Torrance, California-based Robinson Helicopter recently reached a significant milestone, rolling out its 12,000th helicopter. With international sales being a major percentage of Robinson’s business, it should come as no surprise that the commemorative helicopter, an R66, will be delivered overseas to Hover Dynamics, a Robinson dealer in South Africa. The R66 will eventually enter into service with Fly Karoo Air Services, a charter and tour operator in Graaff-Reinet, a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Fly Karoo chose the R66 for its quiet cabin, spacious baggage compartment, low operating cost and powerful turbine engine, according to Dean Feldman from Hover Dynamics. The five-place R66 is powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine, which has been de-rated to 270 shp for takeoff and 224 shp for continuous operation.
The R66 was certified in 2010. It comes standard with a traditional eight-hole round-gauge instrument panel, but has options for full glass with Garmin’s G500H flight deck, GTN 650/750 navigators and GMA 350H audio panel. Other options for the helicopter include a Genesys HeliSAS autopilot, an ADS-B-capable transponder, air conditioning and more.
In addition to the R66, Robinson Helicopter produces the two-seat R22 and four-seat R44, which can be configured for various missions. Now with 12,000 helicopters out the door, the company continues to claim its spot as the top-producing civil helicopter manufacturer in the world.