Robinson Helicopter is set to unveil a two-seat R44 aimed at the training and utility markets in the first quarter of 2016, adding to speculation the Californian-based helicopter manufacturer is looking to end the production of its R22.
Named the “Cadet”, the R44 will retain the same basic airframe, rotor system and Lycoming O-540-F1B5 engine as the R44 Raven I, however with the rear seats removed and reconfigured to carry cargo.
A side view drawing of the Cadet shows its rear windows will be slimmer and will have no air vents in the rear doors.
Robinson says it will de-rate the Cadet’s engine power to 210 hp and reduce its maximum gross weight to 2,200lb to provide increased performance margins at high altitudes.
The Cadet will have a lower VNE of 110 kt and will come with a variety of optional equipment available including air conditioning, autopilot and avionics packages optimised for VFR or IFR training.
A newly designed engine muffler will also reduce the helicopter’s noise signature by more than three decibels lower than the current R44 Raven I.
Final flight testing for FAA certification was expected to be completed before the end of 2015.
The base price for the Cadet, said to be lower than the price of a R44 Raven I, will be announced prior to February’s Heli-Expo 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.