The Robinson R22 is one of the world's most economical helicopters and a favorite of flight schools and training facilities worldwide. With a MSRP of around $200,000, dealers will often give a discount of 7-9% off list price. Paying close to $4 per gallon for 100LL and budgeting realistic amounts for maintenance and the 2200-hour overhaul, the direct operating cost of an R22 is approximately $100 per hour.
Robinson helicopters are remarkably reliable and maintenance-free. The majority of accidents are due to pilot error, and a further increase in constructional safety would be quite difficult to realize at the same cost. Many private heli pilots consider the Robbie R22 and R44 to be the best light helicopters in the world in their price range.
If you want to buy a Robbie, there are a number of things to look out for. General helicopter purchase guidelines are more or less self-explaining and include:
- a regular maintenance history with checkups
- damage and repair history
- factory overhaul?
- corrosion inspections?
- was the heli mainly parked in hangars or outside?
Robinson helicopter specific issues include some of the following:
- main rotor blade erosion on S/N 0002 through 4100 (Service Bulletin 96)
- main rotor blade skin debonding
- lower actuator bearing assembly (Service Bulletin 95)
- stainless steel antenna tips have proven to be problematic and should no longer be used (Service Bulletin 93)
- tail rotor pedal clips should have been replaced with locking pins (Service Bulletin 93)
- main rotor teeters should have been strengthened (Service Bulletin 78)
- fuel tank vents should have been upgraded for S/N 0002 through 1451
For a large selection of Robinson helicopters, sometimes far below list price even despite low engine hours, you can check out http://www.seizedaircraft.com which features nationwide listings of auctioned helicopters and aircraft.
There are more issues and service notes to pay attention to, which can be found at Robinson Heli's website.