Helicopter Landing Pad Under
May 01, 2004
Ketchikan, AK - The US Coast Guard (USCG) is constructing a new
helicopter landing facility at Wolff Point in Ketchikan. USCG
District 17 has been working for more than three years to establish
a helicopter pad at an optimal location in Ketchikan.
The new helicopter
pad under construction at Wolff Point.
Photo by Dick Kauffman - April 29, 2004
According to information provided by the Coast Guard, the helicopter
pad is needed to deliver medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) patients
to the hospital in Ketchikan, as well as provide the USCG with
a facility for search and rescue (SAR) operations in Ketchikan.
The USCG said that due to the lack of a suitable facility, all
USCG MEDEVAC and SAR flights have been forced to use the Ketchikan
Airport on Gravina Island which can cause a delay in the time
of delivery of a patient to the hospital by 30 minutes or more
due to the use of the ferry service that is operated during hours
of commercial airport service. According to the USCG, typical
patients that require the use of MEDEVAC flights are experiencing
life threatening, urgent medical emergencies, conditions that
require immediate attention. For these reasons, the USCG required
a helicopter pad that would provide efficient, timely, and safe
medical evacuation transportation to the Ketchikan road system.
The USCG said the existing
helicopter landing pad is too small for the larger HH-60 helicopters
that the USCG uses for its MEDEVAC and SAR operations. After
having exhausted a search of the existing commercially operated
landing sites, and after determining that the existing hospital
landing pad could not be made suitable, a State owned site of
Wolff Point was identified as an optimal location for the helicopter
pad by the Coast Guard.
Wolff Point - a former landfill
that has been capped and graveled - is currently a scenic turnout
that is located directly between the North Tongass Highway and
the Tongass Narrows, approximately one mile north of the hospital.
The Wolff Point turnout is
an oval shaped gravel area, which measures some 400 feet in length
and 100 feet wide. The prospective helicopter pad will use less
than half of the turnout. The area of Wolff Point used will
be on the extreme northern end, opposite of the highway access
point. Vehicle barriers would be used to restrict unauthorized
vehicles, but the site would be open for pedestrian access, except
when in actual use. The USCG noted that minimal site preparation
work will be required to properly grade and pave the landing
site at Wolff Point. The helicopter-landing pad will be lighted
with perimeter lighting to ensure the safety of the helicopter
crew and passengers.
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