Thursday, July 1, 2010

India To Segregate Routes, Develop Initiatives For Helicopters


Aviation Daily Jul 01 , 2010 , p. 20
Neelam Mathews

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has completed a route segregation exercise for helicopters over Delhi and Mumbai that officials hope will lead to more efficient operations and significantly reduced delays.

Delhi and Mumbai are home to two of the most congested airports in India. Currently, helicopters are handled like fixed-wing aircraft in terms of approaches and takeoffs, which makes the aviation system inefficient.

The DGCA also approved four heliports in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The effort is an outgrowth of discussions held between Bell Helicopter and the DGCA in March 2008 as part of the Aviation Cooperation Program, a public/private partnership of FAA, the U.S Trade and Development Agency, U.S. aviation companies and the Indian government.

The Helicopter Aviation Safety Technical Assistance program will address helicopter safety by training both DGCA and Indian military personnel in helicopter-specific safety accident and incident investigation techniques.

The DGCA retains about 60 fixed-wing inspectors, but no dedicated helicopter-trained inspectors. The proposed project would provide safety training for helicopter inspectors and establish standardized helicopter airport operations, training and inspection standards. The aim is to increase the volume of helicopter operations in India through enhanced operations, more trained personnel and the initial establishment of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) helicopter operations.

The project will review and propose EMS landing and takeoff sites and flight routes, including designated hospitals. India currently has no EMS infrastructure. The potential trade in this economic sector is significant, extending beyond helicopters into air ambulance equipment, EMS equipment and infrastructure.

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