December 2017

2017 December

Robinson R22/R44/R66 Records & Firsts
First flights: R22, August 28, 1975 | R44, March 31, 1990 | R66 Turbine, August 16, 2007

Caption: December 1988 - Robinson Helicopter Co. becomes the world’s leading producer of light helicopters, producing more new helicopters that year than any other manufacturer.

After the R22’s first flight in August 1975 and first production delivery in 1979, higher-powered models (R22 HP, R22 Beta and Beta II) along with Police and off-shore (Mariner II) variants were developed and with the overall, overwhelming success of the entry-level two-seat helicopter, Frank Robinson and his team began development of the larger piston-engined R44 in the mid-1980s.

The R44 Raven has turbine-level performance at a more affordable piston-engine price along with seating for five. Multiple variants have been produced and sold including the Raven I and II (available as an IFR trainer), the marinized Clipper I with fixed floats, and improved Police versions. In August 1997, an R44 completed an around-the-world flight.

Following the success of the larger R44, Robinson started preliminary design of its first turbine-powered helicopter, the R66 Turbine, in 2001. A newer, downrated, and lighter-weight version of Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20 engine was developed, designated as the RR300. Three R66 Turbine prototypes were built, with the first flying in October 2007 and FAA certification awarded in October 2010. In September 2013, two R66 Turbines successfully completed an around-the-world flight.

Description: Ken Bartie
Photo credit: Robinson Helicopter Company

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