The Robinson R44 Astro is a single-engined light utility helicopter for up to 1 crew and 3
passengers, powered by a Lycoming O-540-F1B5 engine with carburettor. The Robinson R44 is built by the Robinson Helicopter Company in Torrance, California.
Development of the Model R44 began in 1985. The first prototype flew on 31 March 1990 and the second
in January 1991. Sales efforts got under way in March 1992 at a base price of 235.000 US-Dollars.
FAA Type Certification for the R44 Astro was achieved on 10 December 1992, and the first Robinson R44 Astro was delivered in February 1993. In 2000,
the R44 Astro was replaced as the main production model by the R44 Raven with adjustable pedals and standard hydraulic controls.
Today the four-seat Model R44 is the world's most popular helicopter of which over 6500 are delivered to customers all over the world. The
ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the R44 Astro helicopters is R44.
On 2 October 1996, the 1996-built Robinson R-44 Astro s/n 0284 was registered G-BWWR with Sloane Helicopters, Sywell. On 7 May 1998, registration G-BWWR was
cancelled as exported to Belgium. On 18 May 1998, the 1996-built Robinson helicopter was registered OO-EGJ with EG Heliservice as a Robinson R-44 Raven I.
In 2004, the OO-EGJ was transferred to Heli Promotions. On 4 August 2006, regstration OO-EGJ was cancelled as exported to the USA. On 8 August 2006, the
Robinson R-44 was registered N443DC with Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc. Trustee, Suffolk, UK.
On 1 August 2003, Robinson R-44 Astro OO-EGJ was seen
in service with EG Heliservice at Mechelen-Walem heliport in Belgium. Mechelen-Walem heliport was the location where Air Technology Belgium started as a
helicopter maintenance company in 1993. The heliport was closed at the end of 2006, when ATB moved to its new facility at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport.