R66 no longer snowed under
The Robinson R66 Turbine has passed US Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada tests to enable it to fly in snowy conditions.
Trials at Spray Lakes, Canada were conducted during a heavy snowstorm with low visibility at freezing temperatures, conditions that have been shown to produce worst-case snow accumulation at the helicopter’s turbine engine intakes. The tests consisted of a 100% engine ground run for twenty minutes, hover-in-ground-effect for five minutes, and sixty minutes of cruise flight. Performance was monitored using pressure instruments and a live video feed from a camera mounted near the engine air filter. The test required proof that snow build-up did not block the engine air intake or adversely affect engine operation. ‘Passing the test is significant as it allows Robinson to eliminate the existing limitation in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook which prohibits flight in falling or blowing snow,’ says the manufacturer.