FAA certification of the Rolls-Royce RR300-powered Robinson R66 turbine light single could come later this month.
Frank Robinson, 80, has retired from the iconic helicopter company he founded in 1973, just weeks before the company expects to receive certification of its R66 turbine single. The company announced on Friday that Robinson’s son Kurt, 53, currently a Robinson vice president, would take the titles of president and chairman. Kurt Robinson has been with the company since 1987 and holds an MBA, a law degree and a commercial helicopter rating.
Robinson Helicopter is expected to announce factory-authorized dealers for the new turbine R66 this month. Robinson vice president Kurt Robinson said he does not expect all dealers of the company’s existing piston-engine R22 and R44 helicopters to become R66 dealers, in part due to a new Robinson-mandated requirement that R66 dealers hold a valid FAA Part 145 repair station certificate.
Robinson Helicopter has set an initial price of $770,000 for its Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66 turbine single. The company has begun accepting $75,000 individual deposits and dealer applications for the helicopter. “We want to create a market for this helicopter,” said company vice president Kurt Robinson, explaining the price decision.
Robinson Helicopter founder Frank Robinson said certification of the company’s new turbine R66 was “very close” and that the company planned an initial production rate of two per week for the $770,000 Rolls-Royce RR300-powered helicopter. He said the company’s current plant in Torrance, Calif., could easily accommodate anticipated R66 production.
The first flying turbine-powered Robinson helicopter arrived on Thursday at the George R. Brown Convention Center for Heli-Expo 2010 with Robinson Helicopter vice president Kurt Robinson and chief test pilot Doug Tompkins at the controls of the experimental R66.
There are surprisingly active developments in the single-engine helicopter field, with new rotorcraft on the way such as the turbine-powered Robinson R66 and Sikorsky S-434. Kit manufacturer RotorWay is even coming to market with a planned certified turbine helicopter, the 300T Eagle, announced at last year’s EAA AirVenture show. The Russian Helicopters Mi-34S2 Sapsan will also offer turbine power.
Robinson Helicopter yesterday told AIN that it set an initial price of $770,000 for its Rolls-Royce RR300-powered R66 single-turbine helicopter. The company also has begun accepting $75,000 individual deposits and dealer applications for the helicopter and will have it on display at Heli-Expo later this month in Houston.
Both product support and research and development have taken hits in the helicopter industry as cash flow and current sales shrink, while future orders are clouded by important changes and growing uncertainty in key customer sectors.
Rolls-Royce boosted availability of RR300 engine parts and customer services by signing an exclusive distribution agreement with AAR. According to Rolls-Royce Helicopter Engine business president Ken Roberts, the worldwide AAR group
will provide a turnkey solution for RR300 operators around the clock. The RR300 turboshaft has been selected by Robinson Helicopter to power its new R66 and