After a lackluster 2010, Robinson Helicopter is back on a healthier track, according to CEO Kurt Robinson. The Torrance, Calif.-based builder of single-engine helicopters recently hired 150 employees, bringing its workforce to 1,100, and increased production to some 10 helicopters per week.
Robinson has taken orders for more than 330 of its new R66 turbine singles, has delivered 65 and is producing three per week. R66s positions are now sold out through next April and Robinson is looking to increase production to five R66s per week next year. Demand for piston-powered R44s also is on the upswing, with six coming off the production line each week and a six-month order backlog.
Robinson is continuing to add more foreign certifications for the R66 and is developing new options, including pop-out emergency floats and a police package. The R66 recently received Russian certification, and the company is now working on Canadian and EASA approvals. At present, Robinson is holding the line on prices, with the base R66 priced at $805,000 and the R44 at $348,000 to $425,000, depending on model.
“We are pretty happy with what we are seeing,” said the CEO.