Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
New safety codes announced for U.S. heliports

January 7, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 7, 2011, Long Branch, N.J. - The new 2011 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 418 standards, incorporated into most building codes, now require all future and upgraded heliports to meet FAA design guidelines in addition to numerous NFPA safety equipment, training and emergency plan requirements that all heliports must now meet.

Raymond A. Syms & Associates (RAS & A) has unveiled special low-cost Heliport Safety Compliance Inspections to help proactive safety-conscious heliport owners and operators identify their level of compliance with not only the new NFPA 418 rules and established good safety practices but also determine economical remedies for any out-of-compliance issues.

“Safety should be the number one priority of any heliport owner or operator and these new rules will bring safety into the spotlight for many heliports across the country. This heightened awareness and emphasis on safety also increases any heliport owner or operators liability exposure should a future accident or incident unfortunately occur,” said Ray Syms, president of RAS & A with more than 25 years of specialized heliport design and consulting experience. “The cost of confirming compliance or resolving any safety issues is significantly less than expense of even a minor accident.”

The new 2011 NFPA 418 Standard 4.2.2 states; “The design of the heliport, including all the aeronautical components, shall be in accordance with FAA AC 150/5390-2B Heliport Design Advisory Circular. The utilization of the word “shall” in the new regulation in essence requires mandatory compliance with the FAA’s Heliport Design Advisory Circular.  Heliport owners and operators can review the full text of the new NFPA standards, by visiting:http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=418.   Additionally, the text of the FAA Heliport Design AC can be found at http://www.faa.gov under advisory circulars.

The RAS & A in-depth safety inspection process reviews each individual heliport’s regulatory compliance with NFPA standards, and FAA, state and county guidelines, as well as operational and safety procedures in place for the heliport. The inspections include a thorough evaluation of the facility’s physical plant, design and functionality to including approach/departure paths.


A comprehensive audit report detailing the design, operational and development issues, suggested economical solutions to discovered issues, and overlay sketches outlining the heliport’s aeronautical compliance (and/or safety issues) are included with all Heliport Safety Compliance Inspections and can be used to verify compliance to building inspectors, zoning officials, insurance companies or even legal representatives in response to questions of safety.


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