Robinson Helicopter Company was founded in 1973 by Frank Robinson, a former employee at Bell and Hughes Helicopter Company. Robinson developed a passion for helicopters when he was still a nine-year-old boy. He worked his way up through college, and earned a degree in BSME helicopter design from the University of Washington, and a graduate degree from the University of Wichita afterwards.
Robinson began his career at Cessna Aircraft Company in 1957 for three and a half years, then moved to McCulloch Motor Company where he spent four and a half years. He also worked at Kaman Aircraft for one year, followed by two years at Bell Helicopter, after which he moved to Hughes Helicopter Company.
He had a vision of building a small, low-cost helicopter of the highest quality and efficiency. However, after being unable to convince his employers at Hughes of his concept, Frank started his own family-owned company, which he called Robinson Helicopter Company, in 1973. It took him two years to build his first helicopter, R22, in 1975. Afterward, it took four years for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify R22.
R22 is a light, two-seater, two-bladed, single-engine helicopter. It has a low inertia rotor system, and the control inputs have no hydraulic assistance. Therefore, flight control is very sensitive and requires great levels of caution when flying. Due to this feature, many aviation companies use Robinson R22 helicopters to train their students before they transition to heavier helicopters.
What’s more, many people bought it for personal use and recreation, thanks to its reliability, price, and safety,
R22 Beta Π was introduced in 1985, an upgraded version of the first R22. It is also a two-seater with a two-bladed rotor system, but with more advanced avionics when compared to the first one.
Robinson helicopter has also produced R44 and R66, which are the company’s top sellers today. These new models are still simple and cost effective, but use the most advanced technology in the helicopter industry, including autopilot, better engines, improved stability, responsive handling, and glass avionics. And of course, the latest Robinson helicopter to be produced, R66, has more improved features than its predecessors. For instance, a larger cabin and luggage compartment, energy absorbing seats, and a new bladder fuel system.