|R66 prototype in 2009|
|Role||Light utility and trainer helicopter|
|Manufacturer||Robinson Helicopter Company|
|Designer||Frank D. Robinson|
|First flight||7 November 2007|
|Number built||More than 500 (2014)|
|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 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. Deliveries started in November 2010.
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.
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.
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.
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. However in 2014, the production rate slowed to about two R66 per week, suggesting a total of 100 R66 for the year.
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.
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.
The R66 is the first Robinson helicopter with a cargo hold; the hold carries up to 300 pounds (140 kg).
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. The RR300 is cheaper to buy, and has a simplified single-stage centrifugal compressor that is expected to result in lower maintenance costs.
The aircraft is operated by private individuals and companies.
A Robinson R66 Helicopter is being used in Colombia as a pediatric air ambulance.
- 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 ()
- Maximum speed: 140 kn (161 mph, 259 km/h; or 130 kn when above 2200 lb (998 kg))
- Cruise speed: 125 kn (144 mph, 231 km/h)
- Range: 325 nm (375 miles, 601 km)
- Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4267 m)
- Rate of climb: 1000 fpm (304 m/min)
- Fuel consumption: 23 US gallons (87 l) per hour
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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- Maher, Guy R. "Staying the course" Vertical Magazine, 10 March 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
- "Aero-TV Checks Out The Robinson R66: Turbine Power, Familiar Face | Aero-News Network". Aero-tv.net. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- Mornington-Sanford, Richard. "Nigerian Air Force take delivery of their first two Robinson R66 (Turbine) helicopters". Mornington Sanford Aviation. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "FAA Certifies R66 Police Helicopter". Robinson News, Winter 2013, Volume 19, Issue 1. Robinson Helicopter Company. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "r66-being-used-in-ems-role-in-colombia/". helihub. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
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