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ROTORCRAFT PIONEERS


FRANK


ROBINSON FOUNDER OF


ROBINSON HELICOPTERS


BY BRAD MCNALLY In the over sixty years since Igor


Sikorsky flew the first North American helicopter, helicopters have become larger and increasingly more complex. This increase in size, power and elec- tronics has come at an increased price for ownership and operation. While these advances have allowed some extraordi- nary military and rescue operations, this price has put flying a helicopter out of reach for many people. One man more than any other has stayed true to a sim- ple, low cost helicopter design and brought helicopter flight within reach not only for the flying public, but also for many public service entities. This man is Frank Robinson. In the past 50


years he has become one of the most pro- lific aeronautical engineers, test pilots and helicopter manufacturers in history. The Frank Robinson story is one of determination to succeed where others would not go and a steadfast resolve to keep it simple. Frank D. Robinson was born in 1930 on Whidbey Island, WA. Robinson was the youngest of four children. Growing up near the water, Frank Robinson became an avid mariner and fisherman who worked with the purse seiner fleet during their annual visit to Mutiny Bay. Robinson also learned to fish for salmon from his father, a coal miner who was often out of work due to the Great


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