Robinson Celebrates Certification of Turbine R66

The Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft
engine in the Robinson R66 is about
half the weight of the piston engine in
the R44.

Kurt Robinson, president of Robinson Helicopter and son of founder Frank Robinson, said the FAA was well represented Monday among the 300 attending certification ceremonies for the company's new turbine-powered R66. He said, "A lot of the FAA guys were saying, 'We used to do this all the time, but now, certifying a new aircraft is a big deal.'" Robinson added that the feds "worked great with us" on the certification process for the first turbine-powered Robinson product. At the ceremony, Robinson handed over the keys to the first production R66, which will be delivered to HeliStream next week. Robinson holds close to 100 orders for the $790,000 R66, which is powered by a single Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft engine. Robinson said the most sought-after option — air conditioning — will be available in the first quarter of next year. "We not only got our certification," he told Flying, "we also got our revised production certificate." He added that he expects to deliver about 10 R66s by year end, then slowly ramp up production starting in January, first to two aircraft per week, accelerating to three per week. Of the almost 100 machines on order, Robinson said about two thirds will go overseas, about half to dealers as demonstrators. Robinson has certified 50 dealers worldwide to handle R66 sales. He added that the next six to nine months will involve certification efforts in all the foreign countries where R66 dealers are in place. For more about the R66, see the November issue of Flying for a detailed pilot report.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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