What are the Maintenance Considerations for the Robinson R-44?

What is the Robinson R-44? It’s a four-seater helicopter that many experts hold in very high acclaim, with some even considering it as the best helicopter ever designed. It’s also a very affordable helicopter, and the running costs are pretty small too. Aside from that, Robinson helicopters are very stable and do not require much maintenance at all, especially compared to other similar helicopters.

Some of the positive features of the Robinson R-44 helicopters are it’s light weight although being heavier than previous models, high engine power, and very little maintenance. The only maintenance you have to do for the Robinson R-44 helicopter is a service check up every 100 hours, which is very remarkable considering that other helicopters practically require maintenance and service after every flight. Another important point to consider is safety, and the Robinson R-44 stacks up very well in this area too.

Many pilots have ranked the Robinson R-44 as an extremely reliable helicopter, and some have even mentioned that their helicopter has never broken down. But even if it does break down, you can get replacement parts for your helicopter within 24 hours in most cases due to the fast shipping speed of the company. There are also many mechanics who are qualified to perform repairs on Robinson helicopters in most cities so should you need repairs done you won’t have to travel hundreds of miles, which is the case with a lot of other helicopter brands.

According to Robinson’s latest price guide, a new R-44 helicopter costs $333,000, which is pretty cheap for personal helicopters, and one guy even said: “It’s the best bang for the buck.”

robinson r-44 maintenance

One point you will need to keep an eye on is to check the blades occasionally. The latest blade design is quite fragile and is very thin stainless steel. They’ve been reported to get damaged from a minor options like plastic bottles or even high grass. Another point to keep watch on is the small screws on the metal sheet around the doors because they have been reported by some to become dislodged. Also when landing, if it is a very windy day, it is recommended that you don’t leave the Robinson R-44 helicopter pointing in the direction of the wind because there is a chance the blades will push back and hit the tail boom. That’s something you would want to avoid.

The main maintenance comes at the 2200 hour point or 12-year point. At that point, you can send the helicopter back to the factory, and they will replace virtually all aspects of the helicopter, bringing it to a nearly new condition.

Consider the full list of the scheduled maintenance for the R-44:

Robinson R-44 Scheduled Maintenance

First 25 hours:

  • Change oil and filter and inspect oil suction screen and filter per Lycoming SB480E.
  • Check alternator belt tension per Lycoming Service Instruction  SI 1129.

Every 50 hours:

  • Inspect and service engine per Lycoming Operator’s Manual, SL 1080,
  • Change oil, oil filter, and inspect oil suction screen and removed filter per Lycoming SB480E.

First 100 hours

  • Drain and flush gearboxes per Sections 1.120 1.130.
  • Inspection: Check engine exhaust valve guide clearance per Lycoming SB388C.

Every 100 hours:

  • Inspect per Section 2.400. Inspect and service engine per Lycoming Operator’s Manual, SB366, S11G8GB, SI1 1298, and SB342E (I0-540 only).
  • As required, inspect and service TCM ignition components per TCM SB643B.

Every 300 hours:

  • Lubricate C181-3 bearing per Section 1.140.
  • Replace hydraulic filter per Section 1.170.
  • Inspect valves and check engine exhaust valve guide clearance per Lycoming SB301B, S8388C, and Operator’s Manual.

Every 500 hours:

  • Drain and flush gearboxes per Sections 1.120 1.130.
  • Clean gearbox chip detectors per Section 1.115. Verify magneto drive cushion pliability.
  • Service collective spring assembly (manual controls only) per Section 8.221.
  • As required, inspect and service TCM ignition components per TCM SB658 and SB663A.

Every 2200 hours:

  • Overhaul helicopter per Section 2.700.
  • See R44 2200 Hour Inspection


Every 4 months:

  • Change oil, oil filter, and inspect oil suction screen and removed filter per Lycoming SB480E.

Every 12 months:

  • Inspect per Section 2.400.
  • Clean gearbox chip detectors per Section 1.1 15.
  • Inspect emergency locator transmitter (ELT) per 14 CFR Part 91.207.
  • Inspect optional pop-out floats per Section 5.630.

Every 24 months:

  • Test and inspect transponder per 14 CFR Part 91.413.

Every 3 years:

  • Lubricate C181-3 bearing per Section ’1.140.
  • Inspect optional popout floats per Section 5.640.
  • Hydrostatic test pressure cylinder.
  • Every 4 years
  • Overhaul TCM magnetos per TCM 886438. Verify magneto drive cushion pliability.

Every 12 years

  • Perform 12-year inspection and limited overhaul per Section 2.600, or overhaul per Section 2.700.
  • See 12 Year Inspection

To receive expert Robinson R-44 Maintenance, Overhaul, or Repair Services please contact DXL Solutions. We will give you the exact timing to follow, whether it’s hourly, monthly, or yearly.

What are the uses of the Robinson R-44?

The Robinson R-44 fits into the class of light helicopters that has been around since 1992. It seats four and is based on the Robinson R22 which is a two seater. The helicopter is made by Robinson Helicopter Company. It features hydraulically assisted flight controls. Some of the uses of this Robinson model include:

Private Aviation

Have you ever just wanted to skip all traffic and fly to work? That’s what some people in China do. In the bustling cities of Shanghai and Beijing, for example, some Chinese citizens are opting to get around town in the Robinson R-44 rather than sit in traffic. Private aviation is booming in Asia, and more and more people are using helicopters for private transportation.

use of the Robinson R-44
PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – DECEMBER 31 The Robinson R44 Helicopter from Cana Fly in Punta Cana on December 31, 2013 The Robinson R44 is a four-seat light utility and trainer helicopter

Sight-Seeing Tours

Seeing the world from above is an amazing experience for the average person. In fact, just being in a helicopter is often a thrill in and of itself. That’s why the Robinson R-44 is the perfect helicopter for tourist companies. The fact that it fits four people and is lightweight makes it a good choice to fly over tourist hot spots throughout the world.

Helicopter Training

Pilot training schools often use the Robinson R-44 for helicopter pilot training. They choose the R44 over the R22 for one very simple reason – the Robinson R-44 has a fantastic safety record when you compare it to the earlier model. The R-44 is more expensive than the R22 and costs more to operate, but considering its track record the investment is worth it for many pilot training schools.

Military Operations

The Robinson R-44 is also used by some militaries around the world, including Estonia, Jordan, Lebanon, and The Dominican Republic. The fact that this helicopter is well made and doesn’t require constant maintenance makes this one of the most affordable investments for any military.

Our mechanics love working on the Robinson R-44. It’s a straightforward machine that follows logic and can often be fixed without running into problems with parts or anything else – except sometimes the rotor blades can present a challenge. However, we typically see minor problems when it comes to servicing this helicopter. What we see is issues with seatbelts, avionics issues, oil leaks, or other minor problems.

At DXL Solutions, we look forward to servicing your Robinson R-44 helicopter, whether for routine maintenance or another issue. We pride ourselves in getting our maintenance tasks done efficiently and quickly so you can get your helicopter up and fly again.

To schedule maintenance for your Robinson R-44, give us a call at 206-575-5107, and one of our friendly team members will get everything set up and ready to go.

History of the Robinson R-44 Helicopter

The Robinson R-44 has been called the best helicopter in the world for civilian and personal use and primary training purposes, and judging by its popularity and flight record, that’s probably true.

The R-44 was a logical evolution from the Robinson Helicopter Company’s highly successful R-22, which was a two passenger aircraft. The company determined that there was a sufficient demand for a four-seat version, and development of the R-44 was begun in 1986. The initial prototype was flown in the spring of 1992, and FAA certification was granted in 1992. The first purchase was delivered in 1993.

The Robinson R-44 has enjoyed high-popularity on the civilian market, and has also been used by police, military, news media, flight training, and other commercial operators.

In 2014, an R-44 earned the the world speed record for a piston-powered helicopter of 227 km/h. In 1997, pilot Jennifer Murray flew an R-44 on the first round-the-world flight in a helicopter made by a woman, accomplishing the feat in 97 days.

Robinson R-44 Specifications

The helicopter is classed as a light utility and training aircraft. It has dual flight controls, and is capable of carrying a pilot and three passengers, or a second pilot. It is powered by a Lycoming IO-540-AE1A5 flat, six-cylinder, fuel-injected engine producing 245 hp, rotating a two-blade main and tail rotor. It has a maximum speed of 150 mph, and a cruising speed of 130 mph. Maximum ceiling is 14,000 ft and range is approximately 350 mi. The R-44 has an empty weight of 1,450 lbs and a fully-loaded weight of 2,500 lbs, with a 800 lbs payload. The starting purchase price in 2011 was $425,000, with a total hourly operating cost of $190.

The Robinson R-44 has proven to be a very reliable and safe aircraft with a minimum of maintenance required for operations.

Robinson R-44 Versions

  • R-44 Astro – Original version, no longer in production.
  • R-44 Raven I – This was the Astro’s replacement, an upgrade featuring standard hydraulic controls and adjustable pedals, as well as some other improvements.
  • R-44 Raven II – Introduced the fuel-injected engine, a larger main rotor, aerodynamic tip caps, and optional fixed or pop-out floats for water operation.
  • R-44 Clipper I and II – Both versions come standard with utility floats, but fold-out floats are only available on the Clipper II.
  • R-44 Police – A Raven II specially outfitted for police work with TV and video cameras, searchlights, bubble doors, special comm gear, and many more features.
  • R-44 Newscopter – Billed as a digital-electronic news gathering version of a Raven II, comes with several types of camera systems and microwave transmission capability.
  • R-44 IFR – Fully equipped for IFR flight and training purposes.

The Robinson R-44 seems well-poised to remain one of the most versatile and useful helicopters within its price range available on the market today. DXL Solutions provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for the Robinson R-44, Robinson R-22, the UH1 Huey and UH-60 Blackhawk. Contact us for any needs.