Robinson Taking Orders for Turbine R66

Robinson Helicopter has begun accepting $75,000 deposits for its Rolls-Royce turboshaft-powered R66. First flown in 2007, the R66 is in the process of FAA certification, and the company reports it will not assign serial numbers or delivery dates until that certification is received. Base price of the R66 with standard equipment is $770,000. The R66 shares many components with the slightly smaller R44 piston-powered rotorcraft, including its two-blade rotor system, T-bar cyclic control and open interior cabin configuration. The R66, however is larger and can accommodate up to five (including the pilot) compared with the four-place R44. It is powered by a 225-shp Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine, a modern derivative of the Rolls-Royce Model 250. Features such as HID landing lights, stereo and leather upholstery are optional on the R44, but standard on the R66. Preliminary performance numbers include: maximum gross weight, 2,700 pounds; Maximum fuel, 73.6 gallons (493 pounds); Payload with full fuel, 927 pounds; Cruise speed, approximately 120 knots; Range, 325 nautical miles (no reserve); Maximum operating altitude, 14,000 feet; Hover (both in and out of ground effect) 10,000 feet. Robinson expects its support network for the R66 to be in place by the end of this year, and is actively seeking dealers to add to the current stable of 400 dealers worldwide. The R66 will be on display during next week's Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo in Houston, Feb. 21-23.