The annual factory production review has been released by GAMA, and confirms the Robinson R44 remains the dominant piston-engined helicopter type in the world. However, looking at the detailed numbers, it confirms that French manufacturer Helicoptères Guimbal produced more of their G2 Cabri model in 2015 than Robinson produced R22s. Guimbal produced 44 Cabris, and are expecting to reach at least 50 this year with production at one per week and work commencing on their new and much larger factory, which has now got approval from all the necessary organisations.
Robinson produced 34 R22 Beta IIs in 2015, and looking back to the years 2014 back to 2010 (in that order), produced 42, 42, 40, 56 and 40. It is clear that Guimbal now has the upper hand on two-seater production numbers, but it would be unfair if we did not acknowledge the huge impact that R22 has had on the private pilot and training markets with over 4,700 now built. The Cabri has significantly different technologies – particularly involving composites – and brings other niceties such as remote locking like a car.
While the R22 is the fair comparison model to the Cabri, the Californian OEM is launching the R44 Cadet, a two-seat version of their popular 4-seat R44.
For completeness, Enstrom produced no F28F models at all, and just five 280FX aircraft.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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