The Robinson R66’s safety record to date is troubling. The aircraft did not go into production until 2010 and the fleet is very small. Yet a total of five R66 helicopters have already crashed, killing 11:
- July 12, 2011, Flandes, Colombia, pilot and passenger killed;
- October 1, 2011, near Philip, South Dakota, pilot killed;
- January 3, 2013, Caraguatatuba, Sao Paolo, Brazil, pilot and passenger killed;
- March 9, 2013, Oamaru Valley, near Taupo, New Zealand, pilot killed; and
- July 27, 2013, near Skyhaven Airport, Pennsylvania, pilot and 4 passengers killed.
Lawsuits have just been filed regarding two of those crashes.
The first was filed last month in Los Angeles against Robinson Helicopter Company and others arising from the Colombia Crash. The crash occurred moments after take off in good weather The lawsuit alleges that the R66 fuel system was defective and that, as a result, the Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine that powers the R66 repeatedly cycled between full power and low power, rendering the helicopter uncontrollable and causing it to crash. The suit was filed by Ronald Goldman and Ilyas Akbari, two attorneys who have a long track record of suing Robinson.
The second suit deals with last month’s R66 crash in northeastern Pennsylvania. That helicopter crashed in the vicinity of thunderstorm activity. The suit was filed by another prominent helicopter accident attorney, Gary Robb of Kansas City on behalf of a woman who lost her 3 year old son in the crash. Robb’s suit alleges that the charter service that owned the R66 is liable for allowing a pilot to fly the helicopter who was not competent for the mission he was attempting.