Compatible Land Use for Heliports and Vertiports A Safety Perspective

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David Ison


Airport land use planning is crucial for safety, long-term utility, and environmental congruity. While there have been a number of studies of aircraft accidents in reference to runways for the purposes of safety and land use standards, little research exists on safety and land use compatibility for heliports and no such data exists for vertiports. This study aimed to provide a better understanding of safety and land use issues near heliports through a focus on the geographic distribution of helicopter accidents in relation to the point of takeoff or landing. The findings of this study provide initial guidance for the design of land use compatibility and safety zones pertaining to heliports and how these can be adapted to vertiports. Accident data exhibited a stochastic spatial pattern of accident occurrences, with the highest concentration occurring within a proximity of 40 feet from the designated takeoff/landing location. Almost all (90%) accidents took place within 400 feet of the takeoff/landing reference point. Sizes and shapes of safety and land use zones are outlined. Recommendations for future studies are also provided.

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