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Vertically challenged: The rooftop helipad debate

from By Mark Huber

Rooftop helipads have always been controversial, even more so since a New York Airways Sikorsky rolled over atop the Pan Am building in 1977, killing four passengers waiting to board and one pedestrian below on the ground from falling debris. The debate was triggered anew in March in Seattle, where a television news copter plunged from its elevated pad into the street, killing its crew and sending a river of lit Jet-A fuel flowing down the pavement, burning motorists. Rooftop or elevated helipads present special challenges in operations and design, yet many hospitals choose to have them. more

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