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Bell Helicopter facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Bell Helicopter is an American company that designs and produces military helicopters and tiltrotors. Its center is in Hurst, Texas, near Fort Worth. It has a branch in Quebec, Canada, which produces commercial rotorcrafts.


Bell Aircraft

The company was founded on July 10, 1935 as Bell Aircraft Corporation by Lawrence Dale Bell in Buffalo, New York. The company focused on the designing and building of fighter aircraft. Their first fighters were the XFM-1 Airacuda, a twin-engine fighter for attacking bombers, and the P-39 Airacobra. The P-59 Airacomet, the first American jet fighter, the P-63 Kingcobra, the successor to the P-39, and the Bell X-1 were also Bell products.

The Bell 47 is displayed at the MoMA

In 1941, Bell hired Arthur M. Young, a talented inventor, to provide expertise for helicopter research and development. It was the foundation for what Bell hoped would be a broader economic base for his company that was not dependent on government contracts. The Bell 30 was their first full-size helicopter (first flight December 29, 1942) and the Bell 47 became the first helicopter in the world rated by a civil aviation authority, becoming a civilian and military success.

Bell Helicopter

Textron purchased Bell Aerospace in 1960. Bell Aerospace was composed of three divisions of Bell Aircraft Corporation, including its helicopter division, which had become its only division still producing complete aircraft. The helicopter division was renamed Bell Helicopter Company and in a few years, with the success of the UH-1 during the Vietnam War, it had established itself as the largest division of Textron. In January 1976, Textron changed the name of the company again to Bell Helicopter Textron.

Bell Helicopter has a close association with AgustaWestland. The partnership dates back to separate manufacturing and technology agreements with Agusta (Bell 47 and Bell 206) and as a sublicence via Agusta with Westland (Bell 47). When the two European firms merged, the partnerships were retained, with the exception of the AB139, which is now known as the AW139. As of 2014, Bell and AW cooperate on the AW609 tiltrotor.

Bell intends to reduce employment by 760 in 2014 as fewer V-22s are made. A rapid prototyping center called XworX assists Bell's other divisions in improving development speed.

Product list

Bell 206B JetRanger III
Comparison of the Bell 212 (U.S. Navy HH-1N) and 412 (Mercy Air) at the Mojave Airport
Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 of the RAF at RIAT 2010 arp
Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 helicopter of the UK Defence Helicopter Flying School

Commercial helicopters

  • Bell 30
  • Bell 47
    • Bell 47J Ranger
  • Bell 204 – civilian version of UH-1
  • Bell 205 – civilian version of UH-1
  • Bell 206 – in production
  • Bell 210 – remanufactured, civilian version of UH-1H
  • Bell 212
  • Bell 214
  • Bell 214ST
  • Bell 222
  • Bell 230
  • Bell 400
  • Bell D-292
  • Bell 407 – in production
  • Bell 412 – in production
  • Bell 417 – model canceled in 2007
  • Bell 427
  • Bell 429 GlobalRanger – in production
  • Bell 430
  • Bell 525 Relentless – under development
  • Bell 505 Jet Ranger X – certified and in production.
  • Bell FCX-001 – concept, presented March 2017

Military helicopters

  • Bell H-12
  • Bell H-13 Sioux
    • Bell XH-13F
  • Bell XH-15
  • Bell HSL
  • Bell UH-1 Iroquois (or Huey)
    • Bell Huey family
    • Bell UH-1 Iroquois variants
  • Bell UH-1N Twin Huey
  • Bell YHO-4
  • Bell 207 Sioux Scout - experimental attack helicopter
  • Bell 533 - experimental Huey variant with increased performance
  • Bell AH-1 Cobra
  • Bell AH-1 SeaCobra/SuperCobra
  • Bell 309 KingCobra
  • YAH-63/Model 409 - competitor with the YAH-64 for Advanced Attack Helicopter program
  • Bell OH-58 Kiowa
  • H-1 upgrade program
  • Bell CH-146 Griffon
  • Bell ARH-70 Arapaho


CV-22 Osprey in flight
V-22 in flight
  • Bell XV-3
  • Bell XV-15
  • Bell V-247 Vigilant - currently in development
  • Bell V-280 Valor - currently in development, estimated first flight 2017
  • V-22 Osprey - with Boeing BDS
  • TR918 Eagle Eye UAV
  • Quad TiltRotor - with Boeing BDS

Projects produced by other companies

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