Project Summary

Need for a Helipad

Helicopter transports to UCSF Mission Bay are limited to the most critical and life-threatening situations and require approval of a UCSF physician prior to transport. Examples of patients who would require helicopter transport include: a child with a serious heart defect who requires immediate surgery to survive; a child with septic shock and organ failure who could die within hours; a pregnant woman with severe preeclampsia threatening her life and the life of her baby.  Helicopters are not be used for trauma scene transport (e.g., victims of a car accident).   

This valuable resource, which is standard at many similar hospitals throughout the country, benefits all patients who come to the hospital by attracting and retaining top-notch medical students, residents, physicians and staff. For more information about the UCSF Medical Center, please go to UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.

Key Helipad Facts

UCSF implemented a primary flight path designed for helicopters to approach and depart to and from the east over the water to minimize noise impacts on residences. There are also pre-designated second and third choice flight paths, as required, for rare situations in which the pilot determines that it is unsafe to follow the primary flight path. Hovering is not a part of a routine helipad landing—a marked difference from news and traffic helicopters.  

Helicopter transports will not be used for:

  • Trauma scene transport (e.g., victims of a car accident)
  • Routine transport of stable patients.
  • Transport of patients from UCSF to other facilities.
  • Transport of staff, administrators or other non-patient-related travel.

The helipad has met all requirements and obtained many approvals, including: Federal Aviation Administration (December 2008), UC Office of the President (April 2009), San Francisco Board of Supervisors (July 2009), California Department of Transportation (November 2009 & September 2013). 

Related documentation

Community Involvement

Meetings with the Community

July 30, 2015
Community Meeting No. 3
View online

May 13, 2015
Community Meeting No. 2
View online

November 18, 2014
Community Meeting No. 1
View online

Contact Information

For specific questions about helipad operations, please contact us at [email protected] or (415) 476-4100.

Michele Davis, MPH, MCP
Associate Director, Community Relations
Community & Government Relations
University of California, San Francisco
3333 California Street, Suite 103 | San Francisco, CA 94118-0462
tel: 415/476-3024 | fax: 415/476-3541

Email: [email protected]

Community & Government Relations Projects

UCSF is engaged in a variety of ongoing projects designed to enhance the campus and medical center, and better serve both patients and the greater community. When we embark on any project, planning always includes engagement with the local community.