How Frank Robinson Innovated The Aviation Industry

Robinson HelicopterThe success of family-owned Robinson Helicopter Company can be attributed to great leadership and a passion for aviation; in addition to other factors. Frank Robinson established the company during 1973. This endeavor was inspired by his longtime love of helicopters. Growing up in Washington, Frank developed a strong interest in helicopters while America was in the great depression. When he was nine years old, Robinson saw a picture of Igor Sikorsky flying an aircraft and Immediately wanted to be apart of aviation world. More specifically, he was intrigued by the engineering process involved in building an aircraft.

Robinson Helicopter

The University of Washington is where he earned his degree of mechanical engineering. While in school, Frank devoted much of his studies to helicopter design. Upon graduating from Washington, Frank enrolled to Wichita State and received his graduates degree of engineering. Throughout his college years, Robinson also learned to fly airplanes and received his private pilots license. Ultimately becoming a skilled pilot, he pursued more aviation knowledge by applying for mechanical engineering jobs after completing his schooling. Cessna would be his first working position. During his time there, the company was developing a version of the skyhook helicopter. Staying with Cessna for a few years helped him attain valuable insight about aviation designing.

After accumulating more than a decade of experience with various companies, Frank established Robinson Helicopter Company. His goal for creating this company was to provide an affordable option for personal helicopter flights. The R22 was the company’s first aircraft. It took two years to complete the prototype. This first model’s prototype was designed in different areas of Robinson’s house. A partnership with C.K. LeFiell of Hawaii gave Robinson Helicopter Company gave more momentum. This would be needed in order to receive FAA certification; a process that would span three years. When the R22 was released, it received much press from aviation publications and sales skyrocketed. It would eventually become worlds best-selling helicopter. Several successive models were added to the company over the decades following the first prototype. Kurt Robinson is the company’s current President and Chairman, entering these roles of his father‘s company in 2010. Tim Goetz serves as CEO.