Philip, South Dakota is the site of the second fatal Robinson R66 crash. This time, only the pilot was on board the helicopter. The first fatal R66 crash, which happened in July, killed two.
How does the R66 safety record stack up so far?
Since there are only 41 R66’s on the US registry, the record stacks up poorly.
Before the Robinson R66 came along, there were about 1.2 fatal turbine helicopter accidents for every 100,000 hours flown. For the R66 crashes to be in line with that norm, each of the 41 R66’s in the fleet would need to have logged 4000 hours. Since Robinson didn’t start delivering the R66 until November 2010, that’s virtually impossible. More realistically, the average time on an R66 is less than 400 hours.
Though not a scientific analysis, as of now it looks as though Robinson’s R66 is about 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than other turbine helicopters.
Sure, this is a small sample. Perhaps it’s too soon to draw any conclusions. But should R66 owners and pilots be concerned?
Of course they should.