Donaldson Aerospace & Defense, a division of Donaldson Company, Inc. (NYSE: DCI), has developed the first Inlet Barrier Filter (IBF) for the Robinson R66 Turbine helicopter. Certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Feb. 24 as an addition to Robinson’s R66 Type Certificate, the IBF will be available as a factory option from Robinson Helicopter Company, authorized Robinson Service Centers, or Donaldson.
Robinson asked Donaldson to help modify and improve the R66’s filter system after receiving customer requests for improved engine protection. The R66 IBF is approved for year-round operations, and designed to reduce operating costs and enable longer engine life – all without experiencing performance penalties. It features high-performance oiled media and a flexible filter design that stores flat but flexes during installation to provide 320 degrees of coverage, including exceptional drive shaft protection.
The new lightweight filter will be on display March 7-9 in Dallas, Texas, at HAI HELI-EXPO 2017. Attendees can view the filter and discuss its advantages with experts from Donaldson Aerospace & Defense (Exhibit 10537) or view the filter at the Robinson Helicopter Company Exhibit (11842 and 29). A wide range of dry and oiled media IBFs will be on display at the Donaldson exhibit.
Donaldson will be taking orders at HELI-EXPO for units to be delivered in 2017. Robinson ordered 25 filter kits earlier this year, with delivery of the first five in the next couple of months.
“We are proud to be working with Robinson to bring Donaldson IBF-level protection to the R66,” said Matt Fortuna, general manager of Global Aerospace & Defense at Donaldson Aerospace and Defense. “This is another example of Donaldson industry leadership — we are always looking for better ways to help operators fly more effectively and efficiently.”
Kurt Robinson, president and chairman of Robinson Helicopter Company, said, “With a growing number of R66 helicopters operating around the world – and increasingly in challenging environments – it was imperative that we offer a superior filter solution. Donaldson’s team was up to the challenge, and the newly certified R66 IBF is proof of their complete grasp of our customers’ needs.”
Peter McGee, general manager of Robinson distributor Heliflite, plans to order as many as five systems for installation on customer aircraft and Heliflite’s own demonstrator aircraft in Sydney. “We will certainly be impressing on all our R66 owners the benefits of installing a filter system sooner rather than later,” McGee said. He added that operators who fly in the Australian outback, for example, encounter a “particularly fine and abrasive dust that is very hard in makeup and leads to excessive compressor wear,” and knows from experience that Donaldson IBF engine protection is beneficial for a range of missions and environments.
Donaldson introduced IBFs to the helicopter market 14 years ago. Since then, Donaldson IBFs have been installed with regulatory approval on AgustaWestland AW109E/S/SPs, AW119 Koalas, AW119Kes and AW139s; Bell 205A1s, 206Bs, 206L-3/4s, 206L-1(C30)s, 230s, 429s and 430s; Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopter) EC130s, AS350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/B3es, AS350s with Soloy or Heli-Lynx Honeywell engine conversions; and MD Helicopters MD 369Hs, MD 500s and MD 900/902s.