Robin DR400-180R Remorqueur

Robin DR400-180R Remorqueur (c/n 1786, OK-PSR), static display at Letiště Točná (Tocna Airport) open day, Prague, May 2024.

At the end of the 1950s, Pierre Robin and Jean Délémontez established Centre-Est Aéronautique, an aviation company with its seat in Darois, France. The first aircraft developed by the company was designated DR100 and was a re-development of Jodel D10 – four-seat tourist aeroplane, earlier designed by Délémontez and Joly for Jodel company.

In 1964, the DR100 was succeeded by DR200, the aeroplane that initiated the company´s new, successful family of light aircraft developed in Darois. It was then followed by DR300 that performed its first flight in 1970. In the same year, the company changed its name to Avions Pierre Robin.

Two years later, the French manufacturer introduced into the market its new aircraft, being a derivative of the DR300. It featured a wider cabin, new forward-sliding canopy, upgraded dashboard and redeveloped wings to increase the aircraft stability and reduce stalls.

Although being newly developed, the DR400 was the aircraft of very conservative design. The airframe was a wooden structure, covered with fabric. The aeroplane featured non-retractable, tricycle landing gear and – depending on the engine – was able to carry three or four passengers. An interesting fact is that the least-powered model was marketed as ´2+2´ aircraft, able to carry two adults and two children.

The family of DR400 aircraft includes several similar models that differ only in engine and its output. The number of horsepower generated by particular engine, usually made by Lycoming company, is mentioned in the second part of the type identification but, in addition, each model has also name of its own.

Therefore, the initial list of basic variants included DR400-180 Régent, DR400-125 Petit Prince, DR400-160 Chevalier, DR400-180R Remorqueur, DR400-140 Major and DR400-108 Dauphin 2+2 (English: Regent, Little Prince, Knight, Tug, Major and Dauphin, respectively).

The DR400-180R performed its maiden flight in November of 1972. The aircraft was intended for glider towing, which was reflected in its name. In 1974, the initial design was modified by adding an additional rear window and a firewall. Remorqueur is also one of only two aeroplanes in the DR400 family to feature a transparent top of the canopy (the other one is Petit Prince, with its canopy made of tinted plexiglass).

The family of DR400 aircraft was commercially successful, with more than 2,700 aeroplanes made until 2014, when it was succeeded by new development, Robin DR401.

In 1988, Avions Pierre Robin was acquired by Apex France. Manufacturing of the Robin aeroplanes was then continued under Avions Robin and Robin Aviation brands. In 2011, the name of the company was changed to Robin Aircraft.

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