On July 29th, Robinson delivered R66 Turbine serial number 1000 to Robinson dealer Les Gillespie of Gardner Aviation.
FAA-certified in October 2010, the first production R66 was delivered the following month. Since then, the R66 has proven itself on a daily basis. Powered by the Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine, the R66 recently surpassed 1.2 million flight hours without a single reported in-flight engine failure. This accomplishment demonstrates a level of reliability that exceeds EASA’s stringent requirements for single-engine helicopters. The R66 has also risen to the challenges of flying to the North Pole and circumnavigating the globe multiple times.
“Delivering serial number 1000 demonstrates the R66 is the top performer and leader in its class,” said Robinson President, Kurt Robinson.
Today’s R66 is offered with many options including a cargo hook, lithium-ion battery, fuel flow system, auxiliary fuel tanks, impact resistance windshields, state-of-the-art touchscreen avionics, and a SAS/autopilot. The aircraft is also available in the police, news, and float configurations.
When asked about the R66, dealer Les Gillespie said, “Because the R66 can be configured to meet the needs of any pilot or helicopter flight department, it quickly became our number-one selling helicopter.” The aircraft’s new owner, Donovan Valentine of Monarch Helicopters previously owned an R44 and decided to upgrade to an R66 to better serve his tour company.
The R66 was designed to be the Robinson first turbine-powered product and to extend its product range to compete with larger helicopters manufactured by Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter. Most of the R66 design is based on the earlier piston-engine R44.
In 2012, Robinson delivered 191 R66s while Robinson's competitors in the light single turbine sector delivered only 40 units between them, 70% of the R66 production is exported. In 2014, the production rate slowed to about two R66s per week for a total of 101 for the year. In 2015, Robinson produced three R66s per week. Robinson Helicopter Company has contracted with Rolls-Royce to supply 100 RR300 turbines per year for 10 years.
At Heli Expo 2018, Robinson introduced a cargo hook as optional equipment. This modification increases the aircraft's maximum gross weight from 1,225 to 1,315 kg. It is currently available in two variants.
Capacity: 4 passengers or 1,200 lb (540 kg) external load
Length: 8.99 m
Width: 1.47 m
Height: 3.48 m
Empty weight: 585 kg
Gross weight: 1,225 kg
Fuel capacity: 279 l
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft, 224 shp continuous, 270 shp takeoff
Main rotor diameter: 10 m
Tail rotor Diameter: 1.52 m
Cruise speed: 110 kn
Never exceed speed: 140 kn
Range: 350 nmi
Service ceiling: 14,000 ft
Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min
Fuel Consumption: 87 l per hour