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Heliport Design


The following information is for the preliminary planning of a public use, general aviation heliport only. FAA recommendations and standards for heliport design are found in Advisory Circular 150/5390-2C. While the Advisory Circular (AC) provides general design guidance, the AC is advisory only and doesn't mandate required practices. Flight Light recommends that anyone constructing or modifying a heliport should determine all site-specific requirements and consult with a local FAA representative.

The heliport should include at least one touchdown and lift-off area (TLOF) centered in a final approach and takeoff area (FATO), a peripheral safety area and two or more approach and departure paths. The TLOF must be at least as long and wide as the rotor diameter of the largest helicopter to use the heliport. The FATO must be at least 1.5 times the overall length of the helicopter. The width of the safety area must be at least 0.33 times the rotor diameter, but not less than 20 feet (6 m). At least two approach/departure paths, with one aligned in the direction of the predominant wind, are required.

Heliport Design Example 1
Heliport Design Example 2

Heliport Lights


Lighting
For night operations, the TLOF, FATO, taxiways, taxi routes, and windsock should be lighted. Other useful visual aids include: floodlights, taxiway lights, landing direction lights, a heliport identification beacon and a heliport approach path indicator (CHAPI). Obstruction lights must be installed where required to mark objects in close proximity to the approach/departure path.

FATO and TLOF Lights
A minimum of four flush or raised green light fixtures is recommended per side of a rectangular FATO and TLOF. A light is located at each corner with additional lights uniformly spaced between the corner lights with a maximum interval of 25 feet (7.5 m) between lights. Please note: since the FAA AC does not contain intensity standards, perimeter lights can't be FAA certified or deemed compliant.

Lighted Wind Indicator
An FAA L807 Size 1 (about 22 ft overall height with an 8 ft, international orange windsock) is recommended, or the L806 (10 ft tall) may be substituted. The L807 has a hinged pole and a rigid base, the L806 has a frangible base. The L807 must be outside the safety zone and away from flight paths.

Heliport Identification Beacon
Located within 1/4 mi of the heliport, three sealed beam lights rotate at 10 to 15 rpm to produce 30 to 45 fpm in white, green and yellow. A beacon using Morse code signals is also available.

Landing Direction Lights
To identify alignment of the approach route, a line of five L860 or L861 lights with omnidirectional green lenses are spaced at 15 ft (4.5 m) intervals.

Floodlights
Mounted on buildings or poles, elevated floodlights should illuminate all of the operational area and should be hooded to prevent upward glare that would hinder the vision of approaching pilots.

Taxiway Lights
Taxiway center lines are defined with semi-flush L852A and L852B bi-directional or unidirectional green lights spaced at 50 ft (15 m) intervals. Blue lights set at the same intervals are used to define the edges of the taxi route.

Obstruction Lights
Difficult-to-see objects shall be marked with a red FAA approved obstruction light. Contact the local FAA office with additional questions.

Visual Glide Path Indicator
The heliport approach path indicator (CHAPI) provides pilots with visual course and descent cues. The optimum location of a CHAPI is on the extended centerline of the approach path at a distance that brings the helicopter to a hover with the undercarriage between 3 and 8 feet (0.9 to 2.5 m) above the TLOF.


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