Nearly 15,000 attendees filled the exhibit hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston through the second day of Heli-Expo 2010. The three-day show officially comes to a close today. The total number of exhibitors this year was 596, up from 585 last year. Total attendance was expected to be within 1 to 3 percent of last year’s record 17,373.
Robinson Helicopter has set an initial price of $770,000 for its Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66 turbine single. 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 company vice president Kurt Robinson, explaining the price decision.
The ongoing worldwide need for helicopters of all types that serve diverse industry and government segments is helping keep manufacturers like Rolls-Royce busy. Current Rolls-Royce engine programs include the RR500 turboshaft and turboprop, the already certified RR300 and the venerable M250. The LHTEC T800 partnership with Honeywell also remains active, with four first flights last year.
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.
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.
There are surprisingly active developments in the single-engine helicopter field, with new rotorcraft on the way such as the turbine-powered Robinson R66 and Sikorsky S-434. Kit manufacturer RotorWay is even coming to market with a planned certified turbine helicopter, the 300T Eagle, announced at last year’s EAA AirVenture show. The Russian Helicopters Mi-34S2 Sapsan will also offer turbine power.
Robinson Helicopter yesterday told AIN that it set an initial price of $770,000 for its Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66 single-turbine helicopter. The company also has begun accepting $75,000 individual deposits and dealer applications for the helicopter and will have it on display at Heli-Expo later this month in Houston.
Robinson Helicopter vice president Kurt Robinson last month said the market for his company’s piston-engine helicopters has improved substantially from earlier in the year thanks to strong export sales aided by the weak dollar. However, Robinson said it was unlikely that last year’s tally would equal the record 893 helicopters the company sold in 2008.
Barbara Robinson, 53, former vice president of Robinson Helicopters and wife of company founder and president Frank Robinson, died on August 13 after a long battle with breast cancer. She began working at Robinson Helicopter in 1978 and was instrumental in marketing the company’s R22 trainer and developing the company’s worldwide dealer network. Robinson remained active with the company until 1995.
Rolls-Royce boosted availability of RR300 engine parts and customer services by signing an exclusive distribution agreement with AAR. According to Rolls-Royce Helicopter Engine business president Ken Roberts, the worldwide AAR group
will provide a turnkey solution for RR300 operators around the clock. The RR300 turboshaft has been selected by Robinson Helicopter to power its new R66 and