I recently had the opportunity to go back to the Robinson Helicopter Company (RHC) factory for the pilot safety course. If you have never been, as a private pilot you are eligible to attend and I highly recommend going. Over the course you will go over safety, the POH, systems and other items as well as have the chance to fly with one of the factory pilots for an hour in your choice of the R22, R44, or R66(there is a cost involved).
So what was the hot topic this year? Rumors of a new version of the Robinson R44 coming down the line. The word on the street is RHC may be working on a training version of the R44 possibly calling it the R44 “Cadet“. The details of the new version are slow coming but here is what we have heard so far.
The “Cadet” will be in essence an R44 Raven I with only two seats. The two back seats will be removed and the back space used as a cargo area. In doing this, the engineers have been able to shave over 200 Lbs. off of the empty weight of the the aircraft. The aircraft will have no significant change to the exterior design of the fuselage or the engine, however it may be offered with the option of air conditioning unlike the Raven I.
No word on price point but look out for the new deign in the next 12 to 18 months.