14-Mar-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
Robinson continues to work with the relevant authorities to get the turbine engined R66 certified in Russia, Canada and Europe – and a recent press release from Sloane Helicopters confirms that some progress is being made – indeed there is every indication that now the FAA has granted Robinson the ELOS (Equivalent Level of Safety) paperwork, certification in Canada and Russia will follow quickly. But not EASA and the European countries it represents.
Many countries in Europe have contributed significant sales to the production totals of Robinson, and a conservative estimate for just the UK (where HeliHub.com is based) suggests that 200 R66s could find their way here within perhaps as little as three or four years from EASA approval. We hope Robinson are prepared for a significant ramp-up of the production line!
It was suggested to us recently that the continued lack of certification by EASA of the R66 is actually Robinson’s fault rather than intransigence on the part of EASA. Did Robinson take the wrong approach in seeking certification, and are now suffering from having made a poor decision?
The crux of this argument is that Robinson could have certified the R66 as a modification of the R44, rather than starting over, and likely most – or possible all – of their problems would just evaporate. There are lots of examples exist where subsequent models are certified under earlier precedessors
– Eurocopter EC130 from AS350
– Eurocopter EC145 from BK117
– Bell B407 from B206
– Enstrom 480 from 280
– Schweizer 333 from Hughes 300A
and so on.
However, we understand that Robinson made the decision to go with a fresh start due to likely future safety legislation – including crash-worthiness – coming out for FAR 27 aircraft below an all-up weight of 7,000lb. This in turn will ensure longer-term sales for the R66 when other types find it more difficult to abide by those rules.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com