Brian Gallagher, Stephen McVeigh and Richard Doherty from TOBIN Consulting Engineers have just completed the design and project management of a new helipad for Letterkenny University Hospital. Following a safety review in 2018 of the hospital’s helipad it was found that a number of obstacles could potentially interfere with the flight path of the Coast Guard’s Sikorsky S92 helicopter. As a result of that review the Coast Guard discontinued their use of the helipad until a solution could be found, and operated instead from a football field north of the hospital. This required ambulances to travel off site to receive patients and transport them back to the hospital.
TOBIN were engaged by HSE Estates to find a workable solution to allow the helipad to be brought back into operation. Our review included the modelling of all existing obstacles and approach surfaces for the S92 helicopter and the design of a new helipad that would comply with best practice in aerodrome operations. We found that by raising the helipad surface and moving it slightly northwards a solution could be found that complied with current aerodrome standards. Works commenced on the helipad in January 2020 and were completed in May 2020. The services provided by TOBIN included; aerodrome design, civil, structural and lighting design, and contract administration. The photos include here show the helipad just after the finishing touches and paint markings were applied. Following the completion of flight trials, scheduled for May 2020, it is expected that the new helipad will commence operations immediately, reducing the journey time for patients to Letterkenny University Hospital.