Copters to return after helipad upgrade

Work is underway to upgrade the helipad at St. Joseph’s General Hospital, which hopes to be accommodating single-engine helicopters by the end of March.

Upgrading this helipad means single-engine helicopters will again be authorized to land at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. Photo by Lindsay Chung

Upgrading this helipad means single-engine helicopters will again be authorized to land at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. Photo by Lindsay Chung

Work is underway to upgrade the helipad at St. Joseph’s General Hospital, which hopes to be accommodating single-engine helicopters by the end of March.

“We are reconfiguring our helipad to conform to the new standards of Transport Canada and expect to have that work done before the end of March, at which time we’re hopeful new helicopters will be in service and can once again land at St. Joseph’s,” said Michael Pontus, the hospital’s president and CEO.

Work includes extending the helipad, putting in a “very significant” directional sign and putting in lighting according to new specifications, explained Pontus.

The helipad at St. Joseph’s was downgraded early last year to an H1 helipad, which cannot be used by single-engine helicopters.

Heliports are classified in accordance with the performance requirements of the helicopters using the helipad, according to Transport Canada.

Helicopters permitted to use an H1 heliport must be multi-engined and, at any time during approach or takeoff, be capable of remaining at least 15 feet above all obstacles within the approach/departure area and either land safely at the helipad or safely fly to an appropriate emergency landing area in the case of an engine failure.

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