February 22, 2010
Robinson Helicopter is accepting non-refundable, $75,000 deposits for its new Roll-Royce RR3000-powered model R66. Base price for the standard version of the R66 is set at $770,000. The R66 is the first turbine-powered helicopter to be sold by Robinson, which previously centered on piston-powered trainers.
The R66 will have five seats and better performance than any previous Robinson helicopter. It will also be heavier. But signature Robinson features, such as the T-bar cyclic controls and two-blade rotor system, remain basically the same.
Robinson expects to have extensive R66 support in place by the end of 2010.
A standard R66 is sparsely-equipped, but there’s a large list of optional equipment. Among the list are an artificial horizon ($3,990), heading indicator ($4,690), a Garmin 530AW GPS/COM/NAV with GI-106A CDI ($25,600), and a $6,400 tow cart. A King KY 196A com radio is standard, as is a Garmin GTX327 transponder and leather seats.
Company President Frank Robinson said that all efforts were now centered on earning FAA type certification of the R66, which he said “shouldn’t be too much longer.” Orders are coming in rapidly, he said, and initial production rates should start “at about two per week.” The Robinson factory has expanded its floor space by approximately 130,000 square feet to accommodate R66 production.
“It flies very much like the R44, but it’s a little smoother, a little quieter, and a little bit faster,” Robinson said. As for step-up training, Robinson said that this would take about “20 minutes or so, to learn the start sequence … otherwise, it handles just like an R44.” However, to qualify for insurance in the R66, he felt that the more R44 time a pilot has, the better.
Additional components and options are in the works. These include air conditioning, a police version, and pop-out floats.
Preliminary specifications were issued at Heli-Expo 2010.
73.6 gals/493 lbs
Payload with full fuel
approximately 120 knots
Max range (no reserves)
approx. 325 nm
Hover ceiling, in ground effect
over 10,000 feet
Hover ceiling, out of ground effect
Rate of climb
over 1,000 fpm
Max operating altitude
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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