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Robinson Turbine R66


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Hi All,

 

As some of you know i was just at the factory course in Torrance. One of my goals was to fly the R66 (i know, laugh, but you have to set lofty goals to make them happen!) as it was we didn't even get to see it up close as some others did. I did take notes in the class and this is some of what was said:

 

As of now the first prototype has flown 60 hours. They plan two more protos but don't know when they will be flying (the 2nd and 3rd will have blade changes). One other pilot in the course said that there may have been a number of MR shafts in stock forecasting an expectation of many more to come, but we are not sure of that... (it is Frank's way to have a lot of extra part inventory tho)! At this time they don't know the VNE, gross wt, service life of parts.. still working on that.

 

I guess the most important info, what everyone really wants to know, is that they do not expect the ships to be available in 2009 as earlier projected. Hopefully in 2010! There are a lot of hoops to jump thru still and the main drawback is not Robinson, they are ready to go.. but the certification process.

This wouldn't surprise you if you saw the factory, it is amazing the way that guy runs his biz.. i was totally in awe! More on that in another post! One of the new issues with certification is the new noise level regs. This ship is much quieter than the 44 but has to prove it. (interesting note here: the 44 TR is a full decibel quieter than the 22 TR due to a different airfoil that is more efficient thus can turn slower for more thrust, also the new tip caps on the MR & TR are for noise).

 

Fuel consumption is not as good as initially expected (it is running 22, 23 gph), the engine (a new rolls 300 which is basically the C20 with upgrades; benefits of the C30 with the C20 size) is mounted on a 43% angle as in the MD500, direct drive into the gear box. This causes the gear box to be higher thus the taller MR (8"), the mast is not longer.

 

Frank called it the R66 to stop people thinking that the 22, 44 stood for the number of seats. It is 8" wider than the 44, 8" taller, has longer blades and wider cords (these might change in the other protos, as i said in the Leadville post, i expect we will see blades like they are experimenting with on the US101 filter into the market). It is larger than the Jet Ranger, one of Frank's primary goals, he wanted it faster than the 44 but that is hard to project. They are working on cowling changes and have switched the dual exhaust to a single. The rear seat is higher and i think a little forward (as in the front of the EC130) to make shoulder room since it's kinda tight (higher cuz the controls still run under).

 

Frank also wanted a TBO of 2000, and this is projected on the whole ship even the turbine.

 

I asked about an articulated system and was told by Tim that Frank was not against the system, it's just that the 2 blade is less expensive (in all ways; initially and in maintaining), lighter, and much better for hangaring! (This is one of the many things that i really like about the Robbies, you can put them just about anywhere).

 

They would like the 66 to cost less than $1 million US, and that is solely up to Frank, i got the impression that he could set what ever price he decided on. In my humble opinion i don't think it matters, i think it will be the number one selling turbine in the world very quickly no matter what price he puts on it. That being said, i would like to see it somewhere around $800K.

 

What some people said that spent time in the 66 (on the ground). Some were mechanics and others were pilots.

 

One pilot/owner said he didn't see what the excitement was all about, that it didn't seem that the R66 would be worth the price diff since it would basically be a R44 with an extra seat that you couldn't use anyway. (And the costs would be so much higher to operate)

 

Another pilot said he couldn't wait to buy one (my thoughts since we fly at high DA). He sees the value in the turbine and the extra seat no matter how uncomfortable!

 

The mechanics said it was well thought out, and looked forward to seeing the ships on their lines.. 30% indicated that the companies they were working for planned on purchasing multiple R66s as soon as available.

 

Turbine vs piston: One of the issues Tim & Bob stressed in the class is the fact that most of us in the industry believe that the turbine is much more reliable, but now days that isn't as true as it was in the past, especially in the Robbies due to them being derated! I will get into it more in the course post, but that in the early days (and as in the 300s) the piston engines are run at higher rpms thus were more prone to failure!!

 

Are they going to stop building the R22? No plans at this time, but they do not build them until someone places an order and the R22 orders have slowed down.

 

Currently they build an average of: 3 to 4 R22's per week, and 16 to 18 R44's per week.

 

Please keep in mind that i was taking notes as fast as i could write, so if there are errors in the above have mercy on me in your replies! :-)

 

Sorry no photos, but here is a link to a vid of the R66 flying:

 

 

 

aloha,

 

dp

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Good info and great post!!! Thanks!

 

Kelly

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