The FAA Certifies The Robinson R66 Turbine Helicopter


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The FAA Certifies The Robinson R66 Turbine Helicopter

By Mike Mitchell

October 27, 2010 – On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the Robinson R66 Turbine Helicopter at their Robinson facility in Torrance, California. The R66 incorporates many of the design features of its reputable predecessor, the R44, including a two-bladed rotor system, T-bar cyclic and an open interior cabin configuration.  

The most notable differences are its increased reserve power, increased altitude performance, fifth seat and large baggage compartment. Popular upgrades include HID landing lights, leather seats, and stereo audio control panels are all standard in the R66. 

The Robinson R66 Helicopter is powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbine engine RR300 turboshaft. The RR300 offers ample power, true multi-fuel capability, turbine engine responsiveness, smoothness and worry-free reliability. The Rolls-Royce RR300 was developed for the light helicopter market, it is rated at 300 shp (224 kW) at take-off power.


The R66 has a cruise speed of 120 knots, max range (no reserve) – approx 375 statute miles, max operating altitude of 14,000 feet and a climb rate of over 1,000 feet per minute. The R66 has a base price with standard equipment U.S. $770,000. The Robinson R66 Helicopter is being sold through the company’s world-wide dealer network.  

Ken Roberts, Rolls-Royce President – Helicopter Engines, said “Rolls-Royce is pleased to congratulate Robinson on certification of the R66. Robinson Helicopter is known for their quality products and has taken great care in creating the R66 model. We’re proud to be working with Robinson and supplying power for this new aircraft.”  

The relationship between Rolls-Royce and Robinson Helicopter Company began in 2005 with the signing of a Development Agreement and the two companies have worked closely since then to develop the RR300 engine which provides optimal performance and reliability. Robinson Helicopter is based at Zamperini Field in Torrance, California, is the largest manufacturer of civil helicopters in North America. It was founded in 1973 by Frank Robinson, an ex-employee of Bell Helicopter and The Hughes Helicopter Company.  

Since delivering its first helicopter in 1979, Robinson Helicopter has produced over 8,000 aircraft. (The number was hit by an R44.) Robinson currently produces two models the two-seat R22, and the four-seat R44, both of which use Lycoming piston engines virtually identical to those found in fixed-wing general aviation aircraft, such as the Cessna 172. In March 2007, Robinson had announced plans for production of the Robinson R66, a five-seat helicopter of similar configuration to the R44, but with the addition of a luggage compartment, wider cabin (by 8 inches), and powered by a Rolls Royce gas turbine engine.

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