Robinson Helicopter Company founder Frank Robinson passed away on Saturday at his home in Rolling Hills, California. He was 92 years old. In addition to founding the company, Robinson is known for designing and manufacturing the R22, R44 and R66 helicopter models. Over the course of his life, he received awards and honors including the Daniel Guggenheim Medal, Lifetime Aviation Engineering Award, Howard Hughes Memorial Award and the Doolittle Award.
“On November 12, 2022 Robinson Helicopter Company bid a final farewell to its founder, Frank Robinson,” the company said. “One of the most recognizable names in the helicopter industry, Frank Robinson was a pioneer, a man not driven by reward or accolades but by a vision that redefined the industry and forever changed general aviation.”
Robinson was born in 1930 in Carbonado, Washington. He held a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from the University of Washington and attended Wichita State University’s aeronautical engineering graduate school. After working for companies including Bell and Hughes, he founded Robinson Helicopter Company in 1973. The company, which has delivered over 13,000 helicopters to date, handed off its first production helicopter in October 1979. Robinson Helicopter Company, from which Robinson retired in 2010, is currently under the leadership of his son, Kurt.