Robinson Helicopters announced that the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IACAR) issued a type certificate for the R66 turbine on March 15, 2013, the culmination of a process that began in November 2010. The welcome news will now allow Robinson to export 22 R66 helicopters to Russia. A further 18 are in production and will now be delivered to Russian later in the year.
According to Robinson, the FAA’s approval in early March of the ELOS (Equivalent Level of Safety) for the R66 hydraulic control system removed an exemption in the R66’s original type certificate. The exemption had been granted over a regulation requiring an alternate for the hydraulic control system. This is no longer required due to the fact that the single valve used in both the R44 and R66 has flown millions of hours without a failure.
A demonstration to the FAA in February 2013 proved that a pilot could overcome a hydraulic control jam while retaining control of the aircraft. Once the ELOS was granted, IACAR representatives certified the R66.
Seven R66 demonstrators were delivered to Russia prior to certification. In January 2002, Robinson’s R44 was the first U.S. manufactured helicopter to be approved by Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).