On July 14, 2017, Robinson Helicopter Company added the TB17 Lithium-ion battery to its R66 options. TB17 by True Blue Power, a division of Mid-Continent Instrument, offers substantial weight savings, improved starter performance and longer life.
At 16 pounds, the TB17 is significantly lighter than the R66’s standard battery, which weighs 42 pounds and the optional high-capacity battery which weighs 52 pounds. Lithium-ion chemistry holds a higher charge voltage and provides a more constant discharge rate than lead-acid delivering consistent, more reliable turbine starts.
The battery’s internal heater enhances functionality in cold temperatures as low as -40°C. Typical battery life is eight years with minimal required maintenance (visual inspection and capacity check) every two years.
The TB17 battery passed rigorous manufacturer and Federal Aviation Administration tests to ensure safety. A cockpit indicator warns the pilot if a battery fault is detected. During fault conditions, the battery automatically takes itself offline. Built-in circuitry prevents overcharge and/or overheating, and the TB17’s advanced Nanophosphate chemistry is much less susceptible to thermal runaway than many other Lithium-ion batteries.
The TB17 Lithium-ion battery is now available on new aircraft for $6,900.