Helicopter Landing Zone Selection

Category: 
Aviation
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Oct 2019

 

Consider the following points when selecting a landing zone for a helicopter:

  • Locate a flat area that is of sufficient size for the helicopter you are expecting to land.
    • Type I – Clear and level touchdown pad measuring 30 feet by 30 feet; safety circle measuring 110 feet in diameter.
    • Type II – Clear and level touchdown pad measuring 20 feet by 20 feet; safety circle measuring 90 feet in diameter.
    • Type III – Clear and level touchdown pad measuring 15 feet by 15 feet; safety circle measuring 75 feet in diameter.
  • Choose an area clear of people, vehicles, and obstructions such as trees, poles, and especially overhead wires.
  • The area must be free of stumps, brush, posts, large rocks or anything over 18 inches high.
  • Consider the wind direction. Helicopters land and take off into the wind.
  • Choose an approach free of obstructions. Any obstruction should be relayed to the helicopter crew during initial radio contact.
  • Remove or secure any loose items in and around the landing area such as trash, blankets, hats, or equipment.
  • Wet down the landing area if dusty conditions are present.

 

Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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