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ing on its gyroplane project. Although he was only there for one year, it was long enough for Robinson to help Umbaugh get FAA certification for its gyroplane. After Umbaugh Aircraft ran into financial problems, Robinson moved on to the McCulloch Motor Company. At the time, McCulloch Motors was man- ufacturing drone aircraft engines for the military and it looked like the company would move into small hel- icopter production. However, the small helicopter program never progressed and after several years Frank Robinson left McCulloch Motors. Robinson’s next job was with Kaman Aircraft. At the time, Kaman was one of the largest helicopter manufacturers in the United States and had a reputation for running some cutting edge research and development programs. Frank Robinson had developed his own gyrodyne design, which he was attempting to patent. Charles Kaman, the founder of Kaman Aircraft, was interest- ed in producing Robinson’s gyrodyne and hired him onto the Kaman staff. Frank Robinson worked for Kaman for several years until it became apparent that the gyrodyne would not go into production. Unfortunately, there was not enough money to con- tinue with the project so Robinson left Kaman to work for Bell Helicopter. While working in research and development at Bell, Robinson gave a presentation on tail rotors at a helicopter conference. The presenta- tion caught the attention of the technical director at the Hughes Helicopter Company. At the time, Hughes was having tail rotor problems with the Hughes 500. Hughes Helicopter offered Robinson a job in the hopes of correcting this. In 1969, Robinson went to work for Hughes. Frank Robinson later successful- ly redesigned the tail rotor on the Hughes 500 leading him to acquire a reputation as a tail rotor expert (Biography, n.d.). Frank Robinson had been unable to convince any


of his previous employers to build a small, low cost helicopter. Most of the companies were interested in designing larger, more complex helicopters that could compete for military contracts. Robinson did not see much hope for the production of a small, simple, low cost helicopter at any of the existing helicopter manu- facturers. So at the age of 43, while raising three chil- dren, Frank Robinson left a good job at an established helicopter company to set out on his own and pursue his dream of designing and building a small helicop- ter. Armed with a solid engineering background and over 15 years of experience in the helicopter industry, Frank Robinson had prepared himself both academi- cally and practically for the challenge that lay ahead. His engineering education provided the basics that he


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