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RPM:: Many helicopter pilots are particularly fond of the helicopter that they learned to fly or first soloed in. Do you think that this has in any way helped to establish your company’s rep- utation or grow it? FR: That’s always the case, whether its airplanes or helicop- In many cases even boats or automobiles. What you learn


ters.


to operate or learn to fly in, you always have fond memories of and will very often buy that same type of aircraft in the future.


RPM:: What do you think Robinson Helicopter will have to do in the next 10 to 20 years to be as successful as you have been in the last 10 to 20 years? FR: Keeping it simple would be at the top of the list.


there?


RPM:: What’s second on the list? Or does the list stop FR:: It’s pretty much the same thing, but concentrating on


cost. We can’t forget that that is what has allowed us to become reasonably successful.


RPM:: You’re a pilot yourself and have been one for quite


some time. What was your most memorable flight? FR: My most memorable ones were the ones where things


didn’t go right and I had a number of those. I guess you would call them close calls.


RPM:: What about a memorable flight that didn’t involve a


close call? FR: One of the times I remember the best was when we


first came out with the R-22. I was able to take one and fly it all the way back to the state of Washington, to Whidbey Island where I grew up. up.


That was the same year that Mount St. Helens blew It was a memorable time and I got a kick out of being able


to do that.


RPM:: How hard was it to step away from the helicopter industry and the company you’ve made so successful? FR: It was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be.


Fortunately, all the people that are in the key positions had been with me for 25 years or so. I wasn’t turning the company over to a bunch of novices or anything. They were all the sharpest peo- ple and engineers that I had been able to find. I tried to indoc- trinate them into the same designs philosophies that I had found worked for me. All in all that’s been quite successful in most cases.


RPM:: Now that you’re retired and can look back at a 50 plus year career in the helicopter industry both with your own company and several others, what do you think your legacy in the helicopter world will be? FR: Well it will be based on the simplicity of design.


In


particular the R-22, because so many pilots and people in the industry will have started in it. ◆


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