Landing Zone Guidelines

​​​​When preparing for emergency air transport, Airlift Northwest and our aviation partner, Air Methods, ask that you follow these landing zone guidelines.

Landing Zone Card:


Before Helicopter Arrives

Inspect the landing zone (LZ). Landing zones should be clear of:
  • Debris and unsecured materials
  • Brush taller than knee high
Prepare a brief LZ description:
  • Note overhead wires, light standards, radio towers, fences, obstructions or other hazards in relation to compass bearings (N,S,E,W).
  • Note surface winds and visibility.
Observe LZ safety and security:
  • Fire department personnel should maintain a 200' perimeter for bystanders, from aircraft arrival through departure.
  • Personal protective equipment (vision and hearing protection) should be used.
Minimize LZ lighting issues:
  • No white strobe lights
  • Red lights assist in noting location
  • Flares are OK as long as they are not a fire hazard due to the helicopter downwash.
  • All white lights, such as headlights, should be OFF during landing and takeoff to protect pilot's night vision.
  • Do not spotlight overhead hazards; park a vehicle beneath overhead hazards.

Helicopter Arrival and Landing

As the helicopter approaches the landing zone, be sure to:
  • Brief the pilot prior to arrival, noting locations of known hazards in the LZ area.
  • Remain in two-way radio contact throughout landing.
  • Be prepared to call off landing if LZ or helicopter approach becomes unsafe.
While in the helicopter is in the LZ:
  • Do not approach the helicopter until the rotor blades have stopped.
  • Approach the helicopter only from the front, once directed by the flight crew.
  • Do not walk around the tail, even when aircraft is shut down.
  • Maintain the LZ security and light restrictions at all times.
  • Review known hazards with the pilot before aircraft departure.

Helicopter Departure

The following precautions should be followed for helicopter departure:
  • Clear all ground personnel away from the helicopter before the engine starts.
  • No one may approach after engine(s) started.
  • Re-establish two-way radio contact with pilot and confirm the LZ is secure.
  • Notify the pilot immediately if an unsafe situation develops.

Landing zone brief

The following is an example of a LZ brief.
"Airlift, this is (LZ command).

The landing zone is a (roadway, school, parking lot, field), surrounded by (street trees, buildings, fences), approximately (dimensions), marked by (strobes, lights, flares, cones).

Obstacles and hazards in the area are (wires, light standards, radio towers, fences) to the (note in each compass direction).

Surface winds are (calm, light, variable, strong, gusting) in (compass direction).

Clearest path of approach is from the (direction)."

Landing Zone Information provided and approved by Air Methods.

All aviation services, pilots and mechanics are provided by Air Methods Corporation and Aero Air.   ​ ​