Rolls-Royce (Booth No. 9040) has almost completed development of the 475-shp RR500 turboshaft but is still waiting for an aircraft manufacturer or modifier to specify the engine for a new project. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis-based engine manufacturer has moved into full-rate production with the 300-shp RR300 turboshaft, which powers the Robinson R66 light single. Improvements are also underway on the M250, to which both of the newer engines trace their roots.
The families of the two Colombian men killed in the July 2011 crash of a Robinson R66 have hired the high-profile Los Angeles law firm, Baum Hedlund, to represent them. Last month the law firm issued a press release featuring photos of the men with their families and blasting Robinson for placing “profit over passenger safety.”
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 9840) recently delivered its 100th R66 single-engine turbine helicopter to long-time customer and South African-dealer National Airways Corp. Just 14 months after receiving FAA certification, Robinson has received 380 orders for the five passenger Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66, 70 percent of those from the export market.
Robinson delivered its 10,000th helicopter last Friday. The milestone comes less than four years after the company delivered its 8,000th helicopter and 32 years after the first Robinson, a two-seat R22, was certified. Number 10,000–a four-seat R44 Raven II–was delivered to Audi Helicopters, one of two Robinson dealers in Brazil. Audi has been affiliated with Robinson for 25 years.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is about to get its first-ever rotorcraft manufacturer, with local company Quest Helicopters unveiling a completely new design on today at 1:15 p.m. on the Dubai Air Show’s static display.
Robinson R66, Philip, S.D., Oct. 1, 2011–The light helicopter was destroyed and its owner/pilot was killed when the aircraft crashed in a pasture following an apparent in-flight breakup, according to the NTSB. The debris from the accident was spread over 15 acres and the main rotor was found approximately 500 feet from the fuselage wreckage. The flight had originated in Gillette, Wyo.
After a lackluster 2010, Robinson Helicopter is back on a healthier track, according to CEO Kurt Robinson. The Torrance, Calif.-based builder of single-engine helicopters recently hired 150 employees, bringing its workforce to 1,100, and increased production to some 10 helicopters per week.
A New Zealand company plans to build an all-composite, six-seat turbine single for less than the price of a new Robinson R66.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce released its annual turbine helicopter sales forecast at Heli-Expo 2011. The company predicts 16,900 new turbine helicopters will be delivered between now and 2020 with a value of $140 billion.
The obvious difference between the piston-powered R44 and the turbine-powered R66 is the engine, but there are other features that make the R66 an entirely new machine, even though there's no mistaking that it is a product of Robinson Helicopter.