The Robinson R22 has undisputedly been the world's most popular light helicopter since its introduction in the late 1970s.
The R22 was designed by the founder of the Robinson Helicopter Company, Frank Robinson. The R22 was conceived to be an efficient, cheap to acquire (with a purchase cost comparable to two/four seat light aircraft), reliable and economical to operate multi purpose two seat light helicopter.
Design work on the R22 began in the 1970s, and an 85kW (115hp) Lycoming O235 powered prototype flew for the first time on August 28 1975. Certification of the R22 was delayed somewhat to March 1979 however by the loss of the prototype. Despite this setback though the R22 was an overnight success, and several hundred had been ordered by the time the first were delivered from October 1979.
A number of variants and developments of the R22 have been offered. These include the improved R22 Alpha introduced in 1983, and the more powerful R22 Beta from 1985. The R22 Mariner is equipped with floats, the R22 Police version is fitted with special communications gear, a searchlight, siren and loudspeaker, the R22 Agricultural is fitted with tanks and booms for agricultural spraying, while the R22 IFR is fitted with IFR instrumentation for helicopter IFR flight training.
The latest R22 model is the R22 Beta II, powered by a 120kW (160hp) O360 derated to 98kW (131hp) for takeoff for improved hot and high performance (as takeoff power can be maintained up to 7500ft). The Beta II was introduced into production in 1995 and certificated in early 1996.
R22 uses are varied and include helicopter pilot training, cattle mustering, traffic reporting and police work.
Copyright Airliners.net, some information Copyright Aerospace Publications
Back to Aircraft Data & History section.
Back to frontpage of Airliners.net