|Bell 206 |
JetRanger / LongRanger
|A LAPD Bell 206 JetRanger|
|Role||Multipurpose Utility helicopter|
|Manufacturer||Bell Helicopter Textron|
|First flight||December 8, 1962 (206)|
10 January 1966 (206A)
US$900K to $1.2M
|Developed from||Bell YOH-4|
|Variants||OH-58 Kiowa |
Panha Shabaviz 2061
|Developed into||Bell 407|
The Bell 206 is a family of two-bladed, single- or twin-engine helicopters, manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Mirabel, Quebec plant. Originally developed as the Bell YOH-4 for the United States Army's Light Observation Helicopter program, the 206 failed to be selected. Bell redesigned the airframe and successfully marketed the aircraft commercially as the five-place Bell 206A JetRanger. The new design was eventually selected by the Army as the OH-58 Kiowa. Bell also developed a seven-place LongRanger, which was later offered with a twin-engine option as the TwinRanger, while Tridair Helicopters offers a similar conversion of the LongRanger called the Gemini ST. The ICAO-assigned model designation "B06" is used on flight plans for the JetRanger and LongRanger, and the designation "B06T" is used for the twin-engine TwinRangers.
Development[edit | edit source]
On October 14, 1960, the United States Navy solicited response from 25 aircraft manufacturers to a request for proposals (RFP) on behalf of the Army for the Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). Bell entered the competition along with 12 other manufacturers, including Hiller Aircraft and Hughes Tool Co., Aircraft Division. Bell submitted the D-250 design, which would be designated as the YHO-4. On May 19, 1961, Bell and Hiller were announced as winners of the design competition.
Bell developed the D-250 design into the Bell 206 aircraft, redesignated as YOH-4A in 1962, and produced five prototype aircraft for the Army's test and evaluation phase. The first prototype flew on December 8, 1962. The YOH-4A also became known as the Ugly Duckling in comparison to the other contending aircraft. Following a flyoff of the Bell, Hughes and Fairchild-Hiller prototypes, the Hughes OH-6 was selected in May 1965.
When the YOH-4A was eliminated by the Army, Bell went about solving the problem of marketing the aircraft. In addition to the image problem, the helicopter lacked cargo space and only provided cramped quarters for the planned three passengers in the back. The solution was a fuselage redesigned to be more sleek and aesthetically appealing, adding 16 cubic feet (0.45 m3) of cargo space in the process. A Bell executive contributed to this redesign by drawing on a sketch two lines extending the fuselage to where it meets the tail. The redesigned aircraft was designated as the Bell 206A, and Bell President Edwin J. Ducayet named it the JetRanger denoting an evolution from the popular Model 47J Ranger.
206L LongRanger[edit | edit source]
The 206L LongRanger is a stretched variant with seating for seven (the LongRanger, stretched a total of 30 inches (760 mm), adds two rear-facing seats in between the front and rear seats). Since their first delivery in 1975, Bell has produced more than 1,700 Ls across all variant types. In 1981 a military version was released, the 206L "TexasRanger". The original 206L utilized an Allison 250-C20B engine, and a series of model upgrades replaced this engine with more powerful versions; the 206L-1 used a 250-C28, and the 206L-3 and 206L-4 used the 250-C30P with 490 shaft horsepower and included twin turbine engines.[Clarification needed]
In 2007, Bell announced an upgrade program for the 206L-1 and 206L-3 which is designed to modify the aircraft to the 206L-4 configuration; modified aircraft are designated 206L-1+ and 206L-3+. Modifications include strengthened airframe structural components (including a new tailboom), improved transmission, upgraded engine for the L-1, all of which result in a max gross weight increase of 300 pounds and increased performance.
On January 24, 2008, Bell Helicopter announced plans to terminate production of the Bell 206B-3 model after current order commitments were fulfilled in 2010. In 2011, used 206B-3s sell for approximately up to $1.4 million depending upon the equipment and configuration.
Gemini ST and TwinRanger[edit | edit source]
In 1989, Tridair Helicopters began developing a twin engine conversion of the LongRanger, the Gemini ST. The prototype's first flight was on 16 January 1991, while full FAA certification was awarded in November. Certification covers the conversion of LongRanger 206L-1s, L-3s and L-4s to Gemini ST configuration. In mid-1994 the Gemini ST was certificated as the first Single/Twin aircraft, allowing it to operate either as a single or twin engine aircraft throughout all phases of flight.
The Bell 206LT TwinRanger was a new build production model equivalent to Tridair's Gemini ST, and was based on the 206L-4. Only thirteen 206LTs were built, the first being delivered in January 1994, and the last in 1997. The TwinRanger was replaced in Bell's line-up by the mostly-new Bell 427.
Operational history[edit | edit source]
The first Bell 206A flew on January 10, 1966, and the aircraft was revealed later that month at the Helicopter Association of America (HAA) convention. On October 20, 1966, the JetRanger received full certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Delivery of the JetRanger to customers began on January 13, 1967, with the first aircraft being purchased by Harry Holly, president of the Hollymatic Company and previous owner of a Bell Ranger.
The basic shape and design of the JetRanger remained unchanged since 1967, but Bell introduced the 206B JetRanger II in 1971. In 1977, the 206B-3 JetRanger III was introduced with its modified tail rotor and more powerful engine. The JetRanger is popular with news media for traffic and news reporting. The LongRanger is commonly used as an air ambulance and as a corporate transport.
On September 1, 1982, pilots H. Ross Perot, Jr. and Jay Coburn took off from Dallas, Texas in the "Spirit of Texas", a Bell 206L-2 (N3911Z). 29 days and 3 hours later, they returned on September 30, 1982, completing the first around the world helicopter flight making them Earthrounders. In 1983, Australian Businessman Dick Smith became the first helicopter pilot to complete a solo trip around the world in 260 flight hours. During the trip, he landed his 206B-3 (S/N 3653; VH-DIK) on prepositioned container ships to refuel between Japan and the Aleutian Islands.
In 1993, the U.S. Army chose the Bell 206B-3 as the winner of the New Training Helicopter competition, to serve as its primary training helicopter, the TH-67 Creek.
On July 22, 1994, Ron Bower landed his 206B-3 (N206AJ) at Hurst, Texas, completing a new world record, around the world flight. Bower had departed on June 24, 1994 and returned 24 days, 4 hours, 36 minutes and 24 seconds later, averaging 35.62 knots (40.99 mph, 65.97 km/h). Bower had added a 91-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, which doubled the JetRanger III's range.
Variants[edit | edit source]
Civilian[edit | edit source]
- Bell 206 - Five (5) YOH-4A prototypes, for flight evaluation in the Army's LOH program (1963).
- Bell 206A - Initial production version, powered by an Allison 250-C18 turboshaft engine. FAA-certified in 1966. Selected as the OH-58A Kiowa in 1968.
- Agusta-Bell 206A - License-built in Italy
- Bell 206A-1 - OH-58A aircraft that are reverse-modified for FAA civil certification.
- Agusta-Bell 206A-1 - License-built in Italy
- Bell 206B - Upgraded Allison 250-C20 engine.
- Agusta-Bell 206B - License-built in Italy
- Bell 206B-2 - Bell 206B models upgraded with Bell 206B-3 improvements.
- Bell 206B-3 - Upgraded Allison 250-C20J engine and added 2 inches (51 mm) to tail rotor diameter for yaw control.
- Bell 206L LongRanger - Stretched, seven seat configuration, powered by an Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engine.
- Agusta-Bell 206L LongRanger — License-built in Italy
- Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II - Higher-powered version, powered by an Allison 250-C28 turboshaft engine.
- Agusta-Bell 206L-1 - License-built in Italy.
- Bell 206L-1+ LongRanger - Bell modifications, including 250-C30P engine, to upgrade aircraft to 206L-4 configuration.
- Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III - Powered by an Allison 250-C30P turboshaft engine.
- Agusta-Bell 206L-3 - License-built in Italy.
- Bell 206L-3+ LongRanger - Bell modifications to upgrade aircraft to 206L-4 configuration.
- Bell 206L-4 LongRanger IV - Improved version, 250-C30P engine and transmission upgrade.
- Bell 206LT TwinRanger - Twin-engined conversions and new-builds of the 206L; replaced by the Bell 427.
- Bell 407 - based on the 206L with four-bladed rotor system
- Bell 417 - upgraded 407 with bigger engine; project cancelled.
Military[edit | edit source]
- Bell 206AS
- Export version for the Chilean Navy.
- Bell CH-139 JetRanger
- Canadian military designation for the Bell 206B-3.
- OH-58 Kiowa
- Light observation helicopter that replaced the OH-6A Cayuse.
- TH-57A Sea Ranger
- 40 commercial Bell 206A aircraft purchased as the primary U.S. Navy helicopter trainer in January 1968 for training prospective U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and select NATO/Allied helicopter pilots.
- 206L TexasRanger
- proposed export military version, only a demonstrator was built in 1981.
- 45 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1989 as replacements for the TH-57A for primary training under visual flight rules.
- 71 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased by the U.S. Navy beginning prior to 1985 with cockpits configured for advanced training under instrument flight rules.
- Planned upgrade program to convert U.S. Navy TH-57B and TH-57C aircraft to a single standard digital cockpit.
- TH-67 Creek
- 137 commercial Bell 206B-3 purchased in 1993 as the primary and instrument helicopter trainer for the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama. 35 in VFR configuration and 102 in IFR configuration. The U.S. Army currently has 181 of which 121 are in VFR configuration and 60 are in IFR configuration. All TH-67 display U.S. registrations ("N" numbers) and are operated as public use aircraft.
Operators[edit | edit source]
Civil[edit | edit source]
The Bell 206 has been popular all types of uses both commercial and private.
Military and government[edit | edit source]
Former military and government[edit | edit source]
Specifications (206B-L4)[edit | edit source]
- Crew: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Length: 39 ft 8 in (12.11 m)
- Rotor diameter: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
- Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.83 m)
- Disc area: 872 ft² (81.1 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,713 lb (777 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 3,200 lb (1,451 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C20B turboshaft, 450 shp; derated to 317 shp due to drivetrain limitations (310 kW)
- Never exceed speed: 130 knots (241 km/h, 150 mph)
- Maximum speed: 120 knots (222 km/h, 138 mph)
- Range: 374 nmi (430 mi, 693 km)
- Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,115 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,350 ft/min (6.9 m/s)
- Disc loading: 4 lb/ft² (177 N/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.26 hp/lb (420 W/kg)
See also[edit | edit source]
- Bell 407
- OH-58 Kiowa
- Panha Shabviz 2061
- Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil
- Eurocopter EC130
- MD Helicopters MD 500
- HAL Dhruv
- PZL SW-4
- Robinson R66
- List of military aircraft of the United States
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<ref>tag; name "1000photos-1" defined multiple times with different content
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[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bell 206.|
- Bell Model 206L-4 page on Bell's site
- Bell Model 206 GlobalSecurity.org
- TH-57 military version at GlobalSecurity.org
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