The HeliStop at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has received clearance to operate. The $1.8 million aluminum landing pad was licensed for use by CalTrans on August 27, 2012 and resides atop the five-story Sierra Vista Parking Structure. Several landings have already occurred, including the first patient transport on September 6.
As the only hospital-based helicopter landing site in San Luis Obispo, the helistop will play a major role in the health and safety of our community for transportation of trauma patients and other critically ill patients, including extremely fragile babies to-and-from our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Additionally, at the request of the National Guard, the helistop is designed to support aircraft as large as a Sikorsky Blackhawk (HH-60G Pave Hawk). In the event of a natural disaster or other national security event, this will allow Sierra Vista to accommodate the emergency transport of patients, supplies and other resources.
The skills and expertise of our employees, coupled with a hospital-based helicopter landing site and Trauma Center designation, will dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to transport some of our most critically injured and sick patients to-and-from the hospital and ultimately increase the number of lives saved.
In its planning, Sierra Vista has taken precautions to minimize noise by determining the landing and take-off flight paths that create the least impact. It is anticipated that only a very minimal number of landings will occur each month.
A helistop is a temporary landing site where the helicopter must land, load or unload a patient, and then fly off again. A helipad allows for the helicopter to remain on the landing site until further disposition.