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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: Rolls-Royce Wins RR300 Type Certificate

PRODUCTS | ENGINES

Rolls-Royce won FAA type certification of its 300-shp-class RR300 turboshaft engine in late 2007, the manufacturer revealed at Heli-Expo last month.

The engine maker launched development of the RR300 in January 2006 and received the type certificate in late December.

"So we were able to do the design, development, and complete certification — through receipt of the type certificate — in just under 24 months, which is a fairly speedy program by industry standards," said Ken Roberts, acting president of Rolls-Royce’s helicopter business.

It did that by applying "the very latest program tools and methodologies that Rolls-Royce has," he said. "It’s been a very good success story."

At press time, Rolls was working with the FAA to obtain the RR300 production certificate so it can begin serial production of the engine.

Rolls developed the engine to extend its turboshaft product to a lower power range to serve a new group of light helicopters. (The lowest power produced by the Model 250 is 420 shp.)

Its launch platform is the Robinson Helicopter Co. R66, a five-seat aircraft that is Robinson’s first turbine. Robinson launched that program at Heli-Expo 2007.

Since then, Schweizer Aircraft said it would use the RR300 on its new Model 434. Rolls also is exploring applications of the engine with Enstrom and MD Helicopters on their respective product lines.

Rolls is committed to supplying the first RR300s to Robinson. The company has re-engineered its Indianapolis production facility to make it capable of building hundreds of RR300s and Model 250s, Roberts said.

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