The Mackay Base Hospital helipad has re-opened after a temporary closure to meet new national helicopter landing guidelines.
The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter service conducted a successful test landing this morning to trial new security procedures for take-off and landings.
CASA guidelines issued in November require a 50m exclusion zone that is clear of parked vehicles and people during helicopter take off and landings.
The exclusion zone is due to the helicopter downwash from the blades which can cause objects such as prams or bikes to be blown away if they are closer than 50m to the helicopter.
Mackay HHS Chief Executive Susan Gannon said this meant the section of the Bluewater Trail near the hospital would be closed for short periods of time.
“Mackay HHS has worked closely with RACQ CQ Rescue and Mackay Regional Council to see how we can meet the new CASA requirements and re-open the helipad,” Ms Gannon said.
“Mackay Regional Council is happy to support the health service temporarily closing the Bluewater Trail for short periods of time when the helipad is in use.
“Access will be limited during both approach and landing and take-off and departure.
“To minimise disruption to path users, the Bluewater Trail will be reopened when the helicopter is on the ground and the engine has been shut down,” she said.
Ms Gannon asked for community support during the periods when the trail will close.
There are an average of one to two helicopter landings a day.
“People will notice a flashing light on the path and we ask for cooperation from trail users.
“We will also have security staff at the flashing lights and a temporary barricade and I ask that people are respectful to them.
“They are there for the safety of our patients and to ensure the helicopter can land. If there are any people within the exclusion zone the helicopter will not land,” she said.