FLYING Magazine

There is hardly any helicopter pilot out there who hasn’t spent time behind the stick of a Robinson R44. The FAA has approved the new empennage design for R44 aircraft which includes a symmetric horizontal stabilizer and tail cone.

The design is now standard on all newly manufactured R44 helicopters registered with the FAA. It follows on the heels of the FAA’s prior approval of the same configuration for the Robinson R66 Turbine in September 2023.

The Robinson R44 was developed in the early 1990s and today is flown all over the world.

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According to Robinson, the new empennage design provides “enhanced handling characteristics during high-speed flight.”

“Robinson continues to invest in engineering enhancements that make our aircraft more accessible and easier to fly,” said Kurt Robinson, president of Robinson Helicopter Company. “Our aim is to deliver unrivaled safety and reliability so pilots can accomplish their mission with confidence.”

For the R44s in the field, Robinson Helicopter Company also offers the KI-285-2 retrofit kit, originally priced at $7,050, available at a discounted rate of $3,600 until the end of December 2024.

The kit can be purchased through a Robinson Dealer or Service Center, or by calling Robinson Helicopter customer service. According to the company, “The retrofit kit allows for the installation of the new symmetrical stabilizer on the existing tailcones in the field without the need for a complete tail cone replacement.”

Robinson Helicopter Company is also working with civil airworthiness authorities around the globe to secure foreign validations for this empennage configuration. The company noted, “After these regulatory approvals are obtained, foreign-registered R44 helicopters will be delivered with the new empennage as standard.”

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