Frank Robinson, CEO of Robinson Helicopter Company, had an idea to build small, low-cost helicopters. However, he could find no one else who would join him. In 1973, Robinson Helicopter Company began in his home.
He built his first prototype, R22, in a hanger at the Torrance Airport. In 1975, Robinson took to the skies in the R22 for its first flight. The helicopter received its FAA Type Certificate in 1979 after almost four years of testing. Soon, the R22 was the top-selling civic helicopter across the globe. The copter holds many world records for its class.
In the ‘80s, Robinson developed an R44, which is a four-seat helicopter. In 1990, the helicopter took to the skies for its first flight. The FAA certified the copter in 1992. Deliveries started in 1993. Thanks to the popularity of the R44, Robinson expanded the line. The line now includes a Newscopter and a Police Helicopter that is equipped to meet their needs. They introduced the Raven II in 2002. The helicopter was the first to have a fuel injection engine and quickly became the company’s most popular helicopter. Over 5000 of the Raven II’s were delivered to customers worldwide by the end of 2010.
In 2001, the Robinson Helicopter Company began designing a five-place turbine helicopter. The idea of building the helicopter picked up speed in 2005 when a deal was reached with Rolls Royce to build the turbine engine. The helicopter received FAA certification in 2010. By the end of the year, there was backorder for the turbine helicopter. In June 2010, at 80, Robinson retired.