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been a requirement for turbine ENG aircraft. I would think an R66 would be so economical compared to say, an AStar, it could really take the market there.


Kurt: We have many markets where the 44 has taken over, but


L.A. doesn’t have any. But I see your point; it could do quite well in the L.A. market.


Rotorcraft Pro: Robinson currently has some expansion going


on, is that for the new R66 line? Kurt: We are expanding the plant by 137,000 square feet. It’s not


just for the R66 though, it will be for all our operations, to make them more efficient.


Rotorcraft Pro: Ok, I have to ask this. A few years ago I was


at the factory safety course, and I had the opportunity to have lunch with Frank (Robinson). He told me he really wanted to use a diesel engine for the new R66. I was shocked. Was that really under consideration? Kurt: Absolutely. We looked at everything, including the diesels.


We would love to have a diesel option. Hopefully that technology will move forward so we can use them one day. When Rolls Royce came out with their new RR300 engine, and we just couldn’t get the weight down on the diesel engines, that’s what cinched the decision to go with a turbine. Rotorcraft Pro: So for diesel, it just boils down to weight? Kurt: That’s it, They are still just too heavy for our helicopters.


Rotorcraft Pro: I know you just came back from ALEA show,


how was that for you? Kurt: The ALEA confirmed that state and local governments are


downsizing and need to save money. This is an area where the R44 Police Helicopter and the R66 should do very well.


Rotorcraft Pro: Robinson had substantial growth over the


decades. Around two years ago the sales of helicopters began to crash, and Robinson was not immune to that. What did you have to do? Kurt: We had to cut back certainly. We went into that year with


a fairly large backlog but our sales fell off and many orders that were in place dropped out; people just could not get financing. We see an increase in orders now, especially with the R66 coming out.


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