Robinson's Evolutionary Turbine Five-Seater Is Ready To Rotor!!!
Boy... have we been waiting for this... our first flight in a CERTIFIED R66 Turbine helicopter -- and the only thing more impressive than our experience with this new bird was the fact that the actual result exceeded our expectations... and mind you, they were pretty damned high. STILL... before we get to the flight test, let's spend some time with Robinson Uber-Flyer Doug Tompkins as we preflight this amazing new machine.
Preliminary design of the R66 began in 2001 but engineering began in earnest in 2005 when Robinson reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce to develop the RR300 turbine engine. RHC Founder and recently retired President Frank Robinson had considered other power plant options, but ultimately collaborated with Rolls-Royce on the RR300, a derivative of the Rolls-Royce model 250 series. The concept of the R66 is the same that launched the R22 in 1979 and the R44 in 1992: a helicopter designed to perform as well or better than its competitors but for a lot less money. The R66 is certified to the current amendment of the federal regulations, including the latest crashworthiness standards. Pete Riedl, Robinson’s Chief Engineer, stated, “Because we were not working to a hard deadline, we had the opportunity to refine and optimize the design. The performance of the aircraft, so far, has met or exceeded all of our expectations.”
Dealer and maintenance support is growing with nearly sixty R66 dealers approved. Robinson is continually reviewing applications and expects to have world-wide support in place by the end of the year. With a growing back log of orders, production is underway and several deliveries are already on the books.
Join Aero-TV as we kick the skids of the R66 and make ready to test this beast the hard way... by letting Jim (whose not what you'd call current right now in small helos) loose in it for all manner of hamhandedness. And keep an eye out for our flight test programs on flying the R66 as well as an illuminating interview with Robinson Helicopter Company President Kurt Robinson.
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