GNSS/WEB-GIS heliport planning in a regional area for VTOL transport services

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

    Abstract

    The role of the helicopter in airport planning and air traffic analysis is fundamental with re-gard to both the qualitative and quantitative increasing of the demand and the technical en-hancement of the aircrafts. This leads to infrastructural and organizational issues. Such a need finds a plausible solution in the implementation of a helicopter service and the creation of a heliport network linked to the airport, road and rail systems. Part of the issue of airport planning and design is the study of helicopters’ utilization for purposes other than commer-cial such as aerial work and civil protection. The helicopter is indeed essential in all those uses based on the capabilities that it has such as the possibility to quickly reach any part of the territory generally foreclosed to other modes of transport, to hover and to land and take-off with very high slope angles.In January 2011 the “Regional Plan of heliports in Sicily” was approved through the regional committee resolution by authorizing the expenditure of 30% of the resources coming from the Operational Program FESR 2007-2013. In the descriptive section of operational tasks the Plan highlights how “…it is increasingly necessary for the regional community to develop a network of helipads widely distributed and integrated with the local and national infrastruc-tures, to serve urban settlements for HEMS, SAR and transport purposes”. The project aims to “specialize” the service, the related infrastructures for different types and it states regula-tory standards (and also integrations of existing regulations) and the construction features in-to a perspective of an integrated territorial planning in full compliance with the environmen-tal sustainability. Therefore helicopter services could complement or substitute the regional air traffic, especially in those areas of higher cultural and landscape interest (small islands, archaeological sites, monuments etc.) and poorly accessible zones, not neglecting their prin-cipal role of search and rescue missions and for civil protection. With regard to the integrat-ed territorial planning and, more specifically, to the preliminary infrastructural design (heli-ports and helipads) a fundamental role is played by GNSS/WEB-GIS. The use of specific GIS features (GNSS stations data, digital terrain models, orthophotos of selected zones, links among infrastructures etc.) and operational research methods could be expected to find the optimal distribution of the infrastructures onto the territory. These resources allow to make structured analysis and queries, via specific requests (proximity to roads and highways, pres-ence of sensitive areas, services etc.) aimed at identifying the potential sites to optimize the locations, to improve the accessibility and to widen the catchment areas. This approach could make it possible to establish priorities in the construction of the infrastructures in relation to the constructions costs and the coverage of the whole territory. The adopted methodology is based on Integer Linear Programming model able to find the optimal solution of a Set Cover-ing Problem. In this way it is possible to reach the aim of the implementation of an integrat-ed and effective service both for HEMS and civil protection needs, also taking in to account the economical features. Technical standards will ensure high operability under safety and security constraints for raising helipads to heliports according to airworthiness requirements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages0
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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