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SUPERYACHT #13
Summer 2007

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 R22 BETA
ALMOST A MICRO-LITE

Robinson R22 Beta We are back on the Robinson subject, i.e. the most economical and most sold helicopters in the world (thanks to the preference of four stroke combustion engines over turbine ones). In addition to the R44 with which we opened this review, the U.S. manufacturer now also produces the smaller R22. "Smaller" is very much the operative word as it is a straight two-seater (including pilot). This limitation is greatly superseded by the very low running costs which easily make it a favoured object amongst the modern American and Australian cowboys who use it freely to push the herds in the right direction. It therefore seems that the lack of seating space is really of no consequence as some 3600 examples have been sold in over 60 countries in the world. The initial price tag (close to 200.000 euros for the standard version) probably will have also contributed to its popularity together with the low operative costs. It should suffice to imagine that between two 100 hour services, checking the oil level is all that is required. Nonetheless, there are over 250 Robinson Service centres located around the world. This small helicopter, undoubtedly part of the "entry level" bracket, is only slightly larger than a micro-lite but offers decidedly much higher levels of technology. The "Governor", for example, is just one of the standard pieces of equipment (an automatic system which fixes and varies the engine revs. with the pitch of the main rotor blades), an auxiliary feed system is another as is the automatic interphone system, etc., all this is achieved whilst still managing to keep weight on take off down to 615 Kilos (385 empty). The dimensions are naturally somewhat curtailed: maximum length is 6.5 metres (8.8m. including rotors). Performance is also quite impressive: cruising speed is set at 180 kph with a consumption of between 27 and 37 litres/hour. Given the fact that the main tank holds 80 litres and the auxiliary provides a further 40, a maximum autonomy of 3 to 4 hours is attained giving a range of between 3 to 400 nautical miles. All this is thanks to a four cylinder aircraft engine with Lyoming IO- 360 injection, downsized to 131 HP at 2650 rpm. The seats are very comfortable and the cockpit provides great visibility to both crew members. The circular controls include a central rudder placed between the seats on a "T" bracket which is removable from the passenger side to favour access. Thanks to the vertical extension epitomising the Robinsons, the rotation blades are at 2.7 metres from ground level to avoid any problem while boarding. If you have never owned a helicopter and you wish to embark on this adventure to decide if piloting is fun, this is what you need.

For further information please contact www.robinsonheli.com.