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SUPERYACHT #9
Summer 2006

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Article by
Stefano Ruia


ROBINSON R 44 II

Many of our readers will certainly have appreciated the convenience of using a helicopter. Its greatest merit of course, is to allow quick moves regardless of traffic on the roads. This advantage is more apparent in the Rotor Wing ( as this fascinating aircraft is technically known) far more so than in the Fixed Wing ( aeroplanes). In fact, even a small aeroplane such as an ultra light in any case requires a good patch of space to locate a runway for both take off and landing. To get to the airport or airstrip one still needs to use road transport. Whereas a heliport to leave from, can easily be placed on company premises or even in one's back garden, suitable precautions taken and official permission obtained. A similar advantage is enjoyed on arrival where the landing area may be much nearer the final destination. For example even the smallest of islands may be reached by helicopter and also some of the nicest marinas.

Having a super yacht of the right sort of size would even allow for an on board heliport perhaps making a dream come true: leave the house or the office and "land" directly on board! As we believe this is the solution of the future ( also because of the evolution of our car market), starting from this issue, Superyacht is going to dedicate a Column to these wonderful "dragonflies" of the air. We must begin by exploding a myth: the objection which is often met on the subject of helicopters, is that they cost too much to buy and to run. We have therefore chosen an economical four seat helicopter for our purpose: the Robinson R44. Economical, certainly doesn't mean "cheap": the only difference between this aircraft and its more luxurious competitors lies in the use of a piston engine as opposed to the turbine variety. This way however, purchase and running costs are practically halved. A latest generation Robinson R44 (Raven II) costs less than 400,000.00 Euros and the running costs (including insurance, overhauls, fuel, inspections, spares, etc.) are not dissimilar to those of a large car: less than 1,50 euros per kilometre. It will carry 370 Kilos ( four passengers plus their luggage) at a cruising speed of 220 Km/h, and an a range of 650 Kilometres (350 nautical miles).

The Robinson R44 Raven I is one of the more widespread helicopters in the world (there are already more than sixty flying in Italy alone). This model comes with floats for landing on water and takes the name of Clipper I. The more recent R44 Raven II enjoys better performance numbers, thanks to the Lycoming IO-540 of 300HP esacylindrical injection engine, downgraded to 245HP (for a maximum of 5') - 205HP (as constant power output). The Raven II is also sold with floats in its Clipper II version. Furthermore there are special versions built for the police force (Police Copter) and for film crews (Newscopter).

A very pleasant alternative to blocked motorways, toll queues, narrowing lanes due to road works and ... No speed traps !!