It is not surprising that the Robinson R44 has become the best-selling helicopter in the world. Its $300,000 price is more affordable than the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The four-seat, 2,400-pound R44 is also one of the lightest helicopters on the market, which makes it relatively easy to operate—a significant consideration because many R44 owners pilot their own aircraft. And the helicopter’s safety record is among the best in the industry; its Lycoming 6-cylinder engine is less prone to failure than many other helicopter engines because it does not continually operate at full power while the helicopter is in the air.
The R44 is also less expensive to operate than most other helicopters. While cruising at 130 mph it consumes only 12 to 16 gallons of fuel per hour, making it less thirsty than the Phantom and less prome to traffic.
Robinson Helicopter Co., 310.539.0508, www.robinsonheli.com