Robinson Helicopter announced yesterday that its fleet of R66 single-engined turbines had reached one million hours in service.
The six-seat R66 is powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 engine and entered service in October 2010 to seize part of the entry-level turbine market, competing against helicopters such as the Bell 206 and MD500.
"We believe this milestone is a testament to the R66’s outstanding performance and confirms its place as a leader in the helicopter industry,” said Kurt Robinson, President of Robinson Helicopter.
Preliminary design of the R66 began in 2001, but engineering didn't begin until 2005 after Robinson reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce to develop the RR300.
Heliflite, an authorised Robinson distributor for Australasia played a major role in the R66’s certification. In September 2010, Heliflite Chief Pilot Bill Miller was one of only two overseas pilots invited to participate in the joint Robinson Helicopter Company/FAA R66 Turbine helicopter certification testing.
Specialist versions for news-gathering and law enforcement have since been developed.
The first R66 arrived in Australia in early 2011 and was the first of type exported from the USA. Currently there are 29 R66s on the Australian civil register.