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[1]
Status In production
Produced 2007–present
Number built 763 as of January 2017[2]
Unit cost
$879,000 as of January 2017[3]
Developed from Robinson R44

The Robinson R66 is a helicopter designed and built by Robinson Helicopter Company. It has five seats, a separate cargo compartment, and is powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft engine. 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.[4]

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.

Robinson started taking orders for the R66 in February, 2010. It went into preliminary production in 2010, and full production in 2011. The existing two-seat R22 and four-seat R44 continued in production.[5]

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.[6]

In 2012, Robinson delivered 191 R66s 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.[7] In 2014, the production rate slowed to about two R66s per week[8] for a total of 101 for the year.[9] In 2015, Robinson produced three R66s per week. RHC has contracted with Rolls-Royce to supply 100 RR300 turbines per year for 10 years.[10]

Russia certified the R66 in March 2013,[11] while Canada certified it in June 2013.[12] European EASA and Chinese CAAC certifications were granted in the second quarter of 2014.[13][14][15]

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 are not available for the standard R66.[16]

A cargo hook was approved in the EU and the United States in 2015.[17]

In December 2015 Robinson announced it had sold 700 R66s.[18]

On July 13 2017, Robinson announced certification of R66 Turbine Newscopter(R66 ENG).[19]

On 25 January 2017 Robinson announced that it had delivered its 12,000th aircraft, an R66 to a charter and tour operator, Fly Karoo Air Services.[20]

On 17 July 2017, Robinson introduced the TB17 Lithium-ion phosphate battery as optional equipment. The battery weights 16 lb, which is lighter than previous 42 lb standard and 52 lb high capacity battery.[21]

Design[edit]

The R66 is a single-engined helicopter with two-bladed main and tail rotors, and a fixed 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 and optional digital glass cockpit.[22]

The R66 is the first Robinson helicopter with a cargo hold; the hold carries up to 300 pounds (140 kg).[23]

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.[23] The RR300 has a simplified single-stage centrifugal compressor which makes it less expensive and is expected to result in lower maintenance costs.[24]

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.[23]

At Heli Expo 2018, Robinson introduced a cargo hook as an optional equipment. This modification increases the aircraft's maximum gross weight from 2700 lb to 2900 lb.[25] It is currently available in two variants.

Operators[edit]

The aircraft is operated by private individuals and companies:

Police operators

The Fontana Police Department in California received the first production R66 Police variant in October, 2012.[6]

Air Ambulance operators

An R66 is being used in Colombia as a pediatric air ambulance.[26]

Military operators

 Nigeria

Specifications[edit]

Data from Manufacturer[28][29]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 29 ft 6 in (8.99 m)
  • Width: 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 5 in (3.48 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,290 lb (585 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,700 lb (1,225 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 73.6 US gallons (279 l)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft, 224 shp (167 kW) continuous, 270 shp (200 kW) takeoff (5 minutes)
  • Main rotor diameter: 33 ft (10 m)
  • Tail rotor Diameter: 5 ft (1.52 m)

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 110 kn (127 mph; 204 km/h)
  • Never exceed speed: 140 kn (161 mph; 259 km/h)
  • Range: 350 nmi (403 mi; 648 km)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,300 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)
  • Fuel Consumption: 23 US gallons (87 l) per hour[23]

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chase, Mike (1 February 2014). "Aircraft Comparative Analysis—Robinson R66". AvBuyer. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Robinson Helicopter Company Delivers 12,000th Helicopter" (Press release). Torrance, CA: Robinson Helicopter Company. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "R66 Turbine—2017 Price List" (PDF). Robinson Helicopter Company. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  4. ^ Thurber, Matt (26 October 2010). "R66 Receives Simultaneous FAA Type, Production OK". AINonline. AIN Publications. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Goyer, Robert (7 June 2009). "R66 Robinson Approaches". Flying. Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "FAA Certifies R66 Police Helicopter" (PDF). Robinson News. Vol. 19 no. 1. Robinson Helicopter Company. 15 February 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Huber, Mark; Dubois, Thierry (3 August 2013). "Bell Reveals more on 'short light single'". AINonline. AIN Publications. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Parkin, Jeremy (30 July 2014). "R66 production slows, pushing lead time to six months". HeliHub. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "2016 General Aviation Statistical Databook & 2017 Industry Outlook" (PDF). General Aviation Manufacturers Association. 2017: 17. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  10. ^ Huber, Mark (3 March 2015). "Robinson Boosts Production as Sales Surge, Strikes Deal for 1,000 Rolls-Royce Turboshafts". AINonline. AIN Publications. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Drwiega, Andrew (28 March 2013). "Russia Certifies Robinson R66". Rotor & Wing. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Robinson Scores R66 Type Certificate from Transport Canada". Rotor & Wing. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Type Certificate Data Sheet (PDF) (Report). EASA. 11 December 2015. p. 3. EASA.IM.R.507. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  14. ^ Head, Elan (5 May 2014). "Robinson R66 receives EASA certification". Vertical. MHM Publishing. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "China certifies Robinson R66". Vertical. MHM Publishing. Robinson Helicopter Company. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Maher, Guy R. (4 December 2014). "Robinson unveils R66 Turbine Marine". Vertical. MHM Publishing. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "DART R66 cargo hook now FAA and EASA approved". Vertical. MHM Publishing. DART Aerospace. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Robinson to Deliver 700th R66 Helicopter" (Press release). Torrance, CA: Robinson Helicopter Company. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  19. ^ "FAA Certifies Robinson R66 Turbine Newscopter". robinsonheli.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  20. ^ "Robinson Helicopter Company Delivers 12,000th Helicopter - Robinson Helicopter Company". robinsonheli.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  21. ^ "Lithium-ion Battery Now Available for Robinso R66". robinsonheli.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  22. ^ Maher, Guy R. (10 March 2014). "Staying the course". Vertical. MHM Publishing. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c d Larson, George C. (1 March 2011). "Robinson: Ready for the Rebound". Aviation Week. Retrieved 6 March 2011. (Subscription required (help)). 
  24. ^ "Aero-TV Checks Out The Robinson R66: Turbine Power, Familiar Face". Aero-TV. Aero-News Network. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  25. ^ "wR66 Turbine Optional Cargo Hook Carries Loads up to 1200 lb". robinsonheli.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  26. ^ Haverdee, Ben (13 November 2013). "R66 being used in EMS role in Colombia". HeliHub. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  27. ^ Mornington-Sanford, Richard (December 2012). "Nigerian Air Force take delivery of their first two Robinson R66 (Turbine) helicopters". Mornington Sanford Aviation. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "R66 Turbine & R66 Turbine Marine". Robinson Helicopter Company. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  29. ^ R66 Pilot's Operating Handbook (PDF). Robinson Helicopter Company. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 

External links[edit]