The Robinson R66 Turbine is a five-seat light utility helicopter powered
by a single Rolls Royce 250-C300/A1 Turbo-shaft engine, better known as
the Rolls Royce RR300. The Robinson R66 is built and developed by the
Robinson Helicopter Company (RHC) in Torrance, California, USA. The
Robinson R66 is derived from its predecessor, the R44 helicopter.
Preliminary design of the Model R66 began in 2001, as Robinson wanted to
add a turboshaft-powered helicopter to its portfolio. But there were
problems with such a plan, as there wasn't, in Robinson's estimation, a
suitable turboshaft engine for his needs. Robinson originally intended
on utilizing the Turbine helicopter with the standard Roll Royce Model
250-C20, but this was not a suitable turboshaft engine for the light
helicopter. Robinson needed a light weight turboshaft engine. In order
to meet the demand for a suitable low cost turbine power for the light
helicopter and general aviation market, Rolls Royce developed a light
weight turbine engine, the RR300, a rebadged and downrated variant of
the Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20 engine. With this new Rolls Royce RR300
turbine soon available, engineering for the R66 Turbine helicopter
started in 2005. Three R66 prototypes were built, with the first flight
of c/n 0001, registered N466R, on 7 November 2007. The second prototype,
Robinson R66 c/n 0002, registered N266RH, flew first 18 February 2009.
The certification of the helicopter was delayed due to failure in the
conventional tail rotor design. On 25 October 2010, the Robinson R66
received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type certification, three
years and eight months after Robinson Helicopter publicly announced
plans to develop a five-place turbine helicopter. Full rate production
started after receiving the FAA Type Certificate No. R00015LA for the
R66. The Robinson R66 Turbine incorporates many of the design features
of the R44 including a two-bladed rotor system, T-bar cyclic and an open
cabin configuration. The R66 is 20 centimetre higher at the mast than
the R44. Although the taller mast makes preflight inspections more
difficult, it also expands the longitudinal centre of the gravity
envelope. The R66 is 20 centimetres wider at the back-seat than the R44.
There is space for three at the back-seat, only the centre seat isn’t
really big. The R66 is the first Robinson helicopter to have a baggage
compartment. On 30 April 2014, four years after initial FAA certification, the European
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued its type certificate for the Robinson R66 Turbine helicopter.
Today, over 1.000 Robinson R66 Turbine helicopters are delivered to customers all over the world.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Robinson R66 helicopters is R66.
On 18 February 2011, Robinson R66 Turbine s/n 0017 was registered
N66UK with Sloane Helicopters North America Inc., Wilmington, (DE). On 14 May 2015, registration N66UK was cancelled as exported to the UK.
On 15 May 2015, the helicopter was registered G-RSIX in the UK with Sloane Helicopters Ltd., Sywell Aerodrome. On 15 March 2017, registration
G-RSIX was cancelled as exported to France. On 28 April 2017, the Robinson R66 was registered F-HSIX in France with Heliclub De L'Ainne (H.D.A.),
l'aérodrome de Bourg Ceyzeriat.
On 15 October 2014, when seen at Heliport Amsterdam, the 2011-built Robinson R66 Turbine N66UK was on its way
as a demonstrator to the Helitech International 2014 helicopter expo in the RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre in Amsterdam.