Light helicopter maker Robinson doubles production in 2011, building 356 rotorcraft

TORRANCE, Calif., 19 Jan 2012. Light helicopter maker Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance, Calif., more than doubled its production of civil helicopters in 2011 over the previous year, building 356 rotorcraft compared with 2010's production of 162, company officials announced.

Production in 2011 saw Robinson build 212 Robinson model R44 Raven/Clipper series helicopters, 88 Robinson model R66 Turbine helicopters, and 56 Robinson model R22 Beta II helicopters.

The four-seat Robinson model R44 helicopters are for private, business, and utility applications, and feature six-cylinder Lycoming engines, a two-bladed rotor system, carry 774 to 816 pounds of passengers and baggage with standard fuel, cruise at speeds of 130 to 135 miles per hour, have maximum ranges of about 350 miles, and climb faster than 1,000 feet per minute.

The five-seat Robinson model R66 is similar to the model R44, yet has increased reserve power, improved altitude performance, and large baggage compartment. The R66 has a Rolls-Royce RR300 engine, carries 927 pounds of passengers and baggage with maximum fuel, cruises at speeds as fast as 146 miles per hour, a maximum range of 375 miles, operates at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet, and climbs as fast as 1,000 feet per minute.

The two-seat Robinson model R22, which is for applications ranging from flight training to patrolling pipelines, has a Lycoming O-360 four-cylinder carburetor-equipped engine, and an average fuel consumption of seven to 10 gallons per hour. The light helicopter carries as much as 400 pounds of passengers and baggage with standard fuel, a maximum speed of 118 miles per hour, maximum range of more than 200 miles (300 miles with auxiliary fuel), operates at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet, and climbs at sea level as fast as 1,000 feet per minute.

While the R44 remains Robinson’s top selling helicopter, the response to its latest model, the R66 Turbine, has been strong, Robinson officials say. The R66 was FAA certificated in October 2010. As of December 31, 2011, total orders received for the model exceeded 360.

Robinson enters this year with a backlog of more than 400 helicopter orders. The company has expanded its manufacturing space and continues to hire employees.

Other priorities for 2012 include foreign validation of the R66 and FAA certification of options for the R66 including floats and a police version, company officials say.

Robinson claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of civil helicopters. For more information contact Robinson Helicopter online at www.robinsonheli.com.

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