Robinson R66

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R66
R66 at RHC.jpg
R66 prototype in 2009
Role Light utility and trainer helicopter
Manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Company
Designer Frank D. Robinson
First flight 7 November 2007
Status in production
Number built More than 500 (2014)[1]
Unit cost
$839,000[2][3]
Developed from Robinson R44

The Robinson R66 is a turbine-powered helicopter designed and built by the Robinson Helicopter Company. It has five seats and a separate cargo compartment[4] and is powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft. The R66 is slightly faster and smoother than the Robinson R44 from which it is derived. The R66 received both type and production certificates from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on October 25, 2010.[5] Deliveries started in November 2010.

Development[edit]

Announced in 2007, the R66 was designed to be the company's 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.

After flight-testing two prototypes and the new engine, the aircraft was submitted to the FAA for certification; the type certificate was awarded on 25 October 2010.[6]

Robinson Helicopter Company started taking orders for the R66 in February 2010. It went into preliminary production in 2010, and full production in 2011. The two-seat R22 and four seat-R44 continued in production.[7]

A four seat police version of the R66 has entered production with a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera system, searchlight and external public address (PA) system as standard equipment. Robinson is also seeking certification for a cargo hook and floats for the R66.[8][9]

In 2012, Robinson delivered 191 R66 while Robinson's competitors in the light single turbine sector delivered only 40 units between them. About 70 percent of the R66 production is exported.[10] However in 2014, the production rate slowed to about two R66 per week, suggesting a total of 100 R66 for the year.[11]

Russia certified the R66 in March 2013,[12] while Canada certified it in Summer 2013.[13] European EASA certification[14] was granted in May 2014,[15][16] and China certified shortly after.[17]

The R66 Turbine Marine with pop-out floats was FAA certified in November 2014. A journalist pilot described ground landing with them as better than the standard R66. Retrofit floats will not be available for the standard R66.[18]

Design[edit]

The R66 is a single-engined helicopter with a two-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor, and a skid landing gear. The R66 is constructed from advanced composites, aluminum alloy sheet and chromoly steel. Like the R44, the R66 has both electromechanical instruments as well as the more modern digital glass cockpit.[19]

The R66 is the first Robinson helicopter with a cargo hold; the hold carries up to 300 pounds (140 kg).[2]

R66 Turbine production model

The RR300 engine is more compact and lighter than the Lycoming O-540 six-cylinder piston engine that powers the R44—the R66 has a lower empty weight than the R44.[2] The RR300 is cheaper to buy, and has a simplified single-stage centrifugal compressor that is expected to result in lower maintenance costs.[20]

The turbine burns Jet-A fuel at a rate of 23 US gallons (87 l) per hour, compared to 15 US gallons (57 l) of Avgas per hour for the O-540.[2]

Operators[edit]

The aircraft is operated by private individuals and companies.

The Nigerian Air Force operates two R66 Turbines in a flight training role at Enugu[21]

The Fontana Police Department in California received the first production R66 Police variant in October 2012.[22]

A Robinson R66 Helicopter is being used in Colombia as a pediatric air ambulance.[23]

Specifications (R66)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 459 in (11.66 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 33 feet (396 in) (10.06 m)
  • Tail rotor diameter: 60 in (1.52 m)
  • Height: 137 in (3.48 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,280 lb (1,400 lb minimum); (581 kg (635 kg minimum))
  • Loaded weight: 2,700 lb (1,225 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft, 270 hp take-off, 224 hp continuous ()

Performance

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ "500th R66 Delivered". Heli Ops. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Larson, George C. Robinson: Ready for the Rebound Aviation Week, 2 March 2011. Accessed: 6 March 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ R66 turbine 2013 price list Robinson Helicopter Company, 7 February 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
  4. ^ Rotor & Wing magazine
  5. ^ AIN Online
  6. ^ "RotorNews®". New.rotor.com. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  7. ^ Goyer, Robert (2009-06-07). "R66 Robinson Approaches | Flying Magazine". Flyingmag.com. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  8. ^ Huber, Mark (10 January 2013). "Robinson Helicopter Excels in 2012, Sees Bright 2013". Aviation International News. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.robinsonheli.com/media/newsletters/2013_winter.pdf
  10. ^ MARK HUBER and THIERRY DUBOIS. "Bell Reveals more on ‘short light single’" 3 August 2013. Accessed: 11 December 2013.
  11. ^ Jeremy Parkin. "R66 production slows, pushing lead time to six months" HeliHub, 30 July 2014. Accessed: 4 August 2014.
  12. ^ Drwiega, Andrew. "Russia Certifies Robinson R66" Rotor & Wing, 28 March 2013. Accessed: 8 June 2014. Archived on 8 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Robinson Scores R66 Type Certificate from Transport Canada" Rotor & Wing, 3 June 2014. Accessed: 8 June 2014.
  14. ^ Oliver Johnson (31 January 2014). "ROBINSON QUESTIONS 'FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR' EASA R66 CERTIFICATION FEES". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "EASA.IM.R.507 Robinson R66" European Aviation Safety Agency, 2 May 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
  16. ^ Elan Head (5 May 2014). "Robinson R66 receives EASA certification". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Robinson PR (8 May 2014). "China certifies Robinson R66". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Maher, Guy R. "Robinson unveils R66 Turbine Marine" Vertical, 4 December 2014. Accessed: 5 December 2014.
  19. ^ Maher, Guy R. "Staying the course" Vertical Magazine, 10 March 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Aero-TV Checks Out The Robinson R66: Turbine Power, Familiar Face | Aero-News Network". Aero-tv.net. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  21. ^ Mornington-Sanford, Richard. "Nigerian Air Force take delivery of their first two Robinson R66 (Turbine) helicopters". Mornington Sanford Aviation. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "FAA Certifies R66 Police Helicopter". Robinson News, Winter 2013, Volume 19, Issue 1. Robinson Helicopter Company. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "r66-being-used-in-ems-role-in-colombia/". helihub. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 

External links[edit]