The Russian certification process, which began in November 2010, concluded in early March 2013 shortly after the FAA’s approval of the ELOS (Equivalent Level of Safety) for the R66 hydraulic control system. The ELOS was significant as it effectively removed an exemption in the R66’s original type certificate. During the certification of the R66, the FAA granted Robinson an exemption from a
regulation requiring hydraulic control systems be designed with an alternate or redundant system in case of failure. The exemption was granted because the single valve design used in both the R44 and R66 has accumulated millions of flight hours without incident. In early February 2013, after witnessing tests that demonstrated a pilot could easily break through a hydraulic control jam and maintain control of the aircraft, the FAA approved the ELOS. Upon receiving the news, representatives from the Russian IAC AR returned to Robinson’s factory in Torrance to finalize the R66 certification.
Certification in Russia is an important milestone for the R66. To date, Robinson has received a total of forty-seven R66 orders from Russia. Twenty-two R66s are awaiting export, eighteen are currently in production and scheduled for delivery later this year. Seven R66 demonstrators were delivered to Russia prior to certification.