A Quantitative Analysis of the Robinson R44 Performance Characteristics
Holzman, Jon Carroll
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The Robinson R44 is the most prolific civil helicopter in the world with over 6,000 delivered to customers since 1992. Approved for normal category flight by the FAA through 14 CFR Parts 21 and 27, the accompanying Pilot's Operating Handbook includes all performance material required under the same. Practical planning materials, such as cruise charts and accompanying fuel flow rates for various operational weights and density altitudes, however, are absent. This leaves a large gap in flight planning resources needed for an airframe which is currently being used in a broad range of demanding civil capacities to include offshore oil support, aerial application, and medical services in austere environments. Operators must rely upon unpublished sources and rules of thumb for important flight planning information such as fuel consumption and endurance. A test program was initiated in order to analyze and present level performance data across multiple weights and density altitudes as part of a feasibility study while adhering strictly to data collection and reduction methods outlined in the US Navy Test Pilot School Performance Flight Test Manual. The results were presented in the form of practically formatted cruise charts that could be used to better inform pilots during the flight planning process of optimal speeds and power settings across multiple operating weights and altitudes.