Things last when they are taken care of. The same applies if you own a helicopter and heliport. Therefore, heliport facility maintenance is critical to safety. Whether the facility is for a corporate organization, hospital, or private use, following the proper maintenance guidelines will ensure the facility services you adequately and remains safe.
Heliports should be inspected regularly, and some of the things you should be looking at include the presence of debris, the evenness of the surface, markings, and lighting, to mention a few. Here are some heliport maintenance tips to ensure the facility is usable all year round.
1. Ensure the lighting is functioning properly
Lighting is a critical component of a heliport’s layout. Thanks to solutions such as Signalight heliport lighting products, heliport owners and operators have ensured their facilities have reliable lighting.
Regular inspection and maintenance of the facility’s lighting systems will ensure safe landing and takeoff of the aircraft. Ensure that the available power system is adequately serving the lighting solutions. If your grid is not reliable, connect renewable energy power so that the heliport has adequate illumination 24/7.
If your heliport’s lighting system can be controlled remotely by the pilot, ensure that it is in good order, and do software updates on the system if they are available. As the lenses get older, the quality of light emitted can be compromised. It is therefore essential to be alert to the need to replace the lenses and other parts that may affect the performance of the lights.
You can reach out to Award-winning VISTA heliport lighting solutions specialists to evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions in place. After inspection, they can recommend products and kits ideal for your situation. Signalight is a renowned lighting specialist who provides big projects like the Maaden gold mining heliport with quality lighting products.
2. Ensure the heliport is clear of debris
Regular cleaning and clearing of debris or foreign objects on the facility will go a long way in creating a stable and safe landing area for a helicopter. For one, if the facility is filled with dust, the visual orientation of the pilot will be compromised. Also, note that the rotor downwash will create a cloud of dust which will obscure the pilot’s optical path.
More so, having sand and dust on the ground creates a safety risk for the ground crew. They are very likely to get sandblasted. In addition, with the presence of sand and debris on the heliport, brownout caused by the rotor can cause wear and tear of the engine.
If you have not constructed a pad, it is advisable to leverage a specially woven fabric to create a smooth surface that will double as a pad. This will improve the ground by covering dust and sand.
Cleaning a heliport has benefits for the safety of the ground crew, makes the job easier for the pilot and also, enhances the longevity of the aircraft’s engine.
3. Ensure the marking is visible
Just like on the roads, after the time of use, the heliport’s marking fades. So while doing your regular inspection, this is one of the areas to pay attention to. The heliport’s pad must be marked, with the letter “H” aligned with your preferred direction of landing and takeoff.
It is usually recommended that the marking’s orientation faces the magnetic North. While you are often free to choose the marking color, bright colors are recommended. For instance, the letter “H” in white and outlined with a red border will significantly increase the visibility and highlight the orientation.
The other area that requires to be marked is the perimeter of the helipad surface. Again, the marking color should contrast with that of the surrounding surface.
4. Snow and ice control
Snow and ice are headaches you will have to deal with regularly. While it is often challenging to have full control over its build-up. It is essential to find ways to limit it. For example, some heliport owners usually integrate radiant heating systems to keep the heliport surface warm and clear of snow.
Some modern heliports have modern controls that allow the users and pilots to heat the heliport and pad when temperatures drop below the freezing point to discourage snow and ice buildup.
You can engage a professional to advise you on integrating heaters into your heliport lighting fixtures. Remember that if snow covers the lighting fixtures, the space’s lighting will be impaired. Integration of heaters into the fixtures will go a long way in preventing the snow from obstructing the lights.
A heliport needs regular maintenance like roads, airports, and parking spaces. Routine inspection of the facility will help you identify areas that need improvement and products that need fixing or replacement.
Maintenance will make the facility safer and make your heliport last longer and protect your aircraft from damage.