Robinson Helicopter is trying to secure non-US approval for its R66 light turbine helicopter’s hydraulic systems.
While the company has received equivalent level of safety (ELOS) certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the R66’s single channel hydraulic system, it has not received similar approval from other states including Russia, Canada and the European regulator EASA, says Kurt Robinson, president of Robinson Helicopter.
Robinson says the process to obtain the exemption was “phenomenal”, taking over a year of testing and analysis to prove that the R66’s hydraulic system, which does not have redundancy built in, is as safe as one that does.
The company had to demonstrate what would happen if the hydraulic system were to be jammed in flight. “Given the length of the controls and the way that it’s setup, it proved very easy for the pilot to breakthrough the jam,” Robinson says.
Test data has been submitted to Transport Canada, Russia’s MAK Interstate Aviation Committe and EASA, which did not accept the original FAA exemption. Those agencies are analysing the new findings, says Robinson.