Robinson continues its amazing run as the most prolific civilian helicopter maker in the world by delivering its 8,000th unit to a private owner in New Zealand. The milestone machine was a four-seat R44 Raven II.
Frank Robinson founded his company in 1973 to design and manufacture affordable helicopters for the civilian market. His first two-seat R22 was delivered in 1979 and it soon dominated the helicopter training business. The larger four-seat R44 was first delivered in 1993 and is now the bestselling helicopter in the world. The R44 is priced under $400,000, less than the cost of the top selling single-engine piston airplanes. Before Frank Robinson, nobody imagined that a helicopter with all of its mechanical complexity could be built for the same or less as a comparable airplane, but 8,000 deliveries are proof that Frank knew what he was doing.