Rotor & Wing International

Company Profile: Robinson Helicopter

As costs became less of a barrier, more people learned to fly and the demand for small, affordable helicopters increased.

Robinson Helicopter Company was founded in 1973 by Frank Robinson, whose vision was to produce the world’s highest quality, most reliable helicopters in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.

Robinson introduced its first helicopter, the two-place piston-powered R22 in 1979. The R22’s simple design, easy maintenance and low acquisition cost made it popular among private owners and flight schools. As costs became less of a barrier, more people learned to fly and the demand for small, affordable helicopters increased.

In 1992, following the same design philosophy as the R22 but with Lycoming’s larger, more powerful O-540 engine, Robinson introduced the four-place R44 (later designated the R44 Raven I). Ten years later the R44 Raven II was announced, the same as the original R44 but equipped with Lycoming’s IO-540 fuel-injected engine and 28-volt electrical system. Designed by Lycoming in cooperation with Robinson, the IO-540 enhanced the R44’s ability to perform at high altitudes and in hot temperatures. The Raven II appealed to a broader market, and by 2003 R44 sales had doubled R22 sales.

In that time, Robinson contemplated ideas for a turbine-powered helicopter. In 2005, an agreement was reached with Rolls-Royce to develop the RR300 turbine engine, a derivative of the RR250 series. With the engine in place, development of a fiveplace turbine helicopter, the R66 Turbine, moved into high gear. The R66 was FAA-certificated in 2010 to the current amendment of the federal regulations, including latest crashworthiness standards.

Today, the company’s top sellers are its R44 and R66 helicopters, respectively. Both models are offered in a variety of configurations including float, news and police versions. The most recent addition to Robinson’s line is the R44 Cadet, a two-place R44 specifically designed for the training market.

Robinson puts great emphasis on research and development, continually making improvements and offering new technology. Among its latest offerings are glass avionics and an autopilot designed specifically for helicopters.

Robinson manufactures, assembles, inspects and flight tests all of its helicopters at its Torrance, California, factory. To ensure the highest quality and to maximize efficiency, the company manufactures a large percentage of parts in house and employs a highly skilled workforce.

To date, Robinson Helicopter Company has delivered more than 12,000 helicopters worldwide.