With all its manufacturing, assembly, inspecting, and testing conducted at Zamperini Airfield in Los Angeles County, the Robinson Helicopter Company can truly be considered an American Original. From his initial startup in the mid-’70s, founder Frank Robinson envisioned a high-quality, affordable helicopter that is safe and easy to maintain. By smart engineering a steel tube airframe that’s light yet rigid, coupled with an aerodynamic fuselage, he came up with the iconic R22, a 2-seater workhorse that is still in production today as the R22 Beta II. The R22 was followed by the R44, a four-seater that is currently offered in a variety of configurations, including the R66 Turbine Police Helicopter. The results have opened the world of helicopter flying to many individuals and organizations who could not afford it.
Robinson Helicopter has avoided outsourcing. By producing most components in-house at their manufacturing and assembly plant, they are able to maintain the stringent quality standards that are embedded in the company culture, as well as efficiently manage their production schedule. This keeps well-paying, highly skilled technical jobs in the USA, jobs that were once the backbone of the American middle class.
Safety and Service for their existing customers is also a large part of the company’s ethos. By offering monthly safety courses for helicopter flight instructors and maintenance courses for technicians, the company extends its commitment to its customers beyond the delivery date. An emphasis on research and development has allowed the Robinson Helicopter company the opportunity to introduce new technologies such as glass avionics and an autopilot designed specifically for the unique requirements of helicopters.
With over 1,300 employees and leading the global market for civilian helicopters, the company still has the vibe of a family-run business. The company is currently headed by the founder’s son, Kurt Robinson. Frank Robinson’s daughter Terry Robinson Hane is the director of Sales and Marketing.
Having delivered more than 13,000 helicopters around the globe, the Robinson Helicopter Company is still flying smoothly, with one eye on the instrument panel and the other on the horizon.