Frank Robinson is the founder and CEO of Robinson Helicopter Company. He founded the helicopter manufacturing company in 1973 but released his prototype in 1979. The aircraft was tested by the FAA and approved for sale. His first aircraft was R2 and has been widely used as a civil helicopter.
Frank Robinson had an interest in a helicopter since the age of nine. It started when he saw a photo of Igor Sikorsky with his Prototype VS300 helicopter. He wanted to make this his career and channeled his studies towards the design and making of helicopters. As a result, he went for his BSME degree at the University of Washington. Later, he went for his graduate degree at the University of Wichita.
Before Frank Robinson started his Robinson Helicopter Company, he worked at various helicopter companies. Working at Cessna Aircraft Company was a breakthrough since he was part of the team that worked on the CH-1 Skyhook. Also, he worked at other helicopter companies, learning various skills from each. For instance, he worked at Umbaugh, earning gyroplane certification. At McCulloch Motor Company, he learned to designed inexpensive rotorcraft. Frank Robinson learned gyrodyne-type rotorcraft at Kaman Aircraft. Also, he worked at Bell Helicopters and Hughes Helicopter Company.
Even though Frank Robinson had gained extensive knowledge in helicopter design and building, these companies he worked for couldn’t actualize his dream to build cheap and efficient helicopters. Therefore, he broke out to start his company, Robinson Helicopter. His mission was to build cheap, efficient, reliable, and high-quality helicopters. Forty years down the line, the company has achieved this goal, building various helicopter models.
Robinson Helicopter has gained an international market. For instance, the Polish Air Force University uses the company’s R44 model to train its students. Also, city police in Buenos Aires, Argentina, uses the R22 model as their rotor-wing aircraft. The company’s helicopters are also helpful in long-distance flights. Jennifer Murray used the R44 model to circumnavigate the world in September 2000. Also, two R66 models were used to circle the globe and landed near Moscow. Two adventurous pilots used the company’s R44 Raven II model to land in the North Pole. These helicopters are mostly preferred due to their vertical landing and take-off features. Therefore, they can be used to navigate anywhere.