Robinson Helicopter didn’t just evolve overnight. Frank Robinson never lost sight of his dream. Since he was a child his dream was to be able to build a career around the helicopter that he saw hovering in the sky- it was a picture of the great I. Sikorsky operating a VS-300 Prototype helicopter.
Frank Robinson’s fascination with the design of the helicopter prompted him to learn Mechanical Engineering in college. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering while, at the same time, getting his pilot’s license to fly airplanes. He continued to learn as much as he could about the design of the helicopter.
Working for airplane manufacturers that built helicopters in addition to airplanes, enabled Frank Robinson to gain experience in the construction of the helicopter. He accepted positions where he could continue to learn as much as possible so that, in the future, he could start up his own company. In this case, it was the vision of Robinson Helicopter that inspired him to not give up.
It was in the late 1960’s that he resigned from his position at Hughes Helicopter where he was involved in research and development. Frank Robinson’s dream was to build personal helicopters rather than the military helicopters that Hughes was building.
Robinson Helicopter was a home based business where Frank Robinson built parts for a 2 seat R22 prototype helicopter. He used his garage and his kitchen to draw up designs and plans for the R22. He built parts in his workshop while his new partner, C. K. LeFiell flew back and forth from his home in Hawaii to help. LeFiell was his go-to man for building the aircraft at the Torrance Airport.
In 1975 the R22 became a reality for Frank Robinson and his company Robinson Helicopter. Its test flights were flawless much to his amazement. After years of obtaining necessary certification, putting together a marketing plan, and hiring a pilot, the R-22 came available to the consumer whose dream was to own their own helicopter.