/takeoff paths may curve to avoid objects and/or noise‑sensitive areas. In many situations, portions of the approach/takeoff paths can use the airspace existing above public lands and waters, freeways, streets, parks, rivers, and lakes.
NOTE: There is currently no guidance on curved approach/takeoff paths.
b) Public use heliports should have more than one approach/takeoff path aligned as nearly as possible with the prevailing winds. Public use heliports should have an 8:1 sloped approach/takeoff path protection zone to a distance of 4,000 feet from the forward edge of the FATO.
c) A PPR use heliport will have at least one approach/takeoff path. It is recommended that a second approach/takeoff path (when site conditions permit) will provide an additional safety margin as well as operational flexibility.
8-214 REFERENCES, FORMS, AND JOB AIDS.
A. References (current editions):
· Title 14 CFR parts 1, 77, and 157;
· Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem Procedures Manual (PPM);
· AC 20‑35, Tiedown Sense;
· AC 70/7460‑1, Obstruction Marking and Lighting;
· AC 150/5020‑1, Noise Control and Compatibility Planning for Airports;
· AC 150/5190‑4, A Model Zoning Ordinance to Limit Height of Objects Around Airports;
· AC 150/5200‑30, Airport Winter Safety and Operations;
· AC 150/5230‑4, Aircraft Fuel Storage, Handling, and Dispensing on Airports;
· AC 150/5345‑27, Specification for Wind Cone Assemblies;
· AC 150/5345‑28, Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) Systems;
· AC 150/5345‑52, Generic Visual Glideslope Indicators (GVGI);
· AC 150/5390‑2, Heliport Design;
· AC 150/5390‑3, Vertiport Design;
· FAA Order 1050.1, Policies and Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts;
· FAA Order 5050.4, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Implementing Instructions for Airport Projects;
· FAA Order 7400.2, Procedures of Handling Airspace Matters;
· Office of Environment and Energy Noise Division (AEE‑100), Helicopter Noise Model;
· National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Pamphlet 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers;
· NFPA Pamphlet 403: Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire‑Fighting Services at Airports; and
· NFPA Pamphlet 418: Standard for Heliports.
C. Job Aids. Included in this guidance:
· Figure 8‑1, Helicopter Data Chart Job Aid;
· Figure 8‑1A, Helicopter Dimension Data Job Aid;
· Figure 8‑1B, Helipad Minimum Dimensions for General Aviation Heliports Job Aid;
· Figure 8‑1C, Heliport Evaluation Process Flow Chart (Normally Accomplish);
· Figure 8‑2, Heliport Evaluation Checklist Job Aid; and
· Figure 8‑2B, How to Determine Obstruction Height Job Aid.
8-215 GENERAL. Not applicable to PEPs. A flow chart is provided in Figure 8‑1C for informational purposes of the heliport evaluation process.
A. Request for Onsite Evaluation. The Airports Division (ADO) will enter the heliport information into the Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis (IOE/AAA) database as a Non‑Rulemaking Airport (NRA) action and the ADO or RFSD will forward the NRA to the FSDO requesting an onsite evaluation. The FSDO manager assigns an inspector to the evaluation task or requests the RFSD AWOPM for support. A helicopter operations inspector or the most qualified person (with respect to helicopter operations) should be assigned to evaluate the proposal.
B. Evaluation Reference Materials. To evaluate proposed and existing heliports and to resolve an applicant’s questions, the delegated inspector needs to be familiar with the contents of AC 150/5390‑2, FAA Order 7400.2, parts 77 and 157, and the guidance in this section.
C. Data Required. It is the responsibility of the FSDO to determine if helicopter flight operations can be conducted safely within specified current guidelines and regulations. The FSDO evaluates the suitability of the proposed or existing heliport and advises the RFSD AWOPM of the findings. For recording the factual data, Figure 8‑2 is provided in this guidance to assist the inspector on the heliport evaluation.
A. Open PTRS. Upon receipt of a heliport evaluation request, open a PTRS 1695 file.
B. Contact Applicant. Contact the applicant to ensure the following items have been completed or are being considered:
1) The appropriate building permit and zoning application approval from the local municipality, if applicable. Some communities have enacted zoning laws, building codes, and fire regulations that can impact heliport establishment and operation, so the applicant is encouraged to contact the local zoning authorities and inform them of the proposed heliport.
2) The appropriate approval from the State aviation authorities (AA), if applicable. Many State AAs require prior approval or licensing for the establishment and operation of a heliport, so the applicant is encouraged to contact the State AA to inform them of the proposed heliport.
3) The designation of the responsible agent for completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been addressed in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1. Contact the RFSD AWOPM if there are any questions on this issue.
C. Application Review. The evaluator reviews and confirms the details on FAA Form 7480‑1 for accuracy and completeness by conducting an onsite evaluation. The evaluator may use Figure 8‑2, to help in confirming and recording the details of the evaluation. The following are guidelines for the required sections on the FAA Form 7480‑1:
1) Section A. Determine that the geographic coordinates shown on FAA Form 7480‑1 are the same as the actual location. Use of a GPS receiver is necessary to determine the latitude/longitude (in degrees, minutes, and seconds), elevation, and distance/direction information for the heliport. If there is a large discrepancy between the actual coordinates and FAA Form 7480‑1, the evaluator should make note of this on the checklist job aid and consult with the RFSD AWOPM.
2) Section B. Determine the proposed use and type design helicopter to be used. Public use or PPR (private) use determines the standards for dimensional requirements.
3) Section C. Consider other visual flight rules (VFR) of landing areas located within 5 nautical miles (NM) of the proposed site and instrument flight rules (IFR) of airports/heliports within 20 NMs. Use of an aviation GPS receiver can be used to determine this information.
4) Section D. Using Figures 8‑1 and 8‑1A, determine the design helicopter size of intended use for designed surface, FATO area, TLOF areas, approach/takeoff paths, and safety protection zones, as required.
a) Determine suitability of site location with regard to approach/takeoff paths.
b) Verify that the dimensions of the FATO listed in Section D2 of FAA Form 7480‑1 are equal to or larger than the dimensions shown in the design criteria of AC 150/5390‑2.
c) Verify that the dimensions of the TLOF listed in Section D2 of FAA Form 7480‑1 are equal to or larger than the dimensions shown in the design criteria of AC 150/5390‑2. The minimum TLOF dimensions should be equivalent to the rotor diameter of the design helicopter of intended use. Refer to AC 150/5390‑2 for specific dimensions and requirements on unique helipads; e.g., elevated heliports, heliports used by transport helicopters, or PPR heliports that are partially paved.
d) Confirm the type of surface of the touchdown area listed in Section D2 of FAA Form 7480‑1.
e) Verify that the information provided is enough to advise the applicant of the suitability of the proposed landing surface, and ensure that the applicant is aware of the following penalties or advantages associated with various TLOF surfaces:
1. Loose surface(s) (gravel, dirt, etc.) may cause visibility problems or foreign object damage (FOD) to the engines or blades;
2. Soft asphalt may cause dynamic roll‑over; and/or
3. Soft surfaces may contain ruts or surface irregularities.
f) A general inspection of the heliport should be completed and any of the following miscellaneous items annotated if applicable:
· Wire marking;
· Wind direction indicators/windsock;
· Rescue and firefighting equipment and access;
· Security, including fences, personnel safety devices, nets, if elevated, escape netting, and evacuation routes;
· Parking, access gates, signs;
· Surface markings (do the heliport’s construction, markings, and safety features meet the requirements of AC 150/5390‑2 criteria);
· Communications systems, equipment, and procedures;
· Fueling systems, equipment, markings, signs, and fencing;
· Is Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) equipment nearby;
· Taxiway/taxi routes;
· Heliport parking;
· Heliport markers and marking;
· Heliport lighting;
· Marking and lighting of obstructions;
· Safety enhancements;
· Personnel access and control;
· Anything noteworthy of the TLOF, FATO, safety area, and the approach/takeoff paths; and
· Zoning and compatible land use consideration.
NOTE: Contact the RFSD AWOPM if there are any questions on any of the above subjects or issues.
g) Determine the adequacy of lighting, if any, for the intended operation and direction of prevailing winds. Prevailing winds may be determined through contact with the National Weather Service (NWS) or other appropriate source.
5) Section E. Determine if a visual inspection of the proposed area is necessary to confirm obstructions that may affect operations. Log the type of obstruction and height above the helipad that is within 5,000 feet and which penetrate the 25:1 surface (2 degrees elevation). Use of an inclinometer, laser range finder, scientific calculator, and the job aids found in this guidance can be used to accurately determine obstructions and their height. See Figure 8‑2A and Figure 8‑2B for help on the obstruction calculations.
Figure 8-2A, Obstructions to Annotate
6) Section F. Determine if the applicant’s projected information is suitable. The weight‑bearing capacity of the landing area should be no less than 1.5 times the maximum gross landing weight of the design helicopter of intended use. The applicant is responsible for the structural integrity of the landing area. The applicant should consult with a contractor or architect to ensure that elevated or rooftop landing sites are capable of supporting a landing helicopter with adequate safety margin.
7) Section G.
a) List schools, churches, and residential communities within 1 NM. Hospitals and wildlife areas are also noted due to the noise sensitivity issue. Although potential noise‑sensitive areas are not safety related, the applicant needs to know of them so that the helicopter operators are aware of the areas and try to avoid them whenever possible.
b) FAA Order 1050.1, AC 150/5020‑1, and the Helicopter Noise Model, available from the Office of Environment and Energy Noise Division (AEE‑100), can provide the applicant with additional information.
8) Section H. It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain the required State and local permits, authorizations, and licensing. Zoning ordinances and local permits are not a Federal issue and are handled by the State and local government, but the applicant is encouraged to coordinate with the State and local authorities for heliport establishment and operation.
9) Section I. Check for completeness.
D. Submit Report.
1) Submit the completed report, including the checklist and completed evaluation to the RFSD AWOPM with one of the following conclusions and statements:
a) “No objection.” It will not adversely affect the safe and efficient use of airspace by aircraft.
b) “No objection with provisions.” It will not adversely affect the safe and efficient use of airspace by aircraft provided (give conditions). The following are examples (but not all) of provisions and recommendations:
1. “We have no objection for this heliport provided:
· All helicopter approach/departure route operations are conducted in an area from ____ degrees clockwise to ___ degrees using the touchdown pad as the center of a compass rose.
· All operations are conducted in VFR weather conditions, and
· The landing area is limited to PPR use (if applicable).
· The takeoff/landing area is appropriately marked.
· A non‑obstructing wind indicator is maintained adjacent to the takeoff/landing area.
· The landing area is constructed in accordance with AC 150/5390‑2.
· The heliport proponent will reexamine obstacles in the vicinity of the approach/departure paths on an annual basis in accordance with AC 150/5390‑2. Any new obstacles noted will be forwarded to the appropriate airport district office (ADO) or RFSD.”
2. “We recommend:
· No night helicopter operations are conducted unless the takeoff/landing area and wind indicator are lighted and a heliport identification beacon is installed;
· Unauthorized persons are restrained from access to the takeoff/landing area during helicopter flight operations by use of a non‑obstructing safety barrier;
· Fire protection is provided, if required, in accordance with the NFPA, local fire code and AC 150/5390‑2;
· The proponent refers to AC 150/5390‑2 in establishing an acceptable level of safety for helicopter operations at this heliport;
· Approach and departure paths from heliports should meet the standards depicted in AC 150/5390‑2; and/or
· A representative of Flight Standards Service (AFS) evaluates the heliport for compliance prior to operational use.”
c) “Objection.” It will adversely affect the safe and efficient use of airspace by aircraft (give reasons).
2) Submit any comments or recommendations to provide continuity, to recommend good operating practices, or to enhance safety in the report to the RFSD AWOPM.
3) Include a statement on the report to show that a recommendation is not a condition of objection, but is an option left to the discretion of the applicant.
4) Inspectors should cite any safety‑related conditions and limitations to the RFSD, which will become part of the RFSD’s response to the ADO.
E. Close PTRS. Not applicable to PEPs.
8-217 TASK OUTCOMES. Completion of this task results in:
· A completed safety evaluation;
· Submittal of the evaluation report to the RFSD AWOPM; and
· Retention of a copy of the completed safety evaluation in the office files.
8-218 FUTURE ACTIVITIES.
· Future surveillance for work plans.
· Evaluation of heliport for modifications or additional uses.
Figure 8-1C, Heliport Evaluation Process Flow Chart (Normally Accomplish)
Figure 8-1, Helicopter Data Chart Job Aid
NOTE: Figures 8‑1 and 8‑1A contain selected helicopter data needed by a heliport designer. The data represent the most critical weight, dimensional, or other data entry for that helicopter model, recognizing that specific versions of the model may weigh less, be smaller in some feature, carry fewer passengers, etc. There is also a list of helicopter dimensions in AC 150/5390‑2, appendix 1. Figure 8‑1A may not have the most current model of helicopters, and if more specific data is needed, the helicopter manufacturer should be contacted.
Figure 8-1A, Helicopter Dimension Data Job Aid
Figure 8-1B, Helipad Minimum Dimensions for General Aviation Heliports Job Aid
Figure 8-2B, How to Determine Obstruction Height Job Aid
1. This job aid is to assist the evaluator in how to calculate the height of obstacles around the heliport. Due to the differences in equipment operation, this is not intended to teach how to use the inclinometer or laser range finder. This job aid is also not intended to be the only way to assess obstacle heights but does show an easy, accurate way of doing so.
2. Start by standing in the center of the heliport. It helps if you are able to make a rough sketch of the layout of obstacles and surrounding features of the helipad. This is also a good time to get the latitude/longitude position from the Global Positioning System (GPS), log the radial and distance of nearby airports (if the GPS has that function), and take digital photos.
3. Evaluate each obstacle (or groups) that penetrate the 25:1 surface (2 degrees elevation) out to a distance of 5,000 feet of the heliport and recording the bearing from the compass.
4. The laser range finder will help determine the range to an obstacle. Note that most range finders read in meters or yards, so you must convert to feet to get the proper calculations.
5. By using the inclinometer from the center of the helipad, you can determine the angle from you to the very top of the obstacle. This angle must be converted to a Tangent to complete the trigonometry function; this can be done with a scientific calculator by typing the angle and pressing the “function” key; e.g., 24 degrees tangent would be .445.
6. The formula for finding the height of an obstacle is: tangent x distance to the obstacle (in feet) = height (in feet).
NOTE: Sample problem: .445 x 600 feet = 267 feet. (See example below.)
Figure 8-2, Heliport Evaluations Checklist Job Aid
NOTE: Use this checklist to complete and confirm correct data on the FAA Form 7480‑1.
NRA Tracking Number _____________________
1. Heliport Design:
A. Permanent _____ Temporary _____
B. Ground Level Heliport __ Water Heliport___ Ship/Barge Heliport__ Elevated___
C. Design Helicopter to Use the Heliport __________________________________
2. Proponent Contact Information:
A. Name __________________________________________________________
B. Address ________________________________________________________
C. Telephone Number ________________________________________________
D. E‑mail Address __________________________________________________
3. Location of Heliport:
A. Street Address ___________________ City _______________ State _______
B. Latitude _______________ Longitude ______________ Elevation ______________
NOTE: Use GPS to confirm the latitude/longitude/elevation. Conduct by making an onsite analysis.
4. Type of Use:
A. Public Use _____ Private (PPR) _____ Private Use of Public Land/Waters____
B. General Aviation Heliport q Transport Heliport q
C. Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Use
D. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Use (Identify Approach)
5. Communication Plan: q Yes q No
6. Dimensions of Touchdown and Liftoff Area (TLOF) for Proposed Helicopter Operations:
7. Dimensions of Final Approach and Takeoff Area (FATO) for Proposed Helicopter Operations:
8. Dimensions of Safety Area for Proposed Helicopter Operations:
9. Suitability of Approach/Takeoff Paths: q Yes q No
NOTE: Confirm the 8:1 slope (7.125 degrees) is satisfactory from the forward edge of the FATO to 4,000 feet. For 8:1 slopes that require termination at a hover height other than landing on the helipad, mitigate the reason for the termination.
10. Type of Surface: q Concrete q Asphalt q Metal q Water q Wood
11. Weight Limitation _______________
12. Approved Heliport Markings: q Yes q No
13. Description of Lighting (Diagram):
A. Advisory Circular (AC) Recommended Lighting: q Yes q No
B. Are Night Vision Goggle (NVG) Operations Planned? q Yes q No q Unknown
C. Does the Heliport have a Heliport Beacon? q Yes q No q Not Required
14. Does the Heliport have Fire Protection? q Yes q No q Not Required
A. Describe the Kind of Protection __________________
B. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 418 Approved: q Yes q No
15. Wind Direction Indicator.
A. Does the Heliport Have a Wind Direction Indicator? ____ Yes ____ No
B. Describe the Kind of Indicator _______________________________________
16. Other Landing Areas in the Vicinity (if within 5 nautical space (NM) of site):
A. Name/Location Identifier/Type of Facility (i.e., Airport, Seaplane, Heliport):
B. Direction from Heliport Site _________________________
C. Distance from Heliport Site _________________________
NOTE: Use a continuation sheet if there are others.
NOTE: Use a continuation sheet if there are others.
NOTE: Use a continuation sheet if there are others.