Factory tours can give an insider perspective. The Robinson Helicopter Factory, founded in Torrance in 1973, gives incredible free tours of its larger-than-life facility, which each week builds 10 helicopters from the ground up. Spread throughout three massive hangers, Robinson employees more than 1,200 workers and is the world's leading manufacturer of civil-use helicopters. After donning protective eye goggles, visitors are led through the gigantic, brightly lit plant and shown firsthand exactly how much work goes into building these whirlybirds. It's fascinating to see the workers busily buzzing around, constructing these machines, plasma-cutting the lightweight aluminum with precise specifications. The hourlong tour, held by appointment on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, ends with cool photo ops inside fully finished helicopters.

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