Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | February 3, 2015

Wind considerations

One of the frequently asked questions we get is “how secure is the sHeli-Port when exposed to strong winds?”

To answer this question, New Jersey Institute of Technology performed wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluidic dynamics) testing. They analyzed the wind load characteristics at wind speeds up to 100 mph and from 8 directions. Headwinds, crosswinds, tailwinds and positions in between were tested with the case fully open, fully closed and several partially open conditions. The testing also simulated the effects of a helicopter hovering directly over the open unit.

The CFD results are similar to those obtained in the wind tunnel, thus adding confidence to the performance conclusions. The testing assumes the units are both unsecured and weightless. Since the actual weight is a bit over 4000 pounds, testing results are conservative when compared to real life results.

Due to its aerodynamic shape, unsecured units should not move in winds up to 100mph, except for a broadside wind over 80mph. Nevertheless, we recommend users anchor/secure the unit anyway!

Our unit in Virginia Beach remains undamaged after at least one hurricane and two tropical storms. That unit is secured by hammering two 3-foot stakes into the ground and attached directly to the sHeli-Port on each side.

Of course the only way to make sHeli-Port absolutely hurricane proof is to move it completely out of the hurricane zone. That’s not hard to do either!

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | April 14, 2014

Safety and storage of your helicopter

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Safely storing a helicopter is not an easy feat. Rotor blades and tail rotors in particular are exposed to hangar rash germs. While researching better storage solutions for helicopters, I had the chance to speak to a lot of people about their experiences, struggles, and expenses.

At the recent Helix-Expo, I was told about a guy whose parked helicopter blew off the dock and into the lake at his vacation home. A friend of mine had his new helicopter parked at his beach home when a summer thunderstorm came out of nowhere. He knew he couldn’t fly it away since he had been enjoying a well-deserved Budweiser. We were grateful that the storm left as quickly as it came, without hail.

Hangar rash is an unfortunate side effect of hangars. A typical hangar is occupied with more than one aircraft, and often, complete strangers will have access. Sometimes they move your aircraft to get theirs out the door. Let’s also not forget that many airport hangars are not designed for helicopters, they are fixed wing “T” hangars. Even those with private hangars expose their ships to all the “stuff” they store alongside it. Objects that aren’t tied down can damage the aircraft. It’s a question of when. As we know, these fixes all come with very expensive price tags!

Storage solutions for helicopters aren’t always plentiful, but we all have stories to tell. I’d love to hear yours. Tell me your helicopter storage stories—both hits and misses!

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | August 13, 2012

Thinking About Building a Shed for your Helicopter?

Compare the cost of building versus the advantages of the sHeli-Port before choosing a helicopter storage solution

If you’re thinking that building a permanent structure to store your helicopter is your best option, please take a few moments to read this before breaking ground.

Earlier this year, at the Heli-Expo in Dallas, TX, I spoke to several helicopter owners who had recently constructed a shed to store their craft. Each of them, after learning about the sHeli-Port, lamented that they wished they had known about it before they built. So, if you want to improve your helicopter storage situation and haven’t yet broken ground on a storage shed, here are some points to consider:

Sheds and Hangars sHeli-Port
Require expensive ground handling equipment to park the helicopter…land, maneuver tug, hook up, pull and close Self-contained storage; no hassle with or paying for ground handling equipment…land and close
Permanently located Move to another location when desired
Unflattering or obstructive to surrounding environment Colored to camouflage or even wrapped to match the surrounding landscape
Multi-purpose. Lawn mowers, ladders, motorcycles boats, kid’s bikes and other hangar rash infections come in contact with or damage the helicopter. Exclusively for your helicopter – it’s like a violin case for your ship
For the accountants, 40 years to depreciate the investment Qualifies as a section 179 expense, allowing full cost expensing in the first year of service

The sHeli-Port provides significant advantages over building a storage shed — why not Google “hangar construction costs” before you decide? If you’ve already built a storage shed, all is not lost. Use the shed for your less breakable “treasures,”  sell the ground handling stuff, and keep your helicopter safe and secure in a sHeli-Port.  Visit www.sHeli-Port.com for additional information.

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | April 17, 2012

An Unlikely Pairing: What do Violins and Helicopters Have in Common?

When you think about it, helicopters and violins have a lot in common. Both are finely tuned instruments that must be kept in perfect shape in order to perform at their best. The musician warms up by practicing scales; the pilot goes through a strict preflight routine. The musician meticulously adjusts the strings; the pilot adjusts the altimeter and checks the gauges.

When the violin is not in use, it is safely nestled inside a protective case for storage; when a helicopter is not used it is unceremoniously dragged into a hangar and left exposed to strangers, neighboring fixed wing aircraft, lawn mowers, and hangar rash… Okay, so storage is where the violin is better protected than the helicopter.

Helicopter storage is notoriously poor and often lacks full protection for the entire helicopter. So why not make a change to the way your helicopter is stored? Protect your helicopter just like a violin is protected inside its case.

The sHeli-Port is a “violin case” for a helicopter. Two, hydraulic-powered, fiberglass shells enclose the entire helicopter against outside hazards. It can be used anywhere you choose to store your helicopter – in your backyard, at the airport, on a deck or a yacht; you can even change your mind and move it to a new location.

Protect your helicopter the way you would protect a fine violin. Visit www.sheli-port.com to learn more or email us at info@sheli-port.com for more details.

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | March 14, 2012

Helicopter and Airplanes: Sharing the Ground at the Airport


Humans, on the whole, congregate into groups with a similar focus. There always has to be an opponent to strengthen the group – the old “us versus them” mentality. Look at sports fans loyal to the death for their favorite team, or state college rivalries. Even on a small scale, this instinct prevails – power boaters versus sail boaters, mountain bikes versus street bikes, wine versus beer…helicopter versus airplane.

OK, so that last one has some real and some perceived issues. In the air, the two are much safer being separated due to the different performance and visibility issues, but what about on the ground? As it turns out, that’s also an issue.

When I first started enquiring about helicopter storage space in New Jersey, the woman at the first local airport I visited told me in no uncertain terms that helicopters were not welcome. “Too many problems,” she said, “it’s not worth the hassle.”

At flight school, we were told to drag our helicopter all the way to the end of the hangar row before starting up. It seems rotor wash sends dust and undesirable stuff into the adjoining hangars. That baffled me. Airplane propellers did the exact same thing when they taxied by, but you never saw an airplane owner pulling the aircraft all the way out to the apron.

When designing the sHeli-Port helicopter storage solution, I kept these anti-helicopter sentiments in mind, trying to help solve that issue. And solve it we did.

With the portable and sturdy sHeli-Port, airports can now designate an area for helicopters, away from airplane hangars and tie down spots, thus eliminating the “too many problems” of the past.

The sHeli-Port can be staked down anywhere on the airport grounds. A line of sHeli-Ports can be rented long-term or even overnight, creating a source of revenue for an airport. News will travel fast in the helicopter community when an airport provides a helicopter-friendly storage location with safe and secure protection.

The portability of the sHeli-Port is ideal for airports. As the need for space changes, they can easily be relocated to another part of the field, no painting or asphalt resurfacing required.

Airport owners don’t need to turn away helicopter business because of perceived hassles. Airplanes and helicopters can share the space with the proper storage solution. Get a sHeli-Port and grow.

I’d appreciate hearing your opinion. If you knew there were sHeli-Ports available to rent at a specific airport, either long-term or just overnight, would you adjust your plans so you could use that airport in order to have the use of a sHeli-Port? Please leave a reply below.

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | February 22, 2012

What’s Stored in Your Hangar?

In doing extensive research during the development phase of the sHeli-Port™, I discovered, not surprisingly, that unless you’re Donald Trump, the majority of helicopter owners store their aircraft in rented airport hangars. More often than not hangar waiting lists are several years long, and it is not uncommon to share hangar space with another aircraft owner. Even those fortunate enough to secure a private hangar space will attempt to get their money’s worth by storing items other than the helicopter.

Take, for instance, my airport. I live in New Jersey and I’ve discovered some fascinating trends here in regards to what shares the hangar space with a helicopter.

Helicopter stored in a hangarUniversally, there is the motorcycle in some stage of repair or expectation of better weather. You’d be hard pressed to walk a line of hangars and not see a collection of classic vehicles, even if they are simply “classic” in terms of when they last ran. The inevitable boat is never more than a hangar away. And then there is the collection of fixed wing aircraft, either working or in some state of disassembly. And let’s not forget those RVs and campers.

No helicopter hangar is complete without its golf cart tow vehicle or ancient ride-on lawn mower we use to tow the helicopter in and out. Pushing a helicopter on its tow wheels is evidently so last decade.

Before I got into helicopters, I treated myself to a shiny new Dodge Viper. The garage was its Taj Mahal. Not the kids’ bikes, rakes, lawn tractor, or any other nefarious garage lingering item was allowed anywhere near my baby.

So why isn’t this attitude more prevalent in hangars where the aircraft are several times more expensive and fragile? While a scratch on my Viper would have been life threatening only to the person who did it (once I got my hands on them), a dent in a rotor blade or tail boom of a helicopter could be truly deadly. Yet people pack their hangars with all sorts of things that could do some serious damage.

The sHeli-Port helicopter storage case is my answer for helicopter owners who recognize the potential hazards of sharing hangar space with anything. Nothing is in the sHeli-Port but your helicopter and the built-in dolly pad eliminates the need for a tow cart of any sort. A helicopter owner saves money by getting a sHeli-Port for the helicopter and renting a far less expensive storage garage for non-aviation treasures.

At the Heli-Expo 2012 in Dallas, Texas last week, I spoke with several visitors who, after learning about the sHeli-Port, lamented that they had just finished building new hangars. Let’s see, maybe they should put their tractors and boats in the hangar and follow our “Got a Heli? Get a sHeli” philosophy.

What’s in your hangar? Or, what have you seen in other hangars that just made you shake your head in awe? We’re posting photos of some of the craziest hangars right here on this site. Send your messy hangar photo to info@sheli-port.com and we may include it here on sHeli-Port Insights. We promise not to name you if you’d like to stay anonymous.  In the meantime, take a look at sHeli-Port.com to see some of the hangar storage hazards we’ve identified.

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | February 11, 2012

sHeli-Port in Action

It’s great to be at the 2012 Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas, meeting with everyone who stops by booth #918 to learn about the sHeli-Port storage solution. It’s always enlightening to talk with people about their helicopter storage situation and to have a few moments to show them our demonstration video. Those of you who are curious about the sHeli-Port, but are unable to meet us in person at the expo, can experience the sHeli-Port in action by clicking below.

Posted by: sHeli-Port™ Insights | February 4, 2012

Helicopter damage: I swear I didn’t do it, but it gave me an idea

Four years ago when I was still in flight training, I arrived at the airport for my 0800 helicopter lesson only to discover two of the school’s helicopters were damaged. Those helicopters were out of service 10 days, leaving me and the other students without flights and the school without flight training revenue.

Fortunately, the damage was discovered before a potential accident. The morning of my flight a student discovered a coin-sized dimple in one of the rotor blades. Someone else noticed a similar ding in the blades of the helicopter that had been parked beside it in the same hangar. It became pretty obvious that someone manually turned the blades of one helicopter, hitting the other, and causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage and lost income.

I learned two things from this experience: The value of a thorough preflight, and there must be a better way to park and store helicopters.

After a little research I discovered conventional helicopter protection devices don’t protect the entire machine and only a few protect the expensive and fragile rotor blades.

From this little but expensive incident the sHeli-Port™ helicopter storage and shipping case was born. After substantial patent searching, much prototyping, testing and an early vision, we developed the product we now commercialize as sHeli-Port. Finally, there is a way to secure the entire helicopter from any damage – hangar rash, tampering, weather, you name it –safely and securely.

I know my experience isn’t isolated. Have you seen or witnessed damage caused by an overcrowded or poor helicopter storage solution? Please tell us your worst war story.

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