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How to fly a helipad pattern?


Curyfury
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Airport: kprb, paso robles airport in california

 

The H on the helipad is offset from runway 19 by around 45 degrees, which is the calm wind runway and the winds were calm.

 

If you are flying right traffic for the helipad, do you align yourself for the downwind to parallel 19 or do you align yourself to approach the H on final straight on? The latter would mean that on the downwind, you would be flying away from the airport.

 

I know this may sound confusing, so looking at a satellite image of the airport may help.

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Stay away from airplanes and go straight to the pad. Or just ask Arnold (I forget his last name) or Jack Sinton down there and see what they usually do.

Edited by adam32
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The only thing the regs say is that helicopters are to avoid the flow of fixed-wing traffic. That's a very imprecise statement. Local knowledge is important, and if you don't have it, do what seems most logical and safest. Some airports have letters of agreement with operators which specify things like patterns and routes to/from the airport, but if you aren't a party to the LOA you're not bound by it, and can't be held to it.

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I would make my approach lined up with the H then after takeoff I'd turn parallel to 19 as well as make my downwind leg parallel 19, then just turn from downwind to final again lined up with the H. Patterns don't have to be rectangular.

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This is a joke, right? Aligning your departure and final approach with the orientation of the *letter* H on the ground?? If I were young and internet-savvy I would type "SMH" right here. You're in a helicopter. Unless there are local procedures that specify something else, you can take-off and land in any ol' direction (I prefer into the wind). You don't have to line up with a particular letter of the alphabet or the orientation of a triangle or anything else. Don't hit the airplanes, that is all.

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First of all, yes, as the above stated, land into the wind...from any direction you see fit... although I would not come in over the terminal building :)...This is in reference to just coming in to land "full stop" and then leaving later...If your doing pattern work you will probably want to do things a little different.

 

I have flown there / worked there quite a bit in the past so I have some experience with Heli operations there and although some may have changed, the standard for operating from the pads was to make your pattern aligned with the "H" as you put it, and fly right traffic... you can use this pattern for all three pads, the main pad and the two little ones to the east of it. You have enough room on take-off to make your x-wind turn before you encroach on rwy 19/1 so your clear of that... There is a packing house or plant of some type a little north of the airport and those guys get a little grumpy so you may want to avoid overflying that as well... Watch out for guys taking off 31 or landing 13 from time to time because some of them don't like to get on the radio... coming in from the south to north, fly same pattern with left traffic and just be careful because you will be crossing the departure end of 19... obviously avoid over flying buildings, but if you fly these patterns you will be clear of basically everything... Other than avoiding traffic, flying patterns to the heli-pad has zero to do with the orientation of 19/1

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This is a joke, right? Aligning your departure and final approach with the orientation of the *letter* H on the ground?? If I were young and internet-savvy I would type "SMH" right here. You're in a helicopter. Unless there are local procedures that specify something else, you can take-off and land in any ol' direction (I prefer into the wind). You don't have to line up with a particular letter of the alphabet or the orientation of a triangle or anything else. Don't hit the airplanes, that is all.

 

He asked about flying the pattern. Pattern work is for practice and always coming in on a direct headwind is well,...boring! Besides, one day he may have to land with a crosswind, may as well know how that feels?

:huh:

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