Robin­son R66 News­copter cer­ti­fied

Pilot - - RETORHEADS -

Robin­son He­li­copter Com­pany has re­ceived FAA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for its R66 ENG (Elec­tronic News Gath­er­ing) he­li­copter, dubbed ‘Tur­bine News­copter’. The stan­dard R66 ENG pack­age in­cludes a five-axis gyro-sta­bi­lized gim­bal that houses an Ikegami HD cam­era and Canon’s 22:1 HD lens. For tighter cov­er­age, a gim­bal that ac­com­mo­dates the cam­era and Canon’s 40:1 lens is op­tional. Also stan­dard are Garmin’s G500H PFD/ MFD and GTN 650 nav­i­ga­tor sys­tems, three high-def­i­ni­tion mi­cro cam­eras, two seven-inch mon­i­tors, and two Geneva dig­i­tal au­dio con­trollers. In the aft com­part­ment, cam­era con­trols are lo­cated on the cen­tre and lap­top con­soles and im­ages dis­play on sev­eral HD mon­i­tors. Other options in­clude a HELISAS au­topi­lot and air con­di­tion­ing. Robin­son de­liv­ered the first pro­duc­tion R66 News­copter on 24 July to long-time dealer SKY He­li­copters of Dal­las, Texas, which al­ready op­er­ates twelve pis­ton-en­gined R44 News­copters.

Robin­son has also added the True Blue Power TB17 Lithium-ion battery to its R66 options. It of­fers sub­stan­tial weight sav­ings, im­proved starter per­for­mance and longer life, the com­pany says. Weigh­ing 16 lb, the TB17 is sig­nif­i­cantly lighter than the R66’s stan­dard battery, which weighs 42 lb, and its op­tional high-ca­pac­ity battery, which weighs 52 lb. Lithium-ion chem­istry holds a higher charge volt­age and pro­vides a more con­stant dis­charge rate than lead-acid, de­liv­er­ing con­sis­tent, more re­li­able tur­bine starts. The battery’s in­ter­nal heater fa­cil­i­tates op­er­a­tions in tem­per­a­tures as low as -40°C. Typ­i­cal battery life is eight years with a min­i­mal main­te­nance re­quire­ment of a two-yearly vis­ual in­spec­tion and ca­pac­ity check. A cock­pit in­di­ca­tor warns the pilot if a battery fault is de­tected, in which case it au­to­mat­i­cally takes it­self off­line. The TB17 is now avail­able on new R66s at $6,900.

The Elec­tronic News Gath­er­ing R66 is fit­ted with cam­eras and lap­top con­soles

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