Robinson Helicopter piston-powered rotorcraft has undergone a significant change with installing an engine monitoring unit (EMU). It is a project that has been progressing since 2014.
The family-owned helicopter manufacturing company has been on top of the game in designing and making piston-powered helicopters. The Torrance California-based firm has dealt with piston-powered helicopters since the 1970s. Frank Robinson, an aeronautical engineer, founded his company in 1973 with a vision of producing high-quality, reliable, and cost-effective helicopters. His first aircraft was a two-place piston-powered R22 that first flew in 1979. It was a successful copter for many years.
In 1992, the company made a more power 4-place R44 and an R44 Raven II with a fuel-injected engine in 2002. Frank Robinson, now 91, retired in 2010 after airworthiness certification of turbine engine R66, and His son Kurt took over as President and Chairman.
For all the years of its existence, Robinson Helicopter places much emphasis on research, development, improvement, and new technology. EMU was already on R66 but required switching over the steam gauges and all instruments on R22 and R44 for them to provide digital information. Kurt Robinson explains that the installation of EMU to the models makes them different from the older models even when they look the same. He said it is not just about saying how great it is, but it makes someone realize that all instruments and everything needs changing.
The new EMU system monitors many parameters, including all these:
- Engine speed
- Rotor speed
- Cylinder head temperature
- Oil temperature
- Manifold pressure
- Outside air temperature
Apart from monitoring, it also records the data. Robinson said that “a mechanic doing a check will see any exceedance and even its extent.” If a mechanic notices an over speed, he will see the extent it was bad. The company places much emphasis on safety and is an International Helicopter Safety Team.
Kurt thinks the engine monitoring unit will help in long-term maintenance. The purpose of adding new items on Robinson Helicopter R22 and 44, according to the company President is to improve the reliability of the aircraft without increasing much cost to the buyers.