HAI Convention News

Robinson Helicopter Developing Kits for Increasingly Popular R66

 - February 11, 2012, 8:45 PM

Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 9840) recently delivered its 100th R66 single-engine turbine helicopter to long-time customer and South African-dealer National Airways Corp. Just 14 months after receiving FAA certification, Robinson has received 380 orders for the five passenger Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66, 70 percent of those from the export market.

Customer response to the R66 has exceeded expectations, said Robinson CEO Kurt Robinson. The company is currently busy adding to its list of foreign certifications for the R66 and developing specialized kits, including law-enforcement packages for the helicopter. It also is investigating glass-panel avionics options. An R66 equipped with a law-enforcement package is on display here in the static area at Heli-Expo

Robinson built 356 helicopters (212 R44s, 88 R66s and 56 R22s) last year, a significant increase from the 162 helicopters it manufactured in 2010. The Torrance, Calif.-based company also booked orders for 360 turbine R66s last year.

It began this year with an order backlog for 400 helicopters, recently expanded its manufacturing facility and announced it is hiring more employees after adding 250 to its payroll last year.

Robinson is currently producing six R44s per week and plans to significantly increase R66 production beyond the current three units per week.

Here at Heli-Expo, the company is unveiling several product upgrades for the R44, including LED lighting and restyled seats.