2. Operating Hours
Monday to Friday 08:00 – 19:00 (minimum of 4 hours’ notice required)
Saturdays and Sundays 09:00 - 17:30 (by prior arrangement 24 hours’ notice)
Public Holidays by arrangement (excluding Easter Sunday & Monday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve)
Extended Hours of Operation – the Heliport may, from time to time, also be used outside of the normal hours of operation, at an additional charge. If you have any questions regarding our operating hours, please contact us.
3. Operational Restrictions
Skyports London Heliport is an unlicensed heliport, with minimal RFFS facilities.
Skyports London Heliport follows a strict set of procedures, as set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”). Commercial (AOC) holders must have the ability to Hover Outside of Ground Effect (HOGE) with One Engine Inoperative (OEI). This restriction is not applicable to private or corporate flights.
It is a requirement that operators using the Heliport for the first time, arrange a pre-visit to acquaint themselves with approaches, surrounding buildings and hazards in order to satisfy themselves of its suitability for their use.
Until further notice, applications for CAA permission to land at Skyports London Heliport should be emailed to: [email protected] (use form 1843: Permission/Exemption request for Helicopter Operations). The process requires that a Risk Assessment accompanies the application. This is referred to on the form. Permissions are normally valid for one year.
As the area adjacent to the Heliport is heavily congested and residential, we request that all pilots arrange their flight path, such that it minimises noise for our neighbours. Engine running on the pad is to be kept to an absolute minimum.
4. Contact Details and Address
5. Local Regulations
5.1 Final Approach and Take-Off
The Heliport is directly adjacent to the River Thames, which is tidal. For the purposes of flight operations, the Skyports London Heliport is considered to be “elevated” during its operational hours. Operators should therefore ensure that they comply with the requirements for operating to an elevated heliport, with specific operating criteria, and where appropriate, have been granted approval by the Civil Aviation Authority to do so.
5.2 Approved Pilots
Due to the confined space, operations at the Heliport require authorisation for all manoeuvres from the HLO. (e.g. engine/rotor starts).
5.4 Heliport Area Access
All airside access is subject to permission from Skyports London Heliport staff. Only persons wearing high-visibility clothing will be permitted unattended airside access (in the case of aircrew or contractors).
All other airside access (to persons not wearing high-visibility clothing) will only be permitted with a heliport-staff escort, or the pilot of the helicopter. These steps are necessary for compliance with Skyports London Heliport’s safety policy. We would appreciate your assistance and co-operation in implementing this.
Vehicles given permission to drive air-side, must not exceed 10 mph. Vehicles must use hazard light and stop at the top of the ramp. Under no circumstances should vehicles proceed any further, without the express authorisation of a Heliport member of staff.
If on foot, the ramp area can be slippery in adverse weather conditions. Pedestrians should exercise extreme care. At the bottom of the ramp there is an electronic security gate, controlled by Heliport staff, via CCTV. There is a call button on both sides of the gate.
5.5 Embarkation/Disembarkation of Passengers
The embarkation/disembarkation is only to be carried out with the assistance of the heliport ground crew, or pilot/crew of the helicopter. Aircrew must also brief passengers of inbound helicopters to remain seated and not attempt disembarkation themselves, especially from rotors-running helicopters, until the pilot/crew or heliport staff are able to escort them safely away from the aircraft. This is irrespective of how familiar the passengers may be with the aircraft.
Owners/operators of helicopters that are not equipped with a rotor-brake (or having a rotor-brake not serviceable) must advise operations of this at the time of booking. Aircrew should not exit the helicopter, or leave it unattended until the rotors have ceased turning.
5.7 Rotor Downwash / Main-rotor Tie-downs
Due to the confined nature of the Heliport and to protect aircraft from damage due to rotor downwash from an adjacent aircraft, we recommend that all operators have a rotor tie-down kit available.
5.8 Aircraft Parking – Mechanical Handling
Aircrew must be in attendance to supervise all mechanical handling.
5.9 Mobile Telephones
Mobile telephones are not to be used whilst airside. Aircrew or Operations staff are asked to brief passengers of this prior to their arrival at the Heliport.
5.10 Security – Access Control & Identity Verification
Security procedures are in place for the safety of our staff and customers. Access to the heliport is controlled and restricted; therefore all customers should comply with any requests for proof of identity or the screening of their luggage. Bags should not be left unattended at any time
To aid identification and security we recommend that you pass the booking reference and slot details to support staff or drivers that are meeting or dropping off customers at the Heliport.
5.11 Security – Overnight Parking of Aircraft
Whilst Skyports London Heliport is secured overnight and CCTV is in operation, operators of aircraft that are parked overnight should ensure they have suitable insurance in place to do so.
5.12 Dangerous Goods
Operators/pilots must advise Heliport staff, in advance, of any dangerous goods (e.g. ammunition) to be carried on flights and to ensure that they are correctly transported. Skyports London Heliport is to be specifically advised in cases where ammunition is to be carried. Owners of guns are responsible at all times for the transport and supervision of their weapons. Please refer to CAA publication CAP 675 for details.
6. Flight Procedures
Procedures to be used for access to Skyports London Heliport - agreement with the National Air Traffic Services (NATS). Effective: 15/01/2018
6.1 Description of Airspace
Skyports London Heliport is situated approximately 3nm South-West of London City Airport. The airspace in the immediate vicinity of Skyports London Heliport is designated as the London City CTR, which extends from the surface to an altitude of 2500ft. Skyports London Heliport is adjacent to Helicopter Route H4 and Restricted Area R159.
Aircraft inbound and outbound from the Skyports London Heliport will not normally require penetration of Restricted Area R159 and any such penetration must be subject to an Enhanced Non-Standard Flight Notification.
6.3 Helicopters Inbound to Skyports London Heliport
Flights inbound to the Skyports London Heliport must be conducted in accordance with the clearance issued, which will always be a VFR or SVFR clearance.
Control of inbound helicopters may be transferred to London City Tower.
In the event that the Heliport is fully occupied, further inbound traffic to the Heliport will be requested to remain outside of controlled airspace, rather than within the London City CTR, pending the Heliport becoming available. The operators of Skyports London Heliport undertake to contact TC GS Airports, to advise if this situation is likely to occur.
6.4 Helicopters Outbound from Skyports London Heliport
Prior to departure from Skyports London Heliport, the pilot is required to make their intentions known to ATC by one of the following methods:
Advise TC SVFR or City Tower of their intended outbound routing and ETD whilst inbound to the Heliport
Contact City Tower on 118.080MHz whilst on the ground
Contact TC SVFR on 125.625MHz whilst on the ground
If unable to establish two-way communication on the ground, permission to depart may be achieved by contacting TC GS Airports by telephone.
During the operational hours of London City Airport, control of outbound helicopters will normally be the responsibility of London City ATC, who will coordinate with TC SVFR, as necessary.
Flights outbound from Skyports London Heliport must be conducted in accordance with the clearance issued, which will always be a VFR or SVFR clearance.
The aircraft may be instructed to route to the Isle of Dogs VRP to hold, prior to continuing its outbound routing, to ensure separation with London City IFR traffic.
6.5 Radio Contact
Inbound helicopters should establish radio contact with the Heliport OPC before landing. This is NOT an air traffic service, it is a company operations frequency. Call sign 'SKYPORTS OPS' on 131.965 MHZ. The crew should advise of P.O.B. as well as details of any hold luggage being carried, especially if they require an expeditious turnaround of the helicopter.
7. Specific CAA Rules of Operation at Skyports London Heliport
7.1 Helicopter Operations to the Heliport
The Heliport lies within the Specified Area, close to R159 and London City Airport. The Specified Area, is notified in the Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Specified Area) Regulations 2005 as follows:
Flight within the specified area except with the permission, in writing of, the Civil Aviation Authority and in accordance with any conditions therein specified, a helicopter shall not fly over the area specified in the Schedule below such height as would enable it to alight clear of the area in the event of a failure of a power unit excluding so much of the bed of the River Thames as lies within that area, between the ordinary high watermarks on each of its banks.
R159, is notified under the Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Isle of Dogs) Regulations 2004 and protects the Isle of Dogs with the following provisions:
(a) any aircraft in the service of the Chief Officer of Police for the Metropolitan Police District;
(b) any aircraft flying in accordance with a Special Flight Notification, issued by the appropriate air traffic control unit;
(c) any helicopter flying on Helicopter Route 4;
(d) any aircraft flying in accordance with an Enhanced Non-Standard Flight clearance issued by the appropriate air traffic control unit; and
(e) any aircraft approaching to, or departing from, London City Airport (LCY).
Helicopter Route H4 commences at the Isle of Dogs and follows the course of the River Thames to the West, terminating effectively at Kew Bridge as H10.
Notwithstanding the above, the Heliport is deemed to be a Congested Area in accordance with The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015, Rule 5(1)(b):
Landing and taking off within congested areas and near open-air assemblies
5.— (1) An aircraft must not take off or land within a congested area of any city, town or settlement except—
(a) at an aerodrome in accordance with procedures notified by the CAA; or
(b) at a landing site which is not an aerodrome in accordance with the permission of the CAA.
Use of the Heliport by single engine helicopters therefore requires the use of Helicopter Route H4 and over flight of the river. Commanders of all types must obtain two written Permissions from the CAA before using the site. It is usual for a single combined permission for operating within the Specified Area and against Rule 5(1)(b), landing and taking off within a Congested Area, to be provided.
7.2 Operational Considerations
It is evident that, regardless of the helicopter type in use, there is no satisfactory or consistently safe approach to the site. All approaches to the site would have to culminate in some form of high hover, over the river and alongside the sea wall, before making a commitment to land. The prevailing south-westerly wind direction and direction of the river at the heliport does not favour any such approaches. Approaches or departures over the buildings to the North West, North and North East of the Heliport are prohibited. The only clear approach and departure routes to and from the Heliport, lie over the river, subject to river traffic.
Before providing a Take-off and Landing Permission against Rule 5(1)(b), the CAA will require all potential users of the site to conduct and present for inspection a risk assessment.
7.3 Commercial Helicopter Performance
Commercial Helicopters operating to EASA standards are required to protect their passengers and to operate to a performance class for engine failure considerations. The safest level of performance being Class 1 where at all times and throughout the flight regime, the helicopter must be capable of landing safely in the event of an engine failure. Class 1 performance is usually a pre-requisite for any CAT operation in a Congested Area. The helicopter manufacturer provides flight profiles in the Helicopter Flight Manual, that will assure this level of safety, provided that the pilot flies the correct and published profile.
Nevertheless, the location of Skyports London Heliport, and the proximity of the Heliport to the surrounding buildings is not compatible with any published Class 1 profile and as a result, except in particular circumstances, Class 1 performance cannot be assured.
The CAA recognises that modern helicopters have performance capabilities that are not acknowledged in the legislation, however. Helicopters that can sustain a hover out of ground effect on one engine are considered to demonstrate Class 1 Equivalent Performance and may be granted a Take-off and Landing Permission against Rule 5(1)(b) to operate into and from Skyports London Heliport. Only twin-engined helicopters can demonstrate Class 1 Equivalent Performance.
Helicopters that cannot guarantee a safe forced landing in the event of an engine failure are effectively excluded from CAT operations at Skyports London Heliport. The wall adjacent to the river, and the elevation of the pad makes guaranteeing a safe forced landing in the event of an engine failure, during the critical phases of landing and take-off impossible. Nevertheless, the law provides, in certain circumstances, for an approval to be granted for operations with exposure, where a safe forced landing during the take-off and landing phase of flight cannot be assured.
Operators with helicopters fitted with the required Helicopter Usage Monitoring Equipment (HUMS) may therefore be granted an approval that will permit operations to Skyports London Heliport. Both twin and single engined helicopters may be granted this Exposure Approval and may therefore be provided with a Take-off and Landing Permission against Rule 5(1) (b)
Helicopters that cannot perform to Class 1 Equivalent Performance or do not have an Exposure Approval may not be granted a Take-off and Landing Permission against Rule 5(1) (b) and may not operate into Skyports London Heliport.
7.4 Non-CAT, Private or Corporate Operations
Operators of non-CAT flights are not subject to such performance legislation; Indeed, the performance requirements are minimal and merely place an onus on the Commander to ensure that he has adequate performance for the landing site.
Nevertheless, the Commander has a legal responsibility towards third parties; those persons outside the helicopter, perhaps on the Heliport, in the adjacent buildings as well as persons active on the river. At no time should third parties be placed in danger.
It should also be appreciated that pilots of non-CAT helicopters are not subject to routine and rigorous operator recurrent training and checking regimes. As such, an individual pilot’s experience to the type of approach required to land at Skyports London Heliport may be limited. Due to the position of the site, an arrival to a free air hover is inevitably required.
The side of the Heliport provides a vertical drop of some 12 feet to the river. Hovering in close proximity to the edge of the helipad may result in the helicopter encountering adverse effects due to recirculation and downwash. A piston engined helicopter, with or without a governor may in such circumstances easily run out of power (MAP) and over pitch, with potentially catastrophic results. All pilots should have experience of operating out of ground effect, be familiar with the required techniques and be in current flying practice.
The Take-off and Landing Permission against Rule 5(1)(b) has been given to non-CAT pilots in the past.
In summary the limitations from the CAA are:
All multi-engined helicopters, regardless of whether CAT, SPO, NCC or NCO, to be operated at equivalent Performance Class 1, i.e. the ability to hover out of ground effect with one engine inoperative at the operating weight.
No SPO/NCC/NCO single-engined helicopters at night.
8. Arrivals and Departures
Pilots of helicopters must not over fly any shipping that is visible and may be in close proximity to the Heliport, and should be aware of any small vessel activity (such as dinghies) close to the helipad.
A helicopter may not land or take-off from a smaller pad when another helicopter is rotors-running on the other pad.
At night only the large pad (spot 1) may be used.
9. Take-Off & Landing Profiles
Take-Off and Landing profiles should conform to the guidance in the manufacturer and operator manuals for the performance class of helicopter, such that they comply with the requirements for operations to and from an ‘elevated’ Heliport.
10. Start Authorisation
Start Authorisation is required for both engine and rotor start.
11. Noise Abatement Procedures
To promote noise abatement Skyports London Heliport operates a “Be Considerate to our Neighbours” policy:
All approaches and departures are to be carried out over the river.
Climb out and descent should be at the safest vertical speed (in accordance with the approved take-off profile for the aircraft) in order to achieve a safe departure/landing.
Helicopters will not be permitted to start-up in advance of the arrival of passenger(s) and overall ground-running of rotors/engines is limited to a maximum (guide time) of 5 minutes subject to operational requirements.
If departure is delayed for any reason, or it is subsequently found that the aircraft is not ready to depart, then aircrew will be required to shut down.
12. Wind Turbulence / Variance
Aircrew should be prepared for turbulence and possible wind shear which may be experienced during strong wind conditions on approaches and climb-outs, due to the close proximity of adjacent buildings.
No fuel facilities are available. To enquire about the provision of mobile fuel supplies specific to an operation, please contact the Heliport Operations Manager.
15. International Flights and Flights Within the Common Travel Area (CTA)
No arrangements exist to provide these facilities and operators should contact the Heliport Operations Managers to discuss specific requirements.