To create a successful company, mold your product or service to fit the prevailing trend, without sacrificing quality or affordability. For almost fifty years, one company has followed this dictate to the letter. Frank Robinson’s family company, Robinson’s Helicopters, is an example of a business that prevails despite catering to a niche market. It proves that a narrow consumer focus is not incompatible with a robust corporate picture.
Robinson’s Helicopters, the family enterprise Frank Robinson started in 1973, began with a mandate to create a stellar vehicle. Creating a top-of-the-line helicopter with grade A stats in every department, including the price tag, was always job one. But for Robinson Helicopters to shine as a brand apart, Frank Robinson knew he had to do more. His superlative product line had to keep pace with the needs of his target customer over time.
Whirly-bird acquisition isn’t a mainstream activity. But it was even less so in the early 70s. Nevertheless, Robinson Helicopters, under Frank’s eagle eye, put out an initial model that appealed to early 70s owners. It even fit the needs of helicopter flying teachers. Over time, owning a helicopter became a bit less of an elitist hobby. When more buyers sought smaller choppers, Frank, always paying attention, was on it. When the market called for whirlybirds that could go higher and withstand the heat better, he was on that too.
Forty-plus years post-launch, Frank Robinson’s company has stayed the course. A global workforce includes 300 plus dealers and service providers. Product lines stay current with shifting customer needs and technological change with a sizeable budget allocation consistently geared towards research. A recently developed Robinson Helicopter design for an autopilot, meant for next gen helicopter usage, proves the point.
Statistics show the Robinson family company has produced more than 12000 of their metal birds to date. Their best-selling units are sought after by private aficionados, police units and news units. The company factory, located in Torrance, California, is also where flight tests and inspections are de rigueur. Widely popular pilot safety and helicopter maintenance classes are also offered.