Robinson Helicopter founder Frank Robinson said certification of the company’s new turbine R66 was “very close” and that the company planned an initial production rate of two per week for the $770,000 Rolls-Royce RR300-powered helicopter. He said the company’s current plant in Torrance, Calif., could easily accommodate anticipated R66 production.
Robinson said the company would begin work on developing an air-conditioning option for the R66, as well as packages for electronic news gathering, law enforcement and floats soon after it receives FAA type certification. He also said that he did not anticipate any difficulty certifying the R66 in Canada. “The Canadians are pretty easy to work with,” he said.
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 2129) has received a positive reaction after announcing the helicopter’s price earlier this month and is taking deposits, Robinson said, adding that there was “no guarantee the price will stay there.” He joked that pilots qualified to fly the R44 would not need much training, “maybe 20 minutes,” to transition into it. He said that the aluminum skin, stainless-steel spar rotor blade construction used on the R66 would eventually also be used on the smaller R44. That helicopter currently uses stainless-steel rotor blades. He said that the recommended TBO of 2,000 hours for the RR300 in the R66 was “Rolls-Royce’s idea.”
When asked, Robinson said there were no plans for an R88. “I haven’t thought of an 88 yet,” he answered.