Robinson Helicopter Company last month became the first U.S. rotorcraft manufacturer to receive Japanese type certification. Type certification of the R22 and R44 helicopters will reduce the Japanese inspection and approval process from a potential three months to less than a month. It also will reduce, from $426 to $32, the cost of these inspections, company officials say.
Alpha Aviation, a Japanese Robinson dealer, initiated type certification for the R22 and R44 in 1999. The Lycoming engines used in all Robinson helicopters were approved in July 2001; airframe certification occurred in December 2002.
Officials at JCAB, the Japanese equivalent of the FAA, spent five days at Robinson Helicopter in March 2002 for a type certificate technical review, which included design analysis and production control. They were joined by their FAA counterparts and Robinson engineers.
"Robinson helicopters will become more popular in Japan with a type certificate because they will be easier to import," says Alpha Aviation President Shizuka Saito. More than 100 Robinson rotorcraft are registered in Japan.
Robinson has received more than 50 orders for its new R44 Raven II helicopter. Deliveries started in November following final FAA certification.