HAI Convention News

R66 hovers into Houston

 - February 20, 2010, 2:48 PM

The first flying turbine-powered Robinson helicopter arrived on Thursday at the George R. Brown Convention Center for Heli-Expo 2010 with Robinson Helicopter vice president Kurt Robinson and chief test pilot Doug Tompkins at the controls of the experimental R66. During the two-day flight from the company’s headquarters in Torrance, Calif., Robinson reported that the helicopter consistently achieved a speed of 120 knots and had an average fuel burn of about 23 gallons per hour.

Robinson flew the helicopter for the first time a week ago, “just to check it out and to do some practice in it and some autorotations. It was really nice. The transition from the R44 into this is extremely easy. The start-up procedure is really simple and once you get under way, except for the fact that you are a little smoother and a little faster, you feel like you are in an R44,” Robinson said. 

Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 2129) has set an initial price for its Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66 single-engine turbine helicopter of $770,000. The company has begun accepting $75,000 individual deposits and dealer applications for the helicopter. “We want to create a market for this helicopter,” said Robinson, explaining the price point. Robinson said he expects deliveries of the R66 to begin later this year, depending on the progress of FAA certification. Initial deliveries will just be the basic helicopter, Robinson said, but he expects police, electronic news gathering and float versions to follow “in short order.”

Standard equipment on the R66 includes leather seats, HID landing lights and a stereo audio-control panel. Leather seats are also standard on all five seats, and the larger baggage compartment can accommodate golf clubs. Optional avionics include Garmin 420/430 GPS/nav/coms and a GTx mode-S transponder. Robinson Helicopter has also released preliminary performance numbers for the R66: payload with full fuel (73.6 gallons), 927 pounds; cruise speed, 120 knots; rate of climb, over 1,000 fpm; range (no reserves), 325 nm; hover OGE and IGE, both over 10,000 feet; and maximum operating altitude, 14,000 feet.