The Robinson R44 was the top selling helicopter in 1998 with 134 deliveries. The two-seat R22 was second with 117 units produced, bringing Robinson total production of 251 new helicopters last year.
Sales have been brisk in 1999 so far. Robinson since January 1 has received deposits for 38 new R44s and 25 new R22s.
An additional 20 orders have been received for refurbished R22s. These factory overhauled aircraft are popular with first-time buyers and come with full factory warranties.
Two helicopters on display at Heli Expo, a new R22 Beta II and an R22 Astro, were sold at the end of the show on Tuesday. Sky Helicopters of Dallas will take delivery at the show's conclusion. Both aircraft were flown in from the Robinson factory in Torrance, California.
Sky Helicopters has purchased Robinson helicopters on display at previous Heli Expos. They purchased the R22 and R44 on display in Dallas at Heli Expo '96 and the two same models on display at Heli Expo '98 in Anaheim, California.
Helicopter Association International chairman Jim Cheatham piloted a Robinson R44 from his home in Salinas, California, to the Heli Expo this week. He took delivery of the new R44 at the Robinson southern California factory, flew up the coastline to Salinas, and provided transition training to Dan Haynes of Scenic Helicopter Tours, who owned the R44.
Cheatham's company, Verticare, is a Robinson R22 and R44 dealer and service center. Cheatham has more than 17,000 hours logged in helicopters, including more than 3,000 in the R22 and 350 hours in the R44.