The Robinson R44 has been chosen more often than any other helicopter for private charters brokered by Air Charter Global. In this article we review what makes the R44 such a popular choice compared to other aircraft and give our thoughts on how it will perform in the future.
The R44 is an incredibly versatile four-seat light helicopter produced by the American based Robinson Helicopter Company. An evolution and technological progression from the company's two-seat Robinson R22, the R44 features hydraulically assisted flight controls and was first flown on 31st March 1990. It received FAA certification in December 1992, with the first delivery in February 1993.
What makes the Robinson R44 so popular?
As it is a light helicopter it is a considerably cost effective option for small groups of people looking to travel over short to medium distances. Its small size and excellent manoeuvrability also tops it as the most suitable helicopter for landing at venues such as stately homes set within sparsely populated areas of the country. Because of this we believe it has been viewed as a perfect choice for Wedding Charters and Sports Events Charters.
It is estimated that there are over 415 G-registered Robinson models in the UK and it was reported that in 2013 a further 523 were sold worldwide making it a relatively available choice for travellers regardless of their pick up point and destination.
How does it fare against other helicopters?
When taking in to account all private helicopter charter requests received during 2014 the Robinson R44 was the chosen aircraft for 80% of confirmed charters. It was also selected for all charter requests we received for the purpose of travelling to/from a wedding venue.
One of the reasons our customers gave for not choosing the R44 was due to the legal requirements for landing at particular venues. While the R44 can be a cost effective option for private helicopter hire it unfortunately doesn't allow access to all sites because it only has one engine. This is particularly prevalent when landing in a built up area where a twin engine is legally required.
Despite this the Robinson R44 does compete on many levels in comparison to the second and third most popular helicopter of 2014, the Bell 206 and the Augusta Westland 109.
|Robinson R44||Bell 206||Augusta 109|
|Range:||644 km||600 km||948 km|
|Cruise Speed:||117 Knots||112 kts||154 kts|
|Baggage Volume:||38.0 cu ft.||16.0 cu ft.||33.5 cu ft.|
|Cabin Length:||4.2 feet||5.0 feet||6.9 feet|
|Cabin Width:||3.9 feet||3.9 feet||5.3 feet|
|Cabin Height:||3.5 feet||4.2 feet||4.2 feet|
Can it maintain the top spot?
Overall, we at Air Charter Global think that Robinson have perfected their product for this type of travel market. With a great cost per hour rate, excellent cabin and baggage capacities and superb manoeuvrability to land at almost all rural sites, this helicopter is an exceptional choice for small trips or if you want to add a little extra to your wedding day.
Provided you choose your venue wisely the R44 will likely provide you with everything you need whether you plan to travel today or in the foreseeable future!