R44s Go Multirole for Lebanese Army
Lebanese military officials took delivery of two Robinson R44 Raven II helicopters at the company’s manufacturing facility in Torrance, Calif., last month. The army plans to use the four-seat piston helicopters as part of its flight-training program for new pilots, as well as for other roles, including border patrol, fire surveys, medical assistance and VIP transport. The army’s previous flight-training syllabus took students from a simulator program directly into in-flight instruction in large military helicopters. Using the R-44s before transitioning into the larger helicopters will avoid the high operating costs of the larger aircraft and reduce the risk of putting student pilots in these aircraft when they are still relatively inexperienced. Lebanese air force commander General Nouhad Zebian, himself a certified helicopter pilot, told Robinson he plans to request more R44s if the demands on these first two training aircraft are as high as he expects. The Raven II lists for $360,240.