City considers use of helipads on high-rises

Monday, May 22, 2017 14:00

A helicopter takes part in a fire-fighting rescue drill at Diamond Plaza in HCM City’s District 1 in 2013.— VNA/VNS Photo

HCM City authorities are considering requiring high-rises of 20 floors or more to have helipads for search-and-rescue missions during natural disasters or fires.

Tran Trong Tuan, director of the city’s Department of Construction, said the helipads could also serve tourism purposes.

Other buildings, such as hospitals and public structures, should also have helipads, they said.

Colonel Le Tan Buu, director of the Fire Fighting and Prevention Police, said the city would use military forces’ helicopters for search-and-rescue missions.

Prof Dr Nguyen Thien Tong, former head of aeronautical engineering at the HCM City-based Polytechnic University, agreed with the move, saying that fires in high-rises were especially dangerous because of the number of people inside.

For large buildings, construction of a helipad would not be expensive or complicated, he said.

“The city needs to encourage qualified investors to build helipads on high-rises, but not on all of them, since landing is not always needed,” he added.

Prof. Dr Nguyen Van Hiep, former dean of the HCM City-based Polytechnic University, said the city should require helipads on new high-rises only.

Architect Ngo Viet Nam Son questioned the city’s plan, saying the capability of fighting fires with helicopters was not high, especially on tall buildings.

Landing can be difficult, and each landing would save only around 10 people because of the capacity of the helicopter, he said.

Colonel Le Tan Buu said it would be difficult to require all of the city’s hundreds of high-rises of more than 20 floors to have a helipad.

Vo Huy Cuong, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV), said that construction of specialised airports, including helipads, must be approved by the Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry of Defence would approve helipads only after consulting the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Transport and the municipal and provincial people’s committees.

The Ministry of Defence would also grant permission for helicopter use.

Early this year, the municipal People’s Committee asked agencies to review a plan on constructing helipads on 20-story buildings to improve the quality of firefighting and fire prevention.

Recently, the Southern Viet Nam Helicopter Company conducted a piloted flight permitted by CAAV at the Sai Gon Times Square building in District 1.

The construction of the helipad on the rooftop of the Sai Gon Times Square was previously approved by the general staff of the Viet Nam People’s Army.

To help search-and-rescue missions, flight routes for helicopters were also allowed to be connected to the venue.

Helipads exist on a number of high-rise buildings, including the Bitexco Financial Tower, Diamond Plaza in District 1, and Tan Son Nhat Sai Gon Hotel in Phu Nhuan District, among others. — VNS

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