Tue, May 11, 2010
One of the most interesting conversations to be had in any
helicopter-oriented environment occurs whenever Frank Robinson is
part of it. At the 2010 Heli-Expo, Frank Robinson updated an
enthusiastic crowd on the much-anticipated R66 turbine helicopter.
Expo attendees had the opportunity to get an up-close look at the
five-place helicopter on display. He also sat down with ANN to talk
about all manner of future possibilities for the immensely popular
Robinson Helicopter line.
Though few specifics were released due to ongoing research and
development, Robinson confirmed several significant details
including base price and performance specifications; customers can
purchase the standard-equipped R66 at $770,000.
Launched in 2007, the R66 features many of the same design
features as its predecessor, the R44, including a two-bladed rotor
system, T-bar cyclic, and an open interior cabin configuration.
Robinson, however, expects the R66 to be "a little bit smoother, a
little bit quieter, and a little bit faster than the R44." Most
notably, the R66 features increased reserve power and better high
Preliminary test data indicates a 120 kt cruise speed and
approximately 325 nm max range. The new helicopter will also offer
a useful load of 927 lbs with maximum fuel.
Robinson expressed optimism that the FAA certification process
is nearly complete. The company is now accepting $75,000
non-refundable deposits; however, until the certification has been
finalized, serial numbers will not be assigned and delivery dates
will not be confirmed.
Robinson estimates production will start at about two aircraft
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