Robinson Helicopter Company After 40 Years
Before Frank Robinson, founder of Robinson Helicopter Company, built the first R22 helicopter prototype in a hanger at the Torrance, California, Airport in 1973, he had spent over 20 years in the industry, starting in 1952. He had worked for Cessna for three and a half years on the CH-1 Skyhook helicopter and a year helping Umbaugh gain certification on its gyroplane.
Next, Frank Robinson worked at McCulloch Motor Company for four and a half years involved in design studies on inexpensive rotocraft. After a year at Kaman and two with Bell Helicopter, he had gained his reputation as an expert with tail rotos. At Hughes Helicopter in 1969, Frank Robinson worked on Research and Development projects including the Hughes 500 helicopter’s new tail rotor and the quiet helicopter program.
Since none of his former employers were interested in his small, low cost helicopter, Frank Robinson due to his extensive background and work experience, flew his first test flight of the R22 helicopter in August 1975. After three and a half years of testing and technical analysis, the R22 received its FAA Type Certification in 1979. It soon became the top selling civil helicopter in the world and holds world records in speed and altitude for its weight class.
Today the company is the leader in the global civil helicopter industry and have delivered 13,000 units to customers world wide, including flight schools, corporations and private owners. Robinson Helicopters has earned a reputation for their reliability, ease of maintenance and inexpensive operation. The R22, R44 and R66 have been products since 1979. The R44 and the R66 are the best sellers for the company.
The R66, a five seater with a Rolls Royce turboshaft engine is used in commercial operations, such as aerials surveys, areal tour businesses and business travelers. It can transport small company teams. The R66 Marine helicopter is used to transport oil rig workers and by aerial tour companies. The R66 turbine is also used for special purposes including specially equipped Newscopters and Police helicopter. Other models included among Robinson Helicopter products include the R44 Raven 1, the Clipper 1, R44 Cadet and the R22 Beta II.
Robinson Helicopter continuously and consistently make safety upgrades and add features as helicopter technology advance. New systems make helicopters easier to fly. The company that Frank Robinson pioneered continues to refine and fine tune its products with new technology and exceed safety standards.