On Nov. 15, 2014, the FAA approved the R66 Turbine Marine, a variant of Robinson Helicopter Company’s R66 Turbine equipped with pop-out floats.
The pop-out floats add approximately 65 pounds to the helicopter’s empty weight. When not in use, the float tubes are stowed in low-profile protective covers along the landing gear skids, which minimizes drag and allows easy access to and from the cabin.
In an emergency, the floats can be activated using a lever on the pilot’s collective, inflating within three seconds and 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 has also been approved for water takeoffs at reduced operating weights, allowing for water operations training or limited amphibious use.