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
Produced 2007–present
Number built More than 700 (Dec 2015)[1]
Unit cost
$869,000 (Feb. 2016)[2]
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.[3]

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.[4]

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. A cargo hook was approved in the EU and the United States in 2015.[5]

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

Russia certified the R66 in March, 2013,[10] while Canada certified it in Summer 2013.[11] European EASA certification[12] was granted in May, 2014,[13][14] and China certified shortly after.[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 will not be available for the standard R66.[16]

During December, 2015 it was announced that Robinson Helicopter had sold 700 R66s.[1]

Design[edit]

The R66 is a single-engined helicopter with a two-bladed main rotor, two-bladed tail rotor and 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 the more modern digital glass cockpit.[17]

The R66 is the first Robinson helicopter with a cargo hold; the hold carries up to 300 pounds (140 kg).[18]

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.[18] The RR300 has a simplified single-stage centrifugal compressor that makes it less expensive and is expected to result in lower maintenance costs.[19]

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.[18]

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.[20]

Air Ambulance operators

An R66 is being used in Colombia as a pediatric air ambulance.[21]

Military operators

 Nigeria

Specifications[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. ^ a b "Robinson to Deliver 700th R66 Helicopter" (PDF). Robinson Helicopter. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015. 
  2. ^ R66 turbine price list Robinson Helicopter Company, dated 19 February 2016, retrieved 3 April 2016
  3. ^ AIN Online
  4. ^ Goyer, Robert (2009-06-07). "R66 Robinson Approaches | Flying Magazine". Flyingmag.com. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  5. ^ DART R66 cargo hook now FAA and EASA approved Press release.
  6. ^ Mark Huber and Thierry Dubois. "Bell Reveals more on ‘short light single’" 3 August 2013. Accessed: 11 December 2013.
  7. ^ Jeremy Parkin. "R66 production slows, pushing lead time to six months" HeliHub, 30 July 2014. Accessed: 4 August 2014.
  8. ^ Head, Elan (2015). "Expanded options". Vertical Magazine, Heli-Expo news. pp. 64–66. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Huber, Mark (3 March 2015). "Robinson Boosts Production as Sales Surge, Strikes Deal for 1,000 Rolls-Royce Turboshafts". Aviation International News. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Drwiega, Andrew. "Russia Certifies Robinson R66" Rotor & Wing, 28 March 2013. Accessed: 8 June 2014. Archived on 8 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Robinson Scores R66 Type Certificate from Transport Canada" Rotor & Wing, 3 June 2014. Accessed: 8 June 2014.
  12. ^ Oliver Johnson (31 January 2014). "ROBINSON QUESTIONS 'FUNDAMENTALLY UNFAIR' EASA R66 CERTIFICATION FEES". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "EASA.IM.R.507 Robinson R66" European Aviation Safety Agency, 2 May 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
  14. ^ Elan Head (5 May 2014). "Robinson R66 receives EASA certification". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Robinson PR (8 May 2014). "China certifies Robinson R66". Vertical Mag. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Maher, Guy R. "Robinson unveils R66 Turbine Marine" Vertical, 4 December 2014. Accessed: 5 December 2014.
  17. ^ Maher, Guy R. "Staying the course" Vertical Magazine, 10 March 2014. Accessed: 3 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b c d Larson, George C. Robinson: Ready for the Rebound Aviation Week, 2 March 2011. Accessed: 6 March 2011.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Aero-TV Checks Out The Robinson R66: Turbine Power, Familiar Face | Aero-News Network". Aero-tv.net. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  20. ^ "FAA Certifies R66 Police Helicopter" (PDF). Robinson News, Winter 2013, Volume 19, Issue 1. Robinson Helicopter Company. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "r66-being-used-in-ems-role-in-colombia/". helihub. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  22. ^ Mornington-Sanford, Richard. "Nigerian Air Force take delivery of their first two Robinson R66 (Turbine) helicopters". Mornington Sanford Aviation. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 

External links[edit]