R44This Robinson R44, enjoying a brief moment in the sun on an otherwise dreary, windy, very chilly day in Commerce Township, Michigan, is a business tool that puts commercial real estate developer Randy Thomas in the sky, where he’s not just above, but ahead of, his competition.

Thomas, the president and CEO of Insite Commercial, explains, “We use it for showing new tenants the market overall.… They can see the density of homes, traffic patterns, and where the new development is going.”

His Robinson is no hangar queen, with Insite putting about 200 hours on the Hobbs meter every year. Nor is the flying all business. “A large part [of our flying] is donating rides to charities.”

This isn’t his first aircraft, either—this R44 replaced an earlier one, which followed more than one R22 over the course of eight years. “Soon, we’ll have an R66,” he crows.


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Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett worked for McDonnell Douglas Helicopter/Boeing for a decade, then in 1999 cofounded an aerospace-only marketing agency. With nearly 30 years of photography and design experience serving the aerospace and defense industries, he founded AeroMark Images to shoot and write for both industry and media.

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