Genesys Aerosystems’ HeliSAS helicopter stability augmentation system (SAS) and autopilot is now available for retrofit installation in Robinson R44 helicopters. The former Cobham subsidiary, which makes Chelton EFIS and STEC autopilot systems, was bought out by management in April.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has found that the fatally injured pilot and sole occupant of a Gemini Helicopters Robinson R44 that crashed on Jan. 27, 2013, near Fox Creek, Alberta, after an in-flight break-up “was under the influence of alcohol” and made “inappropriate control inputs that caused the main rotor blade to make contact with the fuselage.” The TSB also noted the failure of the R44’s emergency locator transmitter in the final report.
New Zealand-based Spidertracks announced a significant OEM endorsement for its low-cost flight tracking system at Heli-Expo 2014, with Robinson Helicopter now offering the Bluetooth text-enabled Spider S5 as an option on the R22, R44 and R66 models. The agreement marks the first time a rotorcraft manufacturer has offered the portable Spidertracks system from the factory.
“Robinson realized that our system offered significant advantages over competing tracking solutions,” Hannes Geiger, North American communications spokesman for Spidertracks, told AIN.
Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. 5226) is displaying its new line of standard and optional glass-panel avionics options for all its helicopter models here at Heli-Expo.
The Garmin GTR 225B is now the standard com radio on all models. The company points out that it satisfies the new KHz channel spacing regulations. The GMA 350H audio panel is now standard for dual com installations.
CEO Kurt Robinson said he is focusing on keeping his family’s helicopter company “lean and mean to provide a good product at a competitive price” to bring value to its customers. “We’re going to keep our pencils sharpened,” he told AIN. Robinson Helicopter posted another strong year in 2013, producing 523 helicopters, up from 517 in 2012 and a long climb from the 2010 rate of 162. As was the case in 2012, the piston-powered R44 continues to be the top seller, with 289 produced in 2013; but the $839,000 turbine-single R66, with 192 already delivered, remains the company cash cow.
Robinson Helicopter posted another solid year in 2013, but it could have been even better had the U.S. dollar not surged against select foreign currencies. That’s the word from company CEO Kurt Robinson. “This year  is almost identical to last year ,” said Robinson, whose company produced 517 helicopters across its product line in 2012. Preliminary production numbers for the company that do not include the closing days of 2013 indicate it produced 39 R22s, 80 R44 Raven Is, 198 R44 Raven IIs and 188 R66 turbine singles.
Robinson Helicopter issued a Service Bulletin (SB-109) requiring retrofit installation of fuel bladders in all R22s through S/N 4620 “as soon as practical,” but no later than the next 2,200-hour overhaul or 12-year inspection. It began installing fuel bladders in new-production R22s early last year beginning with S/N 4622.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and New Tribes Mission (NTM) are working together to deliver food, clean water and other critical aid to remote island communities of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. NTM, which already had three aircraft (two Cessna 206s and a Robinson R44) stationed in the Philippines, was “uniquely positioned to help.” MAF personnel traveled to the Philippines to assist the NTM crew with logistics.
The Robinson Helicopter fleet in service in Brazil is the largest of any country in Latin America, according to the manufacturer’s Brazilian distributor, Audi Helicópteros. Audi is at LABACE 2013 (Chalet 6102) well positioned to take advantage of the growing popularity of rotorcraft in this part of the world.
With a chalet immediately adjacent to the main entrance, Audi has one of each of Robinson’s most popular aircraft on prominent display: the five-seat, turbine-powered R66; the four-seat piston-powered R44; and the two-seat piston-powered R22.
Bristow Academy, a division of Bristow Group, has introduced into service its first four Robinson R44 training helicopters with Garmin 500H glass cockpits with dual 6.5-inch LCDs.
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