Landing Zone Information

Please see below for landing zone requirements and safety:

  • Determine if the area is large enough to land a helicopter safely. The touchdown area should be 60 X 60 feet during the day and 100 X 100 feet at night.
  • The landing site should be clear of people, vehicles, obstructions such as trees, poles and wires. Keep in mind that wires cannot be seen from the air. The landing site must be free of stumps, brush, posts and large rocks. Generally speaking, recently plowed fields should not be a first choice as the stretcher wheels will bog down into the soft soil and require more personnel to move and load into the aircraft.
  • Consider wind direction as helicopters land and take off into the wind. The approach and departure path should be clear of obstructions, including ground personnel and apparatus. If there are obstructions in and around the landing zone, advise the crew on the radio when the LZ report is given.
  • Mark the four corners of the landing zone. Road flares are an intense source of ignition and must be closely managed. Other light sources are preferred if available. At night, assure that spotlights, floodlights, and hand lights used to define the area are not pointed toward the helicopter. Turn off non-essential lights. White light ruins the pilot's night vision and temporarily blinds him. Red lights are very helpful in finding accident locations and do not affect the pilot's night vision.
  • Keep spectators at least 200 feet from the touchdown area and keep emergency service personnel at least 100 feet away. Have fire equipment standing by. Assure that everyone who will be working near the helicopter wears eye protection. If helmets are worn, chin straps must be securely fastened. Have firefighters wet down the touchdown area if it is extremely dusty, as well as any dry areas where road flares are going to be utilized to mark the landing zone.
  • The Flight Crew will contact the LZ Controller within 5 to 10 minutes prior to their arrival and request LZ information. The LZ controller should be standing by on a mobile radio to give the LZ report. Use of hand held radios is discouraged as this often leads to poor reception for the Flight Crew, due to Nightingale's distance, even when the LZ Controller has no problems receiving our traffic.
  • As the aircraft approaches, the LZ Controller should be ready to direct the aircraft if requested or the aircraft appears as it's headed somewhere other than the LZ. Simple directions should be use, for example.
  • Once the helicopter has landed, do not approach the helicopter. The flight crew will approach you when it is safe to do so.
  • The LZ controller should have one fire fighter staged off the nose of the aircraft who will serve as the initial point of contact for the flight crew. This fire fighter should have a portable radio to enable him/her to talk directly to the LZ controller, should additional resources be requested by the flight crew, and be prepared to assist the flight crew by providing security for the helicopter. If asked to provide security, do not allow anyone but the flight crew to approach the helicopter.
  • Once the patient is packaged and ready to load, allow the crew to select two or three personnel to assist loading. When approaching or departing the helicopter, always be aware of the tail rotor and always follow the flight crew's direction for your safety.
  • When working around helicopters, never approach from the rear. Always approach and depart the aircraft towards the front so you can see the pilot and he can see you. When approaching the helicopter, remember to keep low to avoid the main rotor because winds can cause the rotor to flex down.
  • If the helicopter is landed on a slope, approach and depart from the down-slope side only.
  • When the helicopter is loaded and ready for takeoff, keep the departure path free of vehicles and spectators. If an emergency were to occur, we would need this area to execute a landing.

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