By Andrew Parker, Senior Editor
Torrance, Calif.-based Robinson Helicopter is coming off a “pretty good” year, producing 162 helicopters in 2010. And signs are pointing up for a recovery worldwide in demand.
“One-hundred sixty-two. That’s pretty good, kind of like the old days, so we’re not complaining at all and we have lots of orders coming in for the R66,” said company founder (and now retired) Frank Robinson.
Photos by Editor-at-Large Ernie Stephens
His son and CEO Kurt Robinson noted that sales were down at the same time a year ago, with an inventory instead of a backlog. But when things are down the most, that’s when the recovery begins, he added, noting that sales started to increase in late 2010. “In the spring, all the R44s and R22s were gone, and the orders just slowly kept trickling in. All through the fall, we kept getting orders, and by the end of the year we actually had a backlog,” Kurt Robinson said. The company delivered around 10 R66s in 2010 after receiving certification in October.
“After the first of the year, we continued to get orders in, and to date, we’ve gotten over 100 orders since the beginning of the year,” he added. “And they’re not all for R66s—actually over 60 of those have been orders for the R44. And I think 18 for the R22. So we’re starting to see a pickup in orders worldwide.”
As Robinson moves into 2011 and beyond, the manufacturer is “not only trying to pick up production of the R66, but production of both the R22 and the R44,” Robinson explained.
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