Southen Nevada Regional Heliport Image

Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDOA) >
The Clark County Department of Aviation manages five aviation facilities in the Clark County Airport System and operates under the policy direction of the Board of County Commissioners, the authority of the County Manager and the management of the Director of Aviation.

Background on the Southern Nevada Regional Heliport

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The FAA and helicopter air tour operators based at McCarran International Airport formally established preferred flight corridors to the Grand Canyon (departing along Tropicana and returning along Charleston) for safety reasons and to lessen the impact to air traffic at McCarran in the mid-1990s.

A rise in community concerns along the Tropicana corridor increased as helicopter operations increased.  An informal Helicopter Users Forum was created to help address community noise concerns by improving compliance along preferred corridors and where possible, revised flight procedures (e.g., increase flight altitudes, reduce direct overflights of residential areas, and alternative corridor options).  Participants of the Forum include tour operators, FAA Air Traffic Control, FAA Flight Standards District Office, and other interested parties.

The Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDOA) completed its initial helicopter noise assessment in December 2000, including noise monitoring and noise modeling.  Results showed that helicopter operations did not generate significant noise exposure over noise sensitive land uses
(per 14 CFR Part 150).  The CCDOA has conducted noise monitoring annually since 2000.

In 2001, the CCDOA, in conjunction with Commissioner Williams, held a series of neighborhood meetings to share the results of the 2000 helicopter noise assessment as well as addressing County and State limits of controlling helicopter operations.  The development of a non-urban heliport facility was identified as a potential solution, if the heliport would be utilized by air tour operators.

In the same year, the Nevada State Legislature authorized certain counties to create an advisory committee on aircraft noise.  Pursuant to NRS 244, the Advisory Committee on Helicopter Noise (ACHN) was created to formulate potential solutions to helicopter noise concerns in the Las Vegas region.  Since 2001, the ACHN has met annually to address noise concerns.

In 2002, the CCDOA pursued congressional support to acquire land near Railroad Pass in Henderson, Nevada for development of a non-urban heliport.  The site was located near another heliport being proposed within the area by one of the air tour operators.  Due to opposition from the City of Henderson, the request for release of the public land was abandoned.  In the same year, the ACHN passed an Action Item and presented requesting that the Clark County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approve of the relocation of the base of helicopter operations. 

The Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 495, Sections 300-320 (NRS 495), signed by Governor Guinn on June 20, 2003, required Clark County to designate a non‑urban heliport site for the takeoff and landing of commercial helicopters.  To fulfill the requirements of NRS 495 and in efforts to address community input, the CCDOA completed several planning studies which established the siting and facility requirements and identified a potential location for development of a non‑urban heliport.

The first was the Needs Assessment for a Southern Nevada Regional Heliport, completed in November 2003. This study documented the physical and operational characteristics of commercial operations, and identified generalized facility requirements for a non‑urban heliport accommodating multiple commercial helicopter operators.

The second study was the Site Suitability Assessment for a Southern Nevada Regional Heliport, completed in December 2003, which assessed the suitability of 13 candidate sites to accommodate the helicopter facility requirements identified in the Needs Assessment.  The site assessment concluded that while the Jean Airport and a candidate site located in Eldorado Valley (near Boulder City) are suitable for heliport development, the GoKart/Sloan candidate site located along I‑15 at the Sloan interchange would best accommodate a non‑urban heliport and recommended that these sites be retained for future consideration.

The BOCC hosted several meetings and public workshops regarding the findings of the Needs Assessment and Site Suitability Assessment and to obtain public input on the selection process.  On February 3, 2004, the BOCC hosted a public hearing regarding the designation of a non‑urban heliport site.  Considering the completed Needs Assessment and Site Suitability Assessment, the written comments and public input received on the Site Suitability Assessment and related public workshop, and the testimony given by residents, helicopter tour operators, the Advisory Committee on Helicopter Noise, and CCDOA staff during the public hearing, the BOCC directed that one additional alternative site be considered and, if it were found to meet the established requirements, it would be designated as the non‑urban heliport site.  The site was to be located about two to five miles south of the Sloan and Interstate 15 interchange.  The site was eventually referred to as the South of Sloan site.  The actual parcel was identified during a site visit that included CCDOA and three Grand Canyon helicopter air tour operators.  Technical suitability was confirmed by the evaluation of the site using the criteria established in the Site Suitability Assessment, as documented in the Supplemental Site Suitability Assessment of the South of Sloan Site.