The Robin DR-400 series of light aircraft owes its origins to the Jodel series of wooden construction light aircraft.
Avions Pierre Robin was formed by Pierre Robin and the principle designer of Jodel Aircraft, Jean Delemontez, in October 1957 as Centre Est Aeronautique. The company's initial production was of developments of the basic Jodel series of tail draggers, and it was these aircraft that evolved into the DR-400 series. Initial production was of the DR-100 and the DR-1050/1051, while the DR-220, DR-221 and DR-250 featured the Jodel's basic wing with a four seat fuselage. The final links between the Jodels and the DR-400 were the DR-253 and DR-300 series, tricycle developments of the DR-220 series.
First flight of the DR-400 occurred during June 1972, both a DR-400-125 and a DR-400-180 taking flight that month. Essentially, the DR-400 was an improved DR-300 with a forward-sliding canopy replacing the doors of the previous model.
Since that time a number of developments have been offered. The least powerful version is the DR 400-120, and it remains in production today as the DR-400-120 Dauphin 2+2. Powered by an 84kW (112hp) O-235, the DR-400-120 is really a two seater, although it can seat two children on a rear bench seat. The DR-400-125I has a 93kW (125hp) fuel injected IO-240 and was revealed in 1995. The DR-400-140 Dauphin is powered by a 120kW (160hp) O-320 and is a full four seater. The four seat DR-400-160 Chevalier meanwhile also features a 120kW (160hp) Lycoming O-320 and seats four. It first flew in June 1972. With a different prop, more fuel capacity and slightly different wing it became the DR-400-160 Major from 1980.
The four/five seat DR 400-180 Regent and DR-400-180R Remo 180 are powered by the 135kW (180hp) (Textron) Lycoming O-360, the Remo being optimised for glider towing. Also optimised for glider tug work is the DR-400-200R Remo 200, the most powerful DR-400 model (powered by a 150kW/200hp IO-360, driving a constant speed prop).
The DR-500 President was unveiled at the 1997 Paris Airshow as the DR-400-200I. It features a 150kW (200hp) IO-360 driving a constant-speed prop and widened and taller cabin. Deliveries began in 1998.
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