Wed, Nov 24, 2010
Boy... have we been waiting for this... our first flight in a
CERTIFIED R66 Turbine helicopter -- and the only thing more
impressive than our experience with this new bird was the fact that
the actual result exceeded our expectations... and mind you, they
were pretty damned high. STILL... before we get to the flight test,
let's spend some time with Robinson Uber-Flyer Doug Tompkins as we
preflight this amazing new machine.
Preliminary design of the R66 began in 2001 but engineering
began in earnest in 2005 when Robinson reached an agreement with
Rolls-Royce to develop the RR300 turbine engine. RHC Founder and
recently retired President Frank Robinson had considered other
power plant options, but ultimately collaborated with Rolls-Royce
on the RR300, a derivative of the Rolls-Royce model 250 series.
The concept of the R66 is the same that launched the R22 in 1979
and the R44 in 1992: a helicopter designed to perform as well or
better than its competitors but for a lot less money. The R66 is
certified to the current amendment of the federal regulations,
including the latest crashworthiness standards.
Pete Riedl, Robinson’s Chief Engineer, stated,
“Because we were not working to a hard deadline, we had the
opportunity to refine and optimize the design. The performance of
the aircraft, so far, has met or exceeded all of our
Dealer and maintenance support is growing with nearly sixty R66
dealers approved. Robinson is continually reviewing applications
and expects to have world-wide support in place by the end of the
year. With a growing back log of orders, production is underway and
several deliveries are already on the books.
Join Aero-TV as we kick the skids of the R66 and make ready to
test this beast the hard way... by letting Jim (whose not what
you'd call current right now in small helos) loose in it for all
manner of hamhandedness.
And keep an eye out for our flight test programs on flying the
R66 as well as an illuminating interview with Robinson Helicopter
Company President Kurt Robinson.
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