Robinson founded Robinson Helicopter Company (RHC) in 1973 to develop,
manufacture, and market a light two-place helicopter for the commercial
market. The aircraft, designed the Model R22, and the four-seat R44
introduced in 1993, are both considerably less expansive to purchase, own,
and operate than other light helicopters currently on the market.
RHC's first business address was Robinson's living room where the "R22"
two-seat helicopter was designed. The first prototype was built in a small
hangar at the Torrance Airport, and the R22's first flight took place in
August 1975. It tool another 3-1/2 years of extensive testing and technical
analysis before the R22 obtained its FAA type certificate in March 1979.
The first production R22 helicopter was delivered in late 1979, and since
that time, the R22 has become the top-selling civil helicopter worldwide.
It also holds every world performance record in its class, including speed,
altitude and distance. By the end of 1995, nearly 2600 R22s have been sold
in over forty countries around the world. In addition to the basic R22 Beta
configuration , RHC also offers a law enforcement version, and IFR Trainer
configuration with an enlarged instrument panel, and the R22 Mariner
version which has fixed utility floats for operations over water.
In the mid-1980s, RHC began research and development to expand its product
line to include a four-seat helicopter, designed the R44, based on the
proven design principles used in the R22. The R44 received FAA
certification in December 1992, and production deliveries began in
mid-1993. Approximately 250 R44s have been delivered in twenty countries
worldwide. Market reaction has been very favourable, and RHC expects the
R44 to become even more popular than its two seat sibling, the R22.
To accommodate the market demand for the R22 and R44, a new 260,000 square
foot manufacturing facility was completed in June 1994 at the Torrance
Airport. The new factory was built specifically to Robinson's requirements,
and is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
RHC currently employs a staff of approximately 400 at its Torrance,
California factory, and produces approximately four new aircraft per week.
Each year beginning in 1987, Robinson has produced more helicopters than
any other North American manufacturer.