Helipaddy Community, Site Owners

A Site Owner’s Guide to Helicopters

S = Shape

Quick answer: notify pilots if you have constraints on the approach direction which effectively reduces the size of the landing area.

In most situations, the landing area will not be circular or there will be noise abatement areas so the shape will introduce constraints on the approach direction.  Helicopter pilots will always try and avoid downwind approaches as these can reduce lift quite dramatically which means missed approaches are unmanageable. 

Site owners should make themselves aware of the prevailing wind direction at their site as most landings will be into it (e.g. towards the South West in northern Europe). Owners can advise pilots if there are helpful weather vanes or windsocks or just advise the wind strength and direction at the time.

Sometimes the wind direction and speed will mean that the preferred approach direction in terms of trees may not be the best. They will opt for a double angle approach or in the worst case a vertical approach.

It goes without saying that site owners expecting helicopters at night must give extremely accurate 3-dimensional descriptions of size, surround and shape.  Lighting is a legal requirement for commercial operations.

Sites that are located at high altitude, especially in warm temperatures should bear in mind that helicopters have less lift so negative factors are amplified.

Here is a landing site with an approach in only one possible direction.