Aero Med Returning To Rooftop Landing Site

Butterworth Hospital Helistop Enlarged and Enhanced

Spectrum Health announced today that Aero Med will begin using the rooftop helistop at Butterworth Hospital for training the week of November 17. Enhancements to the site are complete.

Aero Med pilots are scheduled to begin practice landings and take offs that week, weather permitting. Patient transport will begin after the pilots have completed training and are familiar with the helistop. A specific date for a return to service has not been set. In addition, state and local approvals are being completed.

The enlarged helistop accommodates two helicopters and includes enhancements for safety, fire suppression and wind turbulence control. It features a platform raised several feet above the roof that allows for two 60 foot by 60 foot landing zones.

“We are pleased with the steps we’ve taken to enhance the safety and ease of use of this helistop,” said Matt Van Vranken, executive vice president, Spectrum Health, president, Spectrum Health Hospital Group.  “We can now bring critically injured and ill patients to the Spectrum Health Medical Center more quickly. I would also like to thank the residents living near our temporary helistop on Plymouth for their patience and understanding during this construction project.”

The new helistop has many enhancements:

  • A raised platform several feet above the existing roof. This makes the helistop slightly larger in area than the roof, allowing for two 60 foot by 60 foot landing zones. The elevated helistop also allows wind traveling up the side of the building to flow underneath the platform, which helps decrease air turbulence.
  • The helistop has horizontal aluminum safety netting extending several feet beyond the platform.
  • Additional emergency exits. Each landing zone will have an external, fire escape-type metal stairway leading to the floor below. 
  • A fuel-water separator tank for each landing zone catches all liquid run off from the landing surface and blocks fuel from entering storm drains.
  • An upgraded fire-suppression system can be activated from either landing zone, in addition to inside and outside of the structure housing the elevators.

“All of us at Aero Med appreciate the efficiency and sense of purpose contractors, construction workers and Spectrum Health staff have demonstrated in expediting this project for us,” said Ralph Rogers, MD, Aero Med medical director. “Our rooftop helistop is a key element in providing quick access to trauma care and other critical care services. We look forward to returning to this helistop.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a helistop is an area used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of helicopters engaged in dropping off or picking up passengers. A helipad is a surface used for parking helicopters and refueling. Helicopters at the Butterworth Hospital helistop will remain there only as long as it takes to transfer patients. The helistop will not be used for parking or refueling helicopters.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, more than 140 service sites and Priority Health, a health plan with nearly 500,000 members. Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care to those in medical need.  The organization provided $111.1 million in community benefit during its 2008 fiscal year. As a system, Spectrum Health has earned more than 100 awards during the past 10 years.