Robinson R66 Floats Certified

Torrance, California-based Robinson Helicopter has achieved FAA certification for inflatable floats for its turbine-powered R66 — an option named the R66 Turbine Marine. The floats were primarily added for emergency purposes in case of a forced landing while flying over water.

While primarily designed for emergency use, the floats are approved for water takeoffs during day operations only at weights below 2,200 pounds. The R66 Turbine Marine uses the same float tubes as the R44 Clipper, adding 65 pounds to the helicopter's empty weight.

The floats are attached to the landing gear skids and are activated through a lever on the collective. Once deployed, the floats inflate in 2 to 3 seconds, Robinson says. With the floats inflated, the Vne is reduced to 80 KIAS. Vne with the floats stowed is 130 KIAS, down from 140 KIAS in the standard version. The floats are stowed along the landing gear skids inside streamlined protective covers to minimize drag.

The cost for the R66 Turbine Marine is $875,000. Robinson is not offering retrofit options for the float system.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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