Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Monday, November 14 2022 - 09:40
Helicopter Pioneer Frank Robinson Passes
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

On November 12, 2022 Robinson Helicopter Company bid a final farewell to its 
founder, Frank Robinson. Robinson, 92, passed away peacefully at his Rolling 
Hills, California home.

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One of the most recognizable names in the helicopter industry, Frank Robinson 
was a pioneer, a man not driven by reward or accolades but by a vision that 
redefined the industry and forever changed general aviation.  

Robinson will be remembered for the design and manufacture of the R22, R44, and 
R66 model helicopters. Known for their simplicity and reliability, the popular 
helicopters have a distinct profile and can be spotted easily and frequently 
all over the world. 

Robinson's fascination with helicopters began in 1939, at age nine, when he saw 
a picture in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of Igor Sikorsky hovering his 
VS-300 helicopter, an image that captivated Robinson and set the course for his 
life's work.

He earned a BSME degree from the University of Washington, later attending 
Wichita State University's graduate aeronautical engineering school.  His 
career began in the late '50s with Cessna and continued through the '60s 
working for many leading aerospace companies, including Bell and Hughes. In 
1973, at age forty-three, unable to interest any of his employers in the idea 
for a simple, personal helicopter, he resigned from his job at Hughes and 
founded Robinson Helicopter Company in his Palos Verdes, California home. Six 
years later, defying critics and overcoming enormous obstacles, Robinson was 
granted FAA certification for his two-place, piston powered R22 helicopter. The 
unknown helicopter company delivered its first production R22 in October 1979. 
By 1989, the R22 had gained a foothold in general aviation, opening a 
previously untapped market for private helicopter ownership.

In the early '90s, realizing the potential for a light mid-size helicopter, 
Robinson introduced the four-place piston powered R44. Orders for the R44 
quickly piled-up and the company became a recognized player in the aviation 
industry. In 2010, Robinson once again expanded his line with the five-place, 
turbine powered R66.

Robinson's relentless determination earned him the respect of both colleagues 
and competitors. Affectionately called a rock star in certain aviation circles, 
Robinson retired in 2010 at age 80.

The list of awards and honors bestowed on Robinson is long.  Most notable:

2013	     Daniel Guggenheim Medal – AHS International
2011	     Lifetime Aviation Engineering Award – Living Legends of Aviation
2010	     Cierve Lecturer – Royal Aeronautical Society
2011	     Inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Engineering
2004	     Howard Hughes Memorial Award – So. California Aeronautic Association
2000	     Named Laurels Hall of Fame Legend - Aviation Week & Space Technology 
1997	     The Doolittle Award - Society of Experimental Test Pilots
1992	     Laurels Award – Aviation Week & Space Technology
1991 & 1990  Igor I. Sikorsky International Trophy – American Helicopter Society

Today, the company continues under the leadership of Frank's son, Kurt Robinson 
and, to date, has delivered over 13,000 helicopters worldwide. 

CONTACT:  Loretta Conley 
	  (310) 539-0508, ext. 235
SOURCE  Robinson Helicopter Company