The FAA awarded certified the Robinson Helicopter R66 Turbine this week and at the same time, it awarded the company a production certificate to begin deliveries.
The first delivery was slated for Helistream Inc., a longtime Robinson dealer in Costa Mesa, Calif. Customers on the West Coast will be among the first to receive the Robinson R66 Helicopters.
It will be outfitted with a Rolls Royce RR300, which is based on the RR250 series. The design of the helicopter began in 2001, though the company did not jump head-on into its engineering until 2005.
“Because we were not working to a hard deadline, we had the opportunity to refine and optimize the design,” said Pete Riedl, Robinson’s chief engineer. “The performance of the aircraft, so far, has met or exceeded all of our expectations.”
The rumor mill churned at last week’s NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, Ga., that Cessna Aircraft Co., may have something up its sleeve in addition to the Citation Ten it unveiled there.
In the video above, AOPA Pilot interviews Cessna CEO Jack Pelton and he hints that the aircraft maker might be developing a single-turboprop model to be marketed as an option in between the Corvalis TT and Citation Mustang.
“(It) would ideally have a cruise speed greater than 300 knots,” Pelton says in the interview. “And a price point between $1 and $2.2 million. We want to be south of the Mustang in terms of price.”
Russ Niles writes for AvWeb this week that such an aircraft could compete with the Piper Meridian and Socata TBM 850, as Corvalis and Cirrus Aircraft pilots look to train up for an increase of range and speed.
Pelton has said he wants the Cessna product line to be ready to absorb new buyers as the economy rights itself. He told AOPA Pilot that he would like for a new product to be rolled out at the AOPA Aviation Summit next month in Long Beach, Calif. However, such an announcement may be “too soon,” he said.
An N-number has surfaced among aviation sleuths, N350CE, that shows up in our aircraft registration tool as a single turboprop two-seater registered to Cessna. It is listed there as a Cessna E350.
UPDATE: AvWeb now has what it says are images of the Cessna turboprop. Check them out here
Williamson Images / NBAA
We caught our breath from the 2010 NBAA Convention, and we have continued at full speed, providing the best aircraft listings and airport information for aviators anywhere online. Still, we will take a minute here to reflect and share some tidbits from the event.
This year’s convention saw a rise in the number of exhibitors from the previous year, with 1,083 turning out.
The sold-out static display featured 93 aircraft, as well as a waiting list for spots, and attendance increased more than 5 percent, totaling 24,206.
"It has been a pretty challenging couple of years for business aviation," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "But even in this climate, the people and companies in business aviation continue to seek out effective venues for conducting business, sharing information and networking, which is why NBAA's convention remains a must-attend on the industry's calendar."
Events during the convention included recognition for those who helped bring relief to Haiti following the January earthquake, honoring five legends of flight as FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilots, and golfer-pilot Arnold Palmer received the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award.
Live and silent auctions during the convention raised more than $220,000 to support the Corporate Angel Network.
Industry news also flowed from the convention floor.
Cessna rolled out its Citation Ten (featuring the new Garmin G5000), while Piper showed off the PiperJet Altaire, Embraer highlighted its Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000, and Bombardier debuted the Global 7000 and Global 8000.
Whew, what a run! Who is already geared up for next year?
During this week’s NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, the business-aviation association presented its Meritorious Service Award to golfing legend, businessman and American icon Arnold Palmer.
The highest recognition given by the organization each year, it honors Palmer, a pilot with more than 50 years experience and multiple ratings, for his work with the group and his contributions to the industry. In the video above, mega investor Warren Buffet congratulates Palmer for his work in the NBAA No Plane, No Gain campaign.
Buffet, Palmer and astronaut Neil Armstrong have appeared as representatives for the effort, which seeks to promote the advantages of business aviation.
“It is Arnold Palmer’s service to the industry that is the reason we are presenting him with the Meritorious Service Award today,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen during the ceremony. “Arnold Palmer has been willing to use his good name to promote business aviation at a time when we needed it most.”
Palmer said in his remarks that the day prior he flew from Orlando to Charlotte to conduct some business and returned in time to be in his Florida office by early afternoon.
“As a young boy I dreamed of flying, and aviation has allowed me to visit places all over the world and spend extra time with my family,” Palmer said. “I wouldn’t be here today without my airplane.”
The New York Times has weighed in on this year’s NBAA session. A story posted to its web site yesterday discusses ultra long-range jets and commercial-sized private jets, mentioning the Global 7000 and Global 8000 and Embraer’s Lineage 1000, as well as the Gulfstream G650.
The article notes that, while the private aviation industry struggled during the past two years of economic downturn, the interest in the largest and most-expensive aircraft actually increased, and then it provides sales data to support this.
“At the very highest niche, where customers can easily pay well over $40 million for a jet and more than $8 million to outfit the cabin, the business appears to be surviving the economic downturn.”
Read the full article here.