Robinson R66 Passes Snow Testing

Robinson R66 Robinson Helicopter

Robinson's turbine-powered five-seat R66 helicopter has passed testing required by the FAA and Transport Canada to fly in snow conditions. Flying in falling or blowing snow has been prohibited per the R66 Pilot's Operating Handbook, but with this recent successful test the restriction has been lifted.

To qualify, the R66 had to perform in some of the worst winter conditions found on Earth. To find these conditions, Robinson went to Spray Lakes in Canada, near Banff, Alberta, in November.

Under freezing temperatures, low visibility and heavy snowfall, the R66 test pilots conducted a 20-minute ground run, five-minute IGE (in ground effect) hover and 60-minute cruise flight. Robinson said that despite the extreme conditions there were no snow build-up in the engine intake area and no detectable decrease in engine performance, both requirements for passing the test.

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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