| Bell 206 |
JetRanger / LongRanger
|Role||National origin|| Manufacturer
||First flight||Introduction||Status||Produced||Number built|| Unit cost
This page is a soft redirect.
approx. US$900,000 to $1.2 million
|Developed from||Variants||Developed into|
The Bell 206 is a family of two-bladed, single- or twin-engined 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-engined 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-engined TwinRangers.
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.
The 206L LongRanger is a stretched variant with seating for seven (the LongRanger, stretched a total of Script error: No such module "convert"., 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. In both applications, the 250-C30P is de-rated from 650 hp for take-off and 501 hp continuous. The 206L-3 is transmission limited to 435 hp for take-off, and the 206L-4 is transmission-limited to 495 hp. The de-rating of the C30P produces an advantage in hot-day and high-altitude operations as it can produce the rated horsepower at higher altitudes and temperatures where applications that use the maximum rating of the engine at sea level suffer accelerated performance deterioration with increases in temperature and altitude. The 206L-3 and L-4 have not offered in a twin configuration under those model designations.
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
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 lineup by the mostly-new Bell 427, whereas Bell intends for the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X to replace the 206 single-engine versions from around 2015 and compete with the Robinson R66.
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. In 1968, the United States Navy selected the 206A as its primary trainer, the TH-57 Sea Ranger. The Army also eventually selected the 206A for a light observation helicopter as the OH-58 Kiowa.
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. The amount of TH-67s being divested by the Army is too small to impact civilian markets.
On July 22, 1994, Ron Bower landed his 206B-3 (N206AJ) at Hurst, Texas, completing a new world record, round-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.
On 20 August 2014, the Chief of Army Staff of Guatemala was killed in an air crash while riding this helicopter.
- 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 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 Script error: No such module "convert". 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
- 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.
- HESA Shahed 278
- An Iranian re-hash of Bell 206 components.
- 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.
- Zafar 300
- an Iranian modification to tandem seat gunship, probably for propaganda purposes only.
The Bell 206 has been popular all types of uses both commercial and private.
Military and government
Specifications (206B-L4)General characteristics
- Crew: one pilot
- Capacity: four 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: 2,331 lb (1,057 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 3,200 lb (1,451 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C30P turboshaft, 420 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 (427.48784 W/kg)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Visschedijk, Johan. "Bell 206 JetRanger". 1000AircraftPhotos.com. 16 October 2003. Accessed on 19 September 2006.
- Donald, David, ed. "Bell 206". The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Barnes & Nobel Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
- Bell 206 JetRanger. GlobalSecurity.org, July 9, 2005. Retrieved: December 2009
- Remington, Steve. "The Cessna CH-1 Helicopter". CollectAir.com
- Beechy, Robert. "U.S Army Aircraft Acquisition Programs". Uncommon Aircraft 2006, November 18, 2005. Accessed on 19 September 2006.
- See Light Observation Helicopter. The Navy, who was assisting the Army in the selection phase, recommended the Hiller Model 1100, while the Army team preferred the Bell D-250, and then the 1100. The Selection Board selected both aircraft. Afterwards, the acting Army Chief of Staff directed the Selection Board to include the Hughes 369 in the fly-off competition.
- Spangenberg, George A. George A. Spangenberg Oral History. spangenberg.org. Judith Spangenberg-Currier, ed. pp. 187-190. Accessed on April 29, 2008.
- Spenser, Jay P. "Bell Helicopter". Whirlybirds, A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers, p. 263. University of Washington Press, 1998. ISBN 0-295-98058-3.
- Aastad, Andy. "The Introduction to the JetRanger". Rotor Magazine. Helicopter Association International. Winter 2006-2007. Accessed on 29 April 2008.
- George Larson "Farewell to an Icon: the Bell JetRanger 206". Aviation Week blog, January 25, 2008.
- Kocurek, Mark. "206L Upgrade Program". Rotorbreeze Magazine Bell Helicopter, July 2007.
- Bell Product Line Streamlined. Bell Helicopter, January 24, 2008.
- "Bell 206A JetRanger for Sale". Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Frawley, Gerard: The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, p. 43. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
- Maher, Guy. "Bell gives 505 JetRanger update" Vertical, 21 July 2014. Accessed: 21 July 2014. Archived on 21 July 2014.
- List of records established by the '206L-2 Long Ranger'". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
- "Chronological listing of all known flights around the World". Earthrounders.com. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- Host, Pat (April 2015). "Army's aviation restructuring not to affect civil helicopter market". Rotor & Wing. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- "List of records established by the '206B-3 Jet Ranger III'". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
- Kocks, Kathleen. "Around the World in 24 days, 4:36:24". Rotor & Wing. October 1994. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
- PanAm Post Staff. "Helicopter Crash Kills Guatemala's Army Chief of Staff". PanAm Post. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "TYPE CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET NO. H2SW, Revision 42". Federal Aviation Administration(www.faa.gov). 2006-06-27.
- Ron and Shannon Bower (2003-05-01). "Bell 206:Still Ringing True". Aviation Today (www.aviationtoday.com).
- World Air Forces 2014 "WAF 2014" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Army Bell 206B Jetranger III AE-366". © 2006-2013 Airplane-Pictures.net. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "World Air Forces 2011-12" (PDF). flightglobal.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Bangladesh Army Aviation Accepts Two Dauphin Helicopters". malaysiaflyingherald.wordpress.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Petrova, Alla (27 November 2012). "The government today ordered the Finance Ministry to allocate the State Border Guard LVL 0.84 million from the budget's emergency funds for the procurement of two helicopters". The Baltic Course. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Iraqi air force opens pilot training school". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
- Hoyle Flight International 9–15 December 2014, p. 42.
- "Elbit extends military pilot training deals with Israel". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Helicopters from Finland accepted into service in Latvia". baltic-course.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Macedonia Civil Police". aeroflight.co.uk. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Serbian Interior Ministry Air Wing". aeroflight.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Bell Textron Canada TH-67A Creek". taiwanairpower.org. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "LAPD Equipment". lapdonline.org. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "World Air forces pg 55". <span />Flight International<span /> (flightglobal). December 2014.
- "Aircraft Histories RAN". Navy.gov.au. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Bell CH-139 JET RANGER". canadianwings.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "A 40 años del Comando de Aviación de Ejército". Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "JDF "Rotary wing" previous fleet". jdfmil.org. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Air Wing, Armed Forces of Malta". aeroflight.co.uk. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "HKP 6 - Agusta Bell 206A JetRanger (1968-2004)". Retrieved 2013-01-27.
- "Bell 206 L4 Product Specifications" (PDF). Bell Helicopter. February 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
- "Bell 206 L4 specifications" (PDF). Bell Helicopter. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
- Hoyle, Craig (10–16 December 2013). "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International. Vol. 184 (No. 5419): pp. 24–51. ISSN 0015-3710.
- Hoyle, Craig (9–15 December 2014). "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International. Vol. 186 (No. 5468): pp. 24–55. ISSN 0015-3710.
|40x40px||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