Clubhouse talk – comparing the R66 with an EC120

Clubhouse talk – comparing the R66 with an EC120

24-May-2012 Source:

You know how it is.  You go down to the clubhouse to have a drink with some friends, and inevitably the conversation will turn to aviation.  This time I was asked how I would compare the Eurocopter EC120 against a Robinson R66.  So we resorted to a comparison by numbers using brochures etc – and while we all know that brochure numbers may not be close enough to actual “out in the field” flying, these ball-park figures were all we had immediately available via my smartphone. 

As we looked at the numbers, the comparison became more and more interesting….

– EC120 = 4
– R66 = 4

Cruise Speed
– EC120 = 110 kts at max weight
– R66 = 120 kts at max weight

Fuel Burn
– EC120 = 270 lbs per hour at max weight
– R66 = 160 lbs per hour at max weight

– EC120 = 150 kts
– R66 = 140 Kts – if below 2200lbs and 3000′ density altitude – or 130 kts if above either

– EC120 = 4 hours 20 minutes at 54 knots (who flies at 54 knots??) – or 3 hours 30 minutes dividing range by cruise speed
– R66 = 3 hours, estimated

– EC120 = 383 nm
– R66 = 360 nm (120kts for 3 hours)

Useful load with full fuel
– EC120 = 946 lb (MTOW 3781 less empty weight 2127 less fuel 708)
– R66 = 1000 lb (MTOW 2700 less empty weight 1200 less fuel 500)

Standard ex-factory price, no extras (note, no shipping, rebuilding, local certification etc)
– EC120 = circa ~1.4 million, so approx $1.76M
– R66 = $814K

Conclusion – Eurocopter are likely to be worried, particularly when the R66 gets its EASA certification – the EC120 stronghold being its European homeland.  The pre-owned EC120 is likely to remain strong, but future sales of new EC120s look to be in doubt.

Here in the UK where is based, we have 28 EC120s (29 registered, 1 based outside UK) and a total of 8 R66s (yes,  prior to EASA certification!) already flying around on FAA “N” registrations.  And just to balance it up, we know of a UK buyer who very recently bought a pre-owned EC120 from France after being tired of waiting for an EASA-certified R66, on which he had a deposit paid.

We wonder how relevant it is that Eurocopter UK recently ran an event to showcase the EC120 ?

If you have ideas for us to cover in a future “Clubhouse talk”, please email

Jeremy Parkin –

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