Nashville, Tennessee-based Monarch Helicopters has taken delivery of Robinson Helicopter Company's 1,000th R66 turbine helicopter. The transaction was facilitated by Robinson dealer Les Gillespie of Precision Aviation Services (Gardner Aviation) in Peachtree City, Georgia.
Gillespie says: “Because the R66 can be configured to meet the needs of any pilot or helicopter flight department, it quickly became our number one selling helicopter.” The aircraft's new owner, Donovan Valentine of Monarch Helicopters, previously owned an R44 and decided to upgrade to an R66 to better serve his tour company.
FAA-certified in October 2010, the first production R66 was delivered the following month. Powered by the Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine, the R66 recently surpassed 1.2 million flight hours without a single reported inflight engine failure, exceeding EASA's requirements for single engine helicopters. The R66 has also risen to the challenges of flying to the North Pole and circumnavigating the globe multiple times.
“Delivering serial number 1,000 demonstrates that the R66 is the top performer and leader in its class,” adds Robinson Helicopter Company president Kurt Robinson.
Today's R66 is offered with many options including a cargo hook, lithium-ion battery, fuel flow system, auxiliary fuel tanks, impact resistance windshields, touchscreen avionics and an SAS/autopilot. The aircraft is also available in police, news gathering and float configurations.