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Smith named CEO of Robinson Helicopter

February 27, 2024  By Helicopters Staff

David Smith (left) and Kurt Robinson celebrate the leadership transition for Robinson Helicopter, its third in 50 years. (Photo: Robinson Helicopter)

David Smith becomes President and CEO of Robinson Helicopter Company effective immediately, succeeding Kurt Robinson, who will remain on the board of directors for the privately-owned company. Smith most recently served as Robinson Helicopter’s vice president of operations.

The last leadership transition at Robinson Helicopter occurred in 2010 when founder Frank Robinson retired and Kurt Robinson was named president and CEO by the board of directors. Smith becomes only the third person to lead the aviation company over its 50-year history.

“Watching and helping our company grow from our living room to become a global leader in the helicopter industry is a fantastic lifetime achievement, and I am incredibly proud of my 40-year career with the company,” said Kurt Robinson. “Moving forward, RHC requires a committed, strong leader who shares our company values, and we’ve found that leader in David Smith.”

Smith joined Robinson Helicopter in early 2023 as vice president of operations and has nearly two decades of experience in aviation and the rotorcraft sector. The majority of his career was spent at Bell Textron in leadership roles across engineering, serving as a program director for product developments and as vice president of operations modernization.


Smith also led TRU Simulation + Training Inc., an affiliate of Textron Aviation, delivering pilot training solutions, including full-flight simulators and flight training devices for business aviation, rotorcraft, commercial air transport, and military markets.

“Leading Robinson Helicopter Company is an extraordinary privilege. With a 50-year legacy of success, I am honoured to lead the company into the next 50 years of vertical flight,” said Smith. “I look forward to working with the more than 400 service centres and dealers and the more than 1100 employees of RHC as we pursue new products, markets, partnerships, and technologies.”



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