It was a tough year for most of the airplane business... but the helo biz showed signs of growth and recovery... and Robinson helicopters, most of all. Even more impressive, after fielding their first turbine helicopter, the R66, it looks like RHC has a major hit on its hands.
On 23 December 2011, R66 serial number 0100 rolled off Robinson's production line, just one year and two months after the R66 Turbine received FAA certification. The 5-place R66 is Robinson's largest and most powerful helicopter. The idea, conceived more than a decade ago, was to produce a reasonably priced, low maintenance, high performance turbine helicopter that would fill the emerging void in the turbine helicopter market.
Worldwide response to the R66 has been very strong, surpassing Robinson's initial expectations. To date, the company has received over 380 R66 orders; more than 70% of those orders are from foreign countries. Foreign sales have consistently accounted for more than 60% of the company's overall aircraft sales. R66 S/N 0100 was delivered to National Airways Corp. (NAC), Robinson's longtime dealer in South Africa.
Robinson is already looking to expand their market... with RHC Boss Kurt Robinson telling ANN that as the R66 market expands, Robinson will continue to develop new options, including a police version, and ENG version, a float version and an external cargo hook.