The Robinson R66 helicopter is not complete without a set of Pop-out floats; that is my opinion. The best flying is beyond gliding distance from shore, and 70% of the earth is covered in water. When I first got into the helicopter industry over twelve years ago a mentor told me that helicopters find work where the road ends….. in the mountains and over the oceans. Although the Robinson factory is working quickly on desirable option for the R66 with the recent certification of air condition, the R66 needs an STC or TCDS floats system to go to work where the “road ends”. We look forward to supporting the first offshore oil operator that replaces the aging Bell 206 Jet Ranger with the R66 helicopter with pop-out floats.
This dream will soon be a reality. Rotorcorp and R66 Helicopter Parts has formed a relationship with Apical, the leading float manufacture for the entire helicopter industry, to introduce a STC’d float kit for the R66. The fine engineers at Apical are taking the recommendations of R66 owners during this initial design process and using advance 3D laser scanning technology to bring this product to market quickly. This field installation kit is being designed to be more flexible for single-ship operators than the traditional offering that RHC has yet design. With the STC R66 Float kit, once the initial installation has occurred, a mechanic can remove the major components in minutes for overland operations demanding the entire useful load of the powerful R66 helicopter. If RHC designs the R66 Pop-out floats like the R44 float assy C014-17, then the OEM R66 floats will take hours to remove. I have not heard of plans to engineer a STC’d fixed float kit or utility float kit for the R66
The engineers are determining the best placement for the helium cylinder. So far, placing the float cylinder under the front seats, like with the R44 Pop-out floats system, has been ruled out. The float bottle with definitely go in the luggage compartment, possibly in the far back corner. My recommendation was to put the helium bottle on the ceiling of the R66’s large baggage compartment to leave more room for import equipment like golf clubs and snowboards. Let’s see what the engineers decide. The next step in the STC process for the R66 helicopter pop-out float installation is to make a trial installation of the component of the system and conduct several emergency inflations…more details and photos to come.
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