Commercial Helicopter Outlook Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Aircraft Air Traffic Control System – An Analysis of Helicopter Air Traffic Control Problems 660319

The inauguration of true city center schedules coupled with the tremendous response from the traveling public and the continuing increase in passenger seat mile revenues for over a decade of VTOL scheduled air carrier service is evidence of the public need and confirmation of a continuing expansion of operations.
Future research and development will be directed at reducing operating costs and improving schedule regularity on trip lengths that vary from the very short inter-airport to city distances to upwards of a hundred miles. The airframe manufacturers are already building helicopters large enough to carry 45 to 65 passengers and if adequate progress can be made in reducing direct operating costs (and thereby lowering seat mile costs), helicopters will become a common mode of air transportation in the very short-haul market.
One significant advantage of VTOL air transportation is the flexibility of service patterns that can be provided. As neighborhoods change in character and new residential and corporate headquarter communities are developed in previously uninhabited areas, VTOL air services can adjust accordingly. All that is needed is a relatively small landing and terminal area. By comparison, surface transportation whether by transit systems or private vehicles, assumes a rather inflexible pattern once it is established. They often require a good deal of extremely expensive real estate and force the relocation of many people at high economic and sociological costs.
The need to provide service regularity through improved specially suited navigation, air traffic control and approach facilities for flight operation in instrument meteorological conditions is essential.
Hard and controlled operating experience with a low frequency navigational aid and tests of various VTOL landing systems and techniques are reviewed. The use of the Air Traffic Control Beacon (secondary radar), communications and the relationship of VTOL requirements is compared to fixed wing requirements. Air space requirements of fixed wing and VTOL aircraft do not normally compete except in the proximity of the airport. It would appear that practical and operationally compatible procedures can be developed for mixing these different types of air traffic.
In order to assure still greater public acceptance of VTOL air carrier services the regularity of schedules, with instrument flight capability, must be considerably improved over the present visual flight operations. Some suggestions for the direction of future effort in the development of navigation and air traffic control hardware and procedures for instrument operation are presented.


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