As reported by AIN, Today’s news out of Torrence, California based Robinson Helicopter Company bodes well for the reception of its latest R66 model of helicopter. With 330 orders for the single engine turbine model, powered by a next-generation Rolls Royce RR300 engine, RHC has reportedly hired 110 new employees to meet demand. With current production capacity at three units per weeek- RHC currently has an 27 month delivery time on new orders. As reported by Aviation International News, the new hires will allow Robinson to produce 5 untits per week in 2012, rolling back delivery time by an estimated 12 months to just over a year, assuming current order rates continue.
The much hailed R66 is expected by many in the aviation industry to replace the aging Bell 206 Jet Ranger fleet which manufacturer Textron announced in 2008 that it would discontinue production of once current order commitments were fulfilled. According to HelicopterFlight.net, the R66 outpaced the dated 206 model in nearly all categories with an estimated $40 lower hourly direct operating cost, 15% higher maximum payload, more available horsepower and more efficient fuel consumption. As the 5000 strong Bell 206 Jetranger and Jetranger II fleet declines in comming decades, current Bell operators and new users will likely move to the lighter, faster and cheaper Robinson R66 Model.