Billed as "The World's #1 Selling Helicopter", the Robinson R44 has been a market success for the Robinson Helicopter Company. Its design is attributed to Frank D. Robinson with work having taken place during the 1980s (it became a further development of the earlier two-seat R22 model). The result is a multi-faceted, light-class, utility-minded helicopter that can count users from all over the globe - from Bolivia and Dominican Republic to the United States and Uruguay. The helicopter serves civilian, police and military markets and its inherent simplicity makes it a prime helicopter trainer. Introduced in 1993, the series has seen production figures reach nearly 6,000 units today (2018).
The R44 retains much of the form and function that made the R22 of 1979 such a success in its own right (4,600 units produced into 2016). It is powered by a single engine which drives a two-bladed main rotor unit and a two-bladed tail rotor unit. The main rotor sits high atop the mast which is housed within a solid structure and measures 33 feet in diameter. The tail rotor faces portside. The undercarriage is a simple twin-skid arrangement allowing for landings on virtually any relatively solid surface. The cockpit seats two in a typical side-by-side arrangement and there is transport space for two passengers (also seated side-by-side). Overall length is 38.2 feet with a height of 10.8 feet. Empty weight is 660lb against an MTOW of 1,135lb.
Drive power (assuming the "Raven II" production form) is from a Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5 6-cylinder fuel-injected engine developing 245 horsepower. This is used to drive both the main rotor over the fuselage and the tail rotor at the rear (the latter via a drive shaft in the tail stem). Maximum speed reaches 150 miles per hour while cruising speeds are generally seen around 130 mph. Range is out to 350 miles on internal fuel and altitudes are restricted to under 14,000 feet.
A first-flight of the R44 was had on March 31st, 1990. Variants of the family now include the R44 "Astro" of 1992, the R44 "Newscopter" of 1998, the R44 "Raven" (2000) and "Raven II" (2002), and the R44 "Cadet" of 2015.
The related Robinson R66 is a further evolution of the R44 line. This model was introduced in 2007 and has seen production totals reach close to 1,000 by late 2017.
Dominican Republic; Estonia; Jordan; Lebanon; Philippines; Portugal; Russia; South Africa; United States; Uruguay
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
38.2 ft (11.65 m)
33.1 ft (10.10 m)
10.8 ft (3.30 m)
1,455 lb (660 kg)
2,205 lb (1,000 kg)
+750 lb (+340 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Robinson R44 production variant)
1 x Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5 6-cylinder engine developing 245 horsepower and driving two-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor.
R44 - Base Series Designation
R44 "Astro" - Model of 1992.
R44 "Newscopter" - Developed for news-gathering agencies; model of 1998.
R44 "Raven" - Hydraulically-assisted control scheme; adjsutable pedal controls; model of 2000.
R44 "Raven II" - Fitted with more powerful engine; increased gross weight value; model of 2002.
R44 "Cadet" - Based on Raven I though with cargo section taking the place of the two rear passenger seats; model of 2015.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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