In the March 21 edition of General Aviation News we included the “Top 10 best-selling aircraft of 2018.”
After the story went live on our website, commenter Eric called us out: “Robinson sold 200+ R-44s, which are also aircraft. How are they not #1 on your ‘aircraft’ list?”
Right you are Eric. The headline should’ve been Top 10 best-selling airplanes of 2018. We know better, we just screwed up.
So, I decided to dive into the reports from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and tabulate Robinson Helicopter Company data for myself. To be consistent, I use the data GAMA provides, and it reports specific model deliveries. The R44 model comes in three flavors (Cadet, Raven I and Raven II).
A re-rigged best-selling list would’ve put the R44 Raven II with 128 deliveries in fifth (Airbus delivered 136 H125s and would’ve been second). Interestingly, Airbus delivered the most rotorcraft in 2018 (323 versus 316 for Robinson).
Personally, I have a soft spot for the R22. My logbook includes about 1.5 hours of dual in the diminutive two-seater. It was an absolute joy to experience — even if everything felt backwards.
Just typing this takes me right back to my first autorotation. Talk about pucker-factor. I’ll never forget the feeling of descending (perhaps falling is a better word) toward the ground, building up rotor energy in order to flair for a controlled landing.
That ground come up fast. Real fast. But at the same time, a thrill, and a vital maneuver.
GAMA began collecting rotorcraft data in 2011, but it is apparent Robinson Helicopter bucks the same economic pressures of its fixed-wing contemporaries.
Thanks for comment Eric. You brought back a fun batch of memories.