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Timber Refit Decking System (TRDS) for Helidecks

Old timber helidecks: there are numerous timber decked helidecks all around the world and most of them built in the 1960s and 70s are reaching the end of their useful lives. In many cases, the steel support frames which support the timber decking is still in serviceable condition and only the timber needs to be changed out.

Timber Refit Decking System (TRDS) for Helidecks

We design and produce special timber refit decking systems (TRDS) in various sizes and configurations which are meant to be a direct swop for the timber. Over 30 such helidecks have been changed out by using the TRDS since 1990 and references from major clients are available. In all cases, the aluminium decking is designed to be top-installed without the need for scaffolding or hot work offshore.

The advantages of using aluminium alloy for such projects:

  1. Lightweight, will weigh less about 25% of equivalent hardwood timber. This reduces handling and lifting requirements
  2. Exact dimensions, aluminium decking is extruded at 100mm and 75mm deep, the two usual sizes for timber decking. This way, the interfaces of the old helideck are not affected
  3. Easier to install – special clamping system which is installed from the top
  4. Faster to install – the Lego-like construction method is unrivalled for speed of installation. An entire 22m dia deck can be re-decked in as little as 3 days (excluding timber removal)
  5. Choice of interlocked or side-by-side decking: interlocked decking provides a more efficient landing surface. Side by side decking provides the advantage of being able to remove each decking plank individually without affecting an adjacent plank.
  6. Maintenance free, all elements in the new system are designed to be completely maintenance free and are produced in either marine aluminium alloy or ss 316
  7. Hatches provided in aluminium are much lighter, safer and easier to handle than timber or steel
  8. Hatch swivel mechanisms and hardware are in corrosion resistant ss 316
  9. Environmentally friendly, recyclable aluminium is a better choice than hardwood or steel
  10. Cost effective in initial purchase against any other alternative

Installation Method

  1. Remove the old timber decking
  2. Clean and paint the existing steel support frame
  3. Apply special self adhesive neoprene tape (supplied by us) on the top flange of the steel beams as a bi-metallic corrosion insulator
  4. Working from the top, instal the decking in long lengths (typically upto 12m) using the special clamping system supplied
  5. Paint markings as usual, painting procedure supplied

Typical Scope of Supply

  • Helidecking – TRDS75, 100 or 130 depending on support span and helicopter type
  • Available for any helicopter/span combination
  • All fasteners and clamps
  • Sealing rails for butt joint connections
  • Edge coaming
  • Gutter extrusion for perimeter
  • Marine neoprene tape
  • Tie down points
  • Stairs (optional)
Helicopter Helideck Diameter Aluminium (Pancake) Steel (Pancake)
Sikorsky S-76 16m 2.0m TRD5 75
Superpuma AS332L2 19.5m 2.0m TRD5 100
S-61/S-92 22.2/20.9m 2.0m TRD5 130
Agusta AW139 16.7m 2.0m TRD5 100

Enhanced Safety® TRDS

If enhanced safety is required for a timber refit programme, the TRDS decking can be delivered in Enhanced Safety?configuration. There is no weight difference between a standard and enhanced safety decking system. As most timber decks are on unmanned platforms, the substitution of a safety decking in place of rotting timber leads to a quantum leap in terms of aviation safety. Remember that there are no real fire-fighting systems on an unmanned platform and case of an emergency, the helicopter crew have to try to exit a probably burning helicopter to grab portable extinguishers situated on the deck periphery and to fight the fire themselves: hardly a useful strategy and one which assumes that all are in good health after the mishap! Hence the UKCAA CAP437 (5th ed, ch 5) recommendation to use an Enhanced Safety mechanism on all unmanned platform helidecks.

Similarly, water spray DIFFS nozzles can be incorporated into both Standard and Enhanced Safety® TRDS.

Track Record

We have a track record in timber refit programmes going back to 1990 and including customers like the Shell Group of companies (who moved away from wood for environmental reasons back in 1991), ADMA, ADOC and ZADCO. Our policy of continuous improvement means that experience gained from one customer was used to improve the product for all. The current TRDS systems are a state-of-art design which offer an ideal solution for aging timber helidecks.


I was personally Impressed by the thinking behind the fire containment properties of the helideck to provide passive safety on its own

Bernard Valois, Chairman of the Rescue Fire Fighting Working Group

The fire demonstration was well-organized and very convincing. The design offers weight and maintainability advantages, as well as the very effective fire retardant system.

John Hannay, Area Director
United Technology Sikorsky

We are pleased to award you with a Special Recognition Award (Safety) Certificate for achievement in the field of HSE in the category “Aviation Fires Risk Downrated” for 2005.

Yousef Omair bin Yousef, CEO

…must say that I was impressed by the fire containment capabilities of the deck. The effectiveness of water in putting out the fire was clearly significant.

Jim Tuggey, Director
Bell Helicopter

The staff at AOPL were extremely professionall, very efficient and timely in all their dealings with us, from negotiations to design details and construction, and right through to certification.

Dr. John Gilmore, Project Director
Mater Health Services

All the pilots at our heliport have unanimously expressed praise for this new helideck, especially the fit and finish of this product, which replaces an old rust-pront deck. We trust the high standards of design and manufacture will be upheld…

Captain Raz Zoers, Head of Aircraft Services
Shell Brunei

I expect any potential improvements to what is already an excellent product will only emerge as a result of operating experience.

Simon Fraser-McKenzie, Senior Development Engineer
Shell UK
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