March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
Helicopters, including light training models, are often several times as expensive to operate as comparably sized airplanes because of the inherent complexity and maintenance requirements of rotor and transmission systems. Beginning in 1973, Frank Robinson developed a new light helicopter design that was simpler than most certified helicopters, yet was just as rugged. It utilized light alloy construction, honeycomb-core rotor blades, and a simple teetering (semi-rigid) rotor system. The R22's low acquisition and operating costs reduced the financial barriers to helicopter training and private helicopter ownership, resulting in it becoming the one of the most prolific training helicopters from the 1980s on.
This is the first production R22 built and is the oldest surviving example of the type. This aircraft saw extensive flying as part of its FAA certification trials. As of the end of 2004, Robinson Helicopter had produced over 3,700 R22s.
Gift of Frank Robinson.