The new Robin DR401 explained
Steven Bailey of Mistral Aviation is interviewed at Aero Friedrichshafen at the launch of the new Robin model. In this video he explains how the DR400 design has evolved into the DR401.
The Oratex wing covering has since been replaced by the Swiftwing, which comprises a 0·6 mm laminar on the upper surface of the wing, giving improved aerodynamics, a beautiful smooth surface and even better durability.
The Robin DR401: The features in flight
Join us for a short flight in the Robin DR401 and see some of the features of the aeroplane that combine to make it a superior choice.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Carpentry
Wood has key advantages over metal and composites: high strength to mass ratio, corrosion free, stable under UV light, no fatigue life, and very good absorption of sound and mechanical vibrations.
Six different woods and 12 varieties of ply are used in defined parts of the Robin aerostructure; each type has specific characteristics that make it suitable for a particular application.
After inspection, measurement of hardness and drying, the wood is cut, then transferred through the building to be sanded, planed, shaped and glued. The precise joins fixed with Cascophen G-1131 glue are stronger than the wood itself. Cascophen is thermoset, impervious to high temperatures and stable down to -40°C, making the aircraft suitable for use almost anywhere in the world.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Metalworking
Whilst wood is the star material of the Robin, the aeroplane would not reach the sky without metal!
Cutting, milling, drilling, bending and welding; all the metal components of the aircraft from instrument panel to undercarriage, from fuel tanks to exhaust systems, are fabricated in the Robin metalwork shop.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Painting
Painting protects the structure and provides a beautiful, durable finish.
Meticulous surface preparation and patience and care in application means that the process can take up to 250 hours to complete.
In addition to the range of standard designs, the client can specify a fully customised layout if desired.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Saddlery
Seatings and interior trim are the saddlers remit.
Working with fabrics or leather, Robin's saddler crafts a luxurious interior to the client's specification.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Assembly
The assembly hall is where all the parts finally come together; fuselage, engine, interior and avionics; a multitude of individual skills at work.
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Preflight
Preflighting the Robin is a straightforward process that takes only a few minutes.
Except where wing-root tanks are fitted, there are only a maximum of three fuel drains and the vertical placement of the filler caps makes water ingress extremely unlikely; but we always check to be sure!
Handcrafting the Robin DR401: The Flight
Every aircraft goes through a series of test flights to check all its systems and flight characteristics. Only after the test pilots are completely satisfied will the aircraft be released to service.
The Robin DR401: Darois to Elstree
A delivery flight from the workshops at Darois to Elstree Aerodrome.
The next day, after the ARC application has been filed, a new aeroplane can be delivered to the client's airfield to await its C of A.
The Robin DR401: Loading Bicycles
The luggage compartment is about 334 litres, allowing two Brompton bicycles and several bags to be loaded simultaneously. Also, the entire rear seat is easily removable to reveal a huge additional loading area if needed.
We have a long seat post on one of our Bromptons, so we prefer to replace the long post with a cut-down post to lock the frame for loading and unloading.
Robin DR401 to Brimpton, EGLP
Brimpton is a neat rural grass field in West Berkshire, with an excellent pub / restaurant (The Hind's Head) about 0·8 miles away.
Brimpton is within the Aldermaston restricted area R101, so be sure to get prior permission before landing there.
Robin DR401 to Abergavenny
Abergavenny is a friendly field located in lovely countryside just inside the south-east Welsh border.
An excellent pub / restaurant (The Hardwick) is adjacent to the north end of the runway.
Be aware of the line of trees on the western edge of the runway and the requirement to avoid the house to the south. Circuits are to the west.
Robin DR401 to Wadswick Farm
A very well maintained grass field in Wiltshire with on-site restaurant and country store.
Residents warn of the possibility of wind shear if the wind is not aligned with the runway.
Robin DR401 to Weybourne
Weybourne is famous for being the smallest RAF airfield of WW II and the home to the Muckleburgh Military Collection.
It seems to be mostly used by microlights and STOL aircraft. It is comfortably within the capabilities of the DR401 155CDI with appropriate care.
Robin DR401 to Wallis International
A few miles north-east of Peterborough Connington, the grass field of Wallis is just across the road from the excellent Dog in a Doublet pub / restaurant.
There are trees at the western threshold and bumps at the western end of the runway.
Robin DR401 to Great Oakley
An immaculate grass field with two runways near the east Essex coast.
Tight approaches and several noise sensitive areas nearby.
A pleasant three quarter of a mile walk along the farm track and then a pavement brings you to the Maybush Inn, a traditional 'pub' with a friendly welcome, good food and seating inside and outside.
There is a gate at the south end of the farm track. If this is locked, just call Tim Spurge, the amiable airfield operator, and he will unlock it remotely (07770 880145 / 01255 880045).
West Tisted Airfield
A lovely grass airfield in beautiful East Hampshire countryside with the Angel Hotel and Restaurant a 1·5 mile walk away..
Aero Friedrichshafen 2022
A round trip to Aero Friedrichshafen taking in Elstree, Calais, Darois, Friedrichshafen, Reims Prunay, and Le Touquet.
Aero Friedrichshafen returned in April 2022 after a two-year break due to COVID. We flew there in our Robin DR401 155CDI to support Robin Aircraft at the exhibition.
This video is the entire journey compressed into 3 minutes and 20 seconds and includes a walk around the Robin Aircraft exhibition stand.
Calais-Mark airport, LFAC
We often enter and exit France via Calais-Mark airport in our Robin DR401 155CDI. The landing fee is low (€10 in June 2022), there is a good restaurant, and the airport is a particularly useful option when there are adverse crosswinds at Le Touquet.
The forms for Customs and Immigration (2 hours prior notice required) are at: http://www.aeroport.capcalaisis.fr/customs-flight-forecast/
Le Touquet airport, LFAT
Le Touquet is another popular gateway to France. More expensive than Calais (€36 for our 1,100 kg Robin DR401 in October 2022) it does have the attractions of a very good restaurant on site and the town and beaches of Le Touquet ville nearby.
Even if you are only there for la douane, the runway direction may favour the use of Le Touquet rather than Calais, depending on the wind.
A flight notification must be sent to Customs and Immigration two hours prior to arrival at: [email protected]
Include the aircraft type and registration, the pilot's name, the names and passport numbers of all on board, origin and destination, and your expected arrival time.
The Robin Aircraft fly'in 08.10.2022
Robin Aircraft held a fly'in on 8th October 2022, with factory tours, demonstration flights and a taste of burgundy cuisine for lunch.
Garmin were there to demonstrate the avionics available for the Robin DR401, and Robin Aircraft's designers and engineers were on hand to answer technical questions about the Robin DR401.
Eric Vazeille, a world champion aerobatic pilot, gave a stunning aerobatic display in the CAP 222.
Dieppe airfield, LFAB
Dieppe airfield has immaculate runways (820 metres of tarmac and 650 metres of grass) and taxiways, secure parking and friendly folk. There is no passport control so it is necessary to travel via one of the ports of entry such as Le Touquet,, Le Havre and Deauville being the closest. The airfield is a short taxi ride away from the port of Dieppe, which is well worth a visit for a short break.
The Chateau was founded in 1188, not in the 10th century mentioned in the video, destroyed in 1195 and rebuilt in the 14th century. It is now home to the Dieppe museum.
Tower Farm airfield
A 596 metre grass strip in Northamptonshire on the edge of Wollaston with a good pub restaurant about three quarters of a mile in the village away for lunch. The Nags Head has a wide-ranging menu that should satisfy most tastes.
The runway is a bit bumpy and there is an upslope from the 28 threshold to near the mid-point so, combined with the grass and depending on its length, that may significantly impact your task-off performance.
Abbots Bromley airfield
Abbots Bromley airfield in Staffordshire is one of the gems of general aviation in England. There is smooth grass, quiet lanes and several hostelries within easy walking distance: The High Ash Farm Shop, the Bagot Arms (www.bagotarms.com), the Crown and the tea room next door ([email protected]) all being less than a mile away. The Coach and Horses (www.thecoachandhorsesabbotsbromley.com) is a quarter of a mile on from The Crown.
This video shows us landing and taking off on runway 22 in our Robin Aircraft DR401 155CDI at two different times of year, illustrating the different appearance of the runway in August and October.
All of our videos can be viewed on YouTube