Helicopter WAAS LPV Development

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With the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) under so much scrutiny it's worth noting that technology and procedures are under development to make these and other helicopter operations safer. Among the systems being successfully deployed is wide area augmentation system localizer performance with vertical guidance (WAAS LPV) for helicopters. Although WAAS LPV is becoming common at airports all over the U.S., Hickok and Associates, of Orange Beach, Ala., is developing it where helicopters need it most, at the hospitals and other off-airport sites they customarily serve.

Hickok and Associates says it's the only company doing this kind of work and it now has seven of these highly specialized approaches approved by the FAA. An example is the approach to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center developed for CALSTAR, a major provider of HEMS in California. IMC severely restricted the utility of CALSTAR's service to the Ukiah hospital because the localizer/DME minimums at the local airport are 1,106 feet AGL and 1.25 statute miles. The new GPS-based approach has minimums of 364 feet height above landing (HAL) and .75 statute miles to the hospital's helipad. Hickok and Associates has developed procedures all over the country, including United Technologies' (Sikorsky) heliport in Farmington, N.Y.