Staff Instruction (SI) No. 305-001

Aerial Assessment Requirements Prior to Heliport Certification

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Issuing Office: Standards Document No.: SI 305-001
File Classification No.: Z 5000-32 Issue No.: 01
RDIMS No.: 8671580-V3 Effective Date: 2014-04-14

1.0 INTRODUCTION

  • (1) This Staff Instruction (SI) is provided for information and guidance purposes. It describes an example of an acceptable means, but not the only means, of demonstrating compliance with regulations and standards. This SI on its own does not change, create, amend or permit deviations from regulatory requirements, nor does it establish minimum standards.

1.1 Purpose

  • (1) The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to Transport Canada Civil Aviation Inspectors involved in the initial certification phase of heliports specifically as to how and when an aerial assessment needs to be conducted.

1.2 Applicability

  • (1) This document applies to TCCA Inspectors involved in heliport certification and can be used as reference by heliport applicants and operators.

1.3 Description of Changes

  • (1) Not applicable.

2.0 REFERENCES AND REQUIREMENTS

2.1 Reference Documents

  • (1) It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:
    • (a) Aeronautics Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-2);
    • (b) Part III, Subpart 05 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) — Heliports and associated Heliport Standards (CARs 325);
    • (c) Heliport and Helideck Standards and Recommended Practices (TP 2586) – Third Edition – April 1985;
    • (d) Procedures for the Certification of Aerodromes as Airports (TP 7775) – Second Edition – March 1991;
    • (e) Aerodrome Inspection & Guidelines Manual (TP 13220) – Amendment No. 1 dated 21 November 2000.

2.2 Cancelled Documents

  • (1) Not applicable.
  • (2) By default, it is understood that the publication of a new issue of a document automatically renders any earlier issues of the same document null and void.

2.3 Definitions and Abbreviations

  • (1) The following definitions are used in this document:
    • (a) Approach/departure path means an area consisting of a quadrilateral area on the surface of the earth lying directly below the approach/take-off surface;
    • (b) Emergency landing area means an area where an unavoidable landing or ditching may take place with a reasonable expectancy of no injury to persons or damage to property on the surface;
    • (c) Heliport means an aerodrome in respect of which a heliport certificate issued under Subpart 5 of Part III is in force;
    • (d) Obstacle means an object that could have an adverse effect on the safe operation of aircraft in flight or on the ground.
  • (2) The following abbreviations are used in this document:
    • (a) ASD: Aircraft Services Directorate;
    • (b) CAR: Canadian Aviation Regulations
    • (c) FAA: Federal Aviation Administration;
    • (d) FATO: Final Approach and Take-off Area;
    • (e) HEMS: Helicopter Emergency Medical Services;
    • (f) OLS: Obstacle limitation surfaces;
    • (g) TCCA: Transport Canada Civil Aviation;
    • (h) UK CAA: UK Civil Aviation Authority.

3.0 BACKGROUND

3.1 Heliport Classification

  • (1) Heliports are classified by the obstacle environment within which the heliport is located, and the availability of suitable emergency landing areas. The obstacle environment and the availability of suitable emergency landing areas will dictate the performance capabilities required by the helicopter using the heliport.
  • (2) A non-instrument heliport is classified H1 where the heliport has no suitable emergency landing areas within 625 m from the FATO;
  • (3) A non-instrument heliport is classified H2 where the height of obstacles infringe the first section of the approach and take-off surface as set out in Table 4-1 (CARs 325.29) however there are reachable emergency landing areas within 625 m of the FATO in relation to the altitude of the helicopter and its performance with one engine inoperative;
  • (4) And a non-instrument heliport is classified H3 where the height of obstacles do not penetrate any of the obstacle limitation surface (OLS) requirements set out in Table 4-1 and there are reachable landing areas within 625 m of the FATO in relation to the altitude of the helicopter and its performance during autorotation.

3.2 Helicopter Performance Requirements

  • (1) Helicopters permitted to use an H1 heliport shall be multi-engined and capable of remaining at least 4.5 m (15 feet) above all obstacles within the approach/departure area when operated in accordance with their Aircraft Flight Manual with one engine inoperative (CAR 325.19(2)(a)).
  • (2) Helicopters permitted to use an H2 heliport shall be multi-engined (CAR 325.19(2)(b)).

3.3 Establishment of Obstacle Limitation Surfaces

  • (1) The length of the approach/departure path for H2 and H3 heliports is measured in a horizontal plane consisting of two sections with a combined length of 1075 m. This area would be assessed for obstacles. The assessment area for obstacles at a H1 heliport extends to the point beyond where no obstacles would adversely affect safety or to 625 m in length, whichever is less.

3.4 Assessment of Visual Aids for Denoting Obstacles

  • (1) Obstacles located within the perimeter of the heliport and in the immediate vicinity may be required to be marked or lighted. Marking and/or lighting is dependent upon location, shielding provided from other fixed objects, ambient lighting and the nature of the obstacle. The area of assessment is 150 m around the heliport and 30 m each side of the outer limits of the approach/take-off surface out to 1000 m. Further details are depicted in Figure 6-1 (CAR 325.37).

4.0 AERIAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS

4.1 TCCA Inspector Responsibilities

  • (1) In order to issue a heliport certificate, TCCA Inspectors must ensure that the applicable heliport regulations and standards have been met. Historically, initial aerial assessments were conducted by TCCA Inspectors in TC (ASD) helicopters and were conducted to confirm the location, availability and suitability of emergency landing areas, as these areas were not always visible from the heliport surface. The aerial assessment was also carried out to locate obstructions that may create a hazard for the helicopter and which may require markings and/or lightings around the heliport.
  • (2) A ground assessment starts at the surface level of the heliport. This is done to determine the location, availability and suitability of emergency landing areas. For example, it may be clear that no emergency landing areas exist and as such the heliport will be classified H1. Conversely, a heliport may be easily assessed for H3 approaches. The initial surface level assessment may also determine what obstacles need to be marked or lighted. However, an accurate assessment is not always obvious from the ground, especially at H2 or H3 heliports. At this point an aerial assessment may be required.
  • (3) The marking and lighting of obstacles is intended to reduce hazards to aircraft by indicating their presence. If the heliport is to be certified for night operations, a night aerial assessment may be required to verify the location and visibility of these obstacles. Additionally, the assessment may be used to verify the conformity of the lights, signs, approach lights and visual aids at the heliport. A check for light interference and potential visual illusion from a user’s perspective should also be considered.
  • (4) The final decision as to whether an aerial assessment is required rests with the TCCA inspector conducting the initial certification for the heliport.

4.2 Heliport Applicant/Operator (Designer) Responsibilities

  • (1) With the recent directive change of ASD, the use of a TCCA helicopter for aerial assessments is no longer an option available for initial assessment prior to certification of heliports.
  • (2) The responsibility for obtaining a suitable helicopter and crew for the aerial assessment portion of an initial certification will now belong to the heliport applicant/operator/designer. Costs associated with the hiring of the appropriate helicopter will be the responsibility of the heliport applicant. However, a TCCA inspector will still be required to be onboard to conduct the actual aerial assessment.
  • (3) The responsibility for costs associated with an aerial assessment has been applied in many other regulatory environments within the FAA, the UK CAA and in several TCCA functional areas including instrument procedure design validation.
  • (4) The costs associated with the requirement for a TCCA inspector to be present during the initial aerial assessment will be that of TCCA only, as a cost recovery process is not available under Part III of the CARs.
  • (5) Heliport operators are required to continuously monitor (after obtaining a heliport certificate) the obstacle environment and the availability of suitable emergency landing areas around the heliport. If the operating conditions change such that they cannot be assessed from the surface level of the heliport, further aerial assessments may be required in order to maintain certification of the heliport. Helicopter costs associated with these additional aerial assessments will be the responsibility of the heliport operator (certificate holder).

5.0 HELICOPTER COMPANY REQUIREMENTS

5.1 Minimum Helicopter Company Requirements

  • (1) Helicopter companies providing aerial (flight) assessment services to heliport applicant/operators/designers should be familiar with urban heliport operations, including surface level and roof-top operations. The helicopter company will be responsible for obtaining any TCCA authorizations needed for either low level inspection flights or for a temporary landing at a non-certified heliport within a built up area of a city or town. Costs associated with the helicopter operation are the responsibility of the heliport applicant/operator/designer. Where deemed acceptable by TCCA, heliport operators may use their own helicopter or any other provider, such as, a HEMS operator.

5.2 Minimum Crew Qualifications

  • (1) The pilot-in-command needs to be in possession of a valid Canadian Commercial Pilot License - Helicopter Category and a valid Restricted Radio-Telephone Operator Certificate (endorsed Aeronautical). The pilot-in-command (PIC) would be required to meet all of the TCCA requirements applicable for the type of flight required for the aerial assessment process (i.e. night operations), and it is recommended that the PIC have a minimum of 3,000 hours total flying time. The minimum hours are consistent with the experience level required of TCCA pilot inspectors.

5.3 Minimum Helicopter Specifications

  • (1) The helicopter supplied for the aerial assessment will be turbine powered and be multi-engined if used for night inspections or for assessment of H1 or H2 heliports. Multi-engined helicopters used for the aerial assessment of H1 heliports which may require the landing or take-off from the H1 heliport, must be capable of remaining at least 4.5 m (15 feet) above all obstacles within the approach/departure area when operated in accordance with their Aircraft Flight Manual with one engine inoperative.

6.0 SUMMARY

  • (1) TCCA Inspectors must ensure that the applicable heliport regulations and standards have been met. An initial aerial assessment conducted by a TCCA Inspectors may be required to confirm the location, availability and suitability of emergency landing areas, which are not always visible from the heliport surface. The aerial assessment may also be used to locate obstructions which may require markings and/or lightings around the heliport.
  • (2) The responsibility for obtaining a suitable helicopter and crew for the aerial assessment portion of an initial certification is that of the heliport applicant/operator/designer. Costs associated with the hiring of the appropriate helicopter will be the responsibility of the applicant.
  • (3) The final decision as to whether an aerial assessment is required and the suitability of the helicopter operator [providing flight services] rests with the TCCA inspector conducting the initial certification for the heliport.

7.0 INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

  • (1) Not applicable.

8.0 DOCUMENT HISTORY

  • (1) Not applicable.

9.0 CONTACT OFFICE

  • For more information, please contact the appropriate TCCA Regional Office - Aerodromes:

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/regions.htm

    Suggestions for amendment to this document are invited, and should be submitted via:

    AARTinfodoc@tc.gc.ca

    [original signed by]

    Aaron McCrorie
    Director, Standards
    Civil Aviation

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