Torrance based Robinson Helicopter company today announced long awaited FAA approval for a float option for the company’s 5-place R66 turbine helicopter (Press Release). Designated the R66 Turbine Marine, the R66 pop-out float option is similar to the R44 Clipper pop-out float option (in fact, the same float tubes are used) and like the Clipper, the R66 Turbine Marine offers an additional level of safety for over-water operations. According to RHC President Kurt Robinson, the floats are only offered as a factory option and there are no plans by Robinson to develop an after market kit for float installation in the field.
For owners and operators of the approximately 700 R66 helicopters, the Dart Aerospace R66 Emergency Float Sytem provides for easy after market installation at a price point of $41,800. The Dart model also provides accommodation for easy removal of the float cylinders and inflation tank if the weight savings is needed.
The Robinson factory float option adds approximately 65 pounds to the helicopter’s empty weight. When not in use, the float tubes stow in low-profile protective covers along the landing gear skids minimizing drag and allowing easy cabin entry and exit. Primarily used in emergencies, the floats activate by a lever on the pilot’s collective and inflate within 2 to 3 seconds allowing the pilot to make an immediate water landing if necessary. pressurized helium from a tank mounted beneath the right rear seat provides the rapid inflation. The R66 Turbine Marine is also approved for water takeoffs at reduced operating weights allowing for water operations training or limited amphibious use if desired.
Base price for the R66 Turbine Marine is $875,000.