The downturn in the economy late last year didn’t seem to hurt the momentum Robinson Helicopter established earlier in 2008. The company broke its own production record, manufacturing 893 helicopters in 2008, 70 more than it made in 2007.
Robinson credited its record to the R44 Raven series. The R44 comes in two models, the Raven II, which accounted for 60 percent of the production, and Raven I, which made up 20 percent. The Raven II cruises at 117 knots and has a maximum range of 348 nautical miles (no fuel reserve) and maximum operating altitude of 14,000 feet. It is touted as a more powerful version of the Raven I, which cruises at 113 knots.
The R22 rounded out the remaining 20 percent of Robinson’s production for the year. The R22 is a two-seat entry-level helicopter that burns 8 to 10 gallons per hour, cruises at 96 knots, and has a maximum range of more than 200 miles (no fuel reserve).
What does Robinson see for the upcoming year? In an announcement released last week, Robinson said its goal is “maintaining its record-breaking production.”