ICE Helicopters   ·   Oct 3   ·   2 min read

Robinson R66: The best single-engine turbine training helicopter

R66 Helicopter approaching into London Elstree Airport

Learning to fly the R66

Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of helicopter flying or you’re looking for a new heli-flying challenge, the five-seat Robinson R66 Turbine is a great choice for stretching your skills. Today, we’re looking at all the things there are to love about the R66 and why it’s perfect for the committed PPL(H) or type rating student… and, with ICE Helicopters, a bargain too!

The Stats

  • Seats: 5
  • Max Weight: 2,700lbs
  • Top Speed: 130kt
  • Range: 550nm (Auxiliary Tank)
  • Endurance: Approx. 5 hours
  • Hover Ceiling: >10,000ft

Getting to know the R66

Starting at the beginning, it’s so easy to conduct the pre-flight ‘Check A’ for the R66. If you’ve flown Robinsons before, you’ll find much of it familiar except, of course, for the engine, which is a Rolls Royce 300 Turbine. We love the attention to detail that’s gone into the R66, like the fact that it has LED lights to illuminate the hydraulic and main rotor gearbox sight gauge levels, so you won’t be needing to get your phone torch out.

If you’re nervous about the idea of starting a jet engine, it’s probably because you’ve heard things about how tricky certain turbine helicopters are to start (the Bell 206 JetRanger being a notable example). There’s no need to fear it in the R66, though; it’s very easy to manage and it won’t take you long to master. There is also a helpful iPhone app by Gyronimo which allows you to simulate the startup, and will also throw in hot starts and hung starts for practice!

When it comes to the handling, the R66 flies just like an R44, so if you’re used to flying Robinsons you won’t find anything difficult about flying the R66. In fact, in ours you’ll find it’s actually easier thanks to the state-of-the-art HeliSAS autopilot system, which not only gives the helicopter better stability, but also greatly reduces your workload by providing functions such as altitude hold, heading hold and NAV hold (GPS or VOR). It’ll even follow an ILS or LPV glideslope, if that’s something you want to learn.

In our R66 you’ll also learn how to use top-of-the-range avionics, as it’s equipped with the fully touchscreen G500H TXi (and GTN 750), which is linked with the HeliSAS autopilot and has features including:

  • Helicopter Terrain Awareness Warning System
  • GPS navigation with SafeTaxi and charts
  • Traffic Awareness System
  • Mapping on HSI
  • Links with apps on our provided iPad

When you come to self-fly hire the R66 and take it on some adventures, you’ll be glad you took the time to familiarise yourself with this fantastic technology – it’s amazing how much it reduces your workload on longer flights, especially through busy airspace.

The best bits from a recent #R66 type rating course!Speak to us today to have a go in this brilliant aircraft and stay tuned this week for some information on why we think it's the best turbine training helicopter!

Get your turbine rating for an exceptional price!

Tempted? We don’t blame you! If you’re keen to get a turbine rating, we’re offering the R66 at £600 per hour (+ VAT and landing fees) – the same as what you’d pay for a much older Bell 206 with many schools. If you’re a PPL(H) holder and not quite sure whether to take the plunge, you’re also welcome to come and do a one-hour experience flight to see how you get on. It’ll count towards your type rating if you decide to continue!

Contact us using or give us a call on 0207 112 8835 to find out more or book in.