February 22, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
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
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association have jointly filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of the ongoing legal battle over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
AOPA worked with the flight training industry and FAA to quickly resolve a problem that suddenly put many rating applications on hold.
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