Bell 206

Bell 206

Infobox Aircraft
name=Bell 206

caption=Bell 206 JetRanger
type=Multipurpose utility helicopter
manufacturer=Bell Helicopter Textron
first flight=8 December 1962 (206)Visschedijk, Johan. [ "Bell 206 JetRanger".] 16 October 2003. Accessed on 19 September 2006.]
10 January 1966 (206A)cite book|author=D.Donald|year=1997|title=The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft]
status=Active service
primary user=United States Army
more users=United States Navy
number built=
unit cost=
variants with their own articles=OH-58 Kiowa Bell 407 Panha Shabaviz 2061

The Bell Helicopter Model 206 JetRanger is a two-bladed main rotor, turbine powered helicopter with a conventional, two-bladed tail rotor. The aircraft uses hydraulic boosted flight controls.


In October 1961, the Army submitted a request for proposals (RFP) for the Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). Bell, along with 12 other manufacturers (including Fairchild-Hiller and Hughes Tool Co. Aircraft Division), entered the competition. [cite web|url=|title=The Cessna CH-1 Helicopter|author=Steve Remington|publisher=CollectAir (|work=|date=] Bell submitted their design for Model 206, which was selected out of the design phase of the Navy-run competition by the Army [cite paper|title=George A. Spangenberg Oral History|author=George A. Spangenberg|editor=Judith Spangenberg-Currier] and designated as the YHO-4A.cite web|url=|title=U.S Army Aircraft Acquisition Programs|work=Uncommon Aircraft 2006|author=Robert Beechy|date=2005-11-18] [cite web|url=|title=Rotary Aircraft Designation Crosswalk|]

Bell produced five prototype aircraft in 1962 to submit to the army for the test and evaluation phase. During the testing phase, the test pilots complained about the power problems of the aircraft, an issue that apparently knocked it out of the running, because when the winners were announced to progress on to the final selection phase, Bell's YOH-4A wasn't selected. Afterwards, Bell attempted to market the model 206, but it didn't fare well commercially. Bell's market research showed that it was the body design that customers found mostly unpalatable. Bell redesigned the fuselage of the airframe to be more sleek and aesthetic, and reintroduced it as Model 206A JetRanger which was a commercial success. [cite web|url=|title=American Helicopter Museum: Bell 206 JetRanger]

The 206A, and B are five-seat designs, with two seats in the front and a three seat bench in the back.

206L LongRanger

The 206L LongRanger is a stretched variant with seating for seven (the LongRanger, stretched a total of 30 inches, 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 a 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.

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.Kocurek, Mark "206L Upgrade Program", "Rotorbreeze Magazine", July 2007]

Gemini ST and TwinRanger

The "TwinRanger" name dates back to the mid-1980s when Bell first developed the Bell 400 TwinRanger, but it never entered production.Frawley, Gerard: "The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004", page 43. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7]

In 1989, Tridair Helicopters began developing a twin engine conversion of the LongRanger, the Gemini ST. The prototype's first flight was on January 16, 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 13 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.


Derived from the Model 206, the Bell 407 and OH-58D use a newer, 4-bladed, soft, in-plane rigid rotor system which offers improved performance while reducing vibration and noise. The Bell 417 was a follow-on to the 407, but its development was cancelled.

Operational history

The JetRanger entered the civilian market in 1967. The Model 206 has since been updated three times, with the 206B "JetRanger II" arriving in 1971 and the 206B-3 "JetRanger III" with its modified tail rotor and more powerful engine in 1977. The basic shape and design remain unchanged since 1967.

The JetRanger is popular with news media for traffic and news reporting. The U.S. Army eventually selected the 206 for use as the OH-58 Kiowa, fulfilling its originally intended role. The United States Navy, Marines and Coast Guard use 206 variants known as the TH-57 Sea Ranger in flight school at NAS Whiting Field. The TH-67 Creek variant is used by the U.S. Army as a trainer for helicopter students. The LongRanger is commonly used as an air ambulance (the standard JetRanger version is too short for this function).

The Model 206 is flown by a single pilot, who sits in the front right seat. In flight plans the ICAO designator for the JetRanger and the LongRanger is B06.

The Bell 206 was the first helicopter to fly around the world and was piloted by Australian Businessman Dick Smith in 1983.During the trip he landed on container ships at sea to refuel.

On 24 January 2008, Bell Helicopter Textron announced plans to terminate production of the Bell 206B-3 model after current order commitments are fulfilled in 2010. [ [ Bell Helicopter - News: Bell Product Line Streamlined ] ]



*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.cite web|url=|title=TYPE CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET NO. H2SW, Revision 42|publisher=Federal Aviation Administration(|date=2006-06-27]
*Agusta-Bell 206A-1 - License-built in Italy
*Bell 206B - Upgraded Allison 250-C20 engine.cite web|url=|title=Bell 206:Still Ringing True|author=Ron and Shannon Bower|date=2003-05-01|publisher=Aviation Today (]
**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 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 206B-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 206B-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.


;Bell 206AS:Export version for the Chilean Navy.;OH-58 Kiowa :Light observation helicopter that replaced the OH-6A Cayuse.;TH-57A :40 commercial Bell 206A aircraft purchased as the primary U.S. Navy helicopter trainer in January 1968, designated "Sea Ranger". [] ;206L TexasRanger :proposed export military version, only a demonstrator was built in 1981.;TH-57B :45 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased in 1989 as replacements for the TH-57A for primary training under visual flight rules.;TH-57C :71 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased beginning prior to 1985 with cockpits configured for advanced training under instrument flight rules.;TH-57D :Planned upgrade program to convert TH-57B and TH-57C to a single standard digital cockpit. [] ;TH-67 Creek :137 commercial Bell 206B-3 purchased in 1993 as the primary helicopter trainer for the U.S. Army. 35 in VFR configuration and 102 in IFR configuration. []


pecifications (206B-3)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=copter
jet or prop?=prop

ref={Bell 206B-3 Product Specifications} [cite web|url=|title=Product Specifications|last=|first=|month=January | year=2006|accessdate=2007-11-13|work=|publisher=Bell Helicopter|format=PDF]
length main=39 ft 8 in
length alt=12.11 m
span main=33 ft 4 in
span alt=10.16 m
height main=9 ft 4 in
height alt=2.83 m
area main=872 ft²
area alt=81.1 m²
empty weight main=1,713 lb
empty weight alt=777 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=3,200 lb
max takeoff weight alt=1,451 kg
engine (prop)=Allison 250-C20J
type of prop=turboshaft
number of props=1
power main=420 shp
power alt=310 kW
max speed main=122 knots
max speed alt=224 km/h/139 mph
range main=374 nm
range alt=430 mi, 693 km
ceiling main=13,500 ft
ceiling alt=4,115 m
climb rate main=1,350 ft/min
climb rate alt=6.9 m/s
loading main=4 lb/ft²
loading alt=177 N/m²
power/mass main=0.26 hp/lb
power/mass alt=420 W/kg

ee also

* Bell 407
* OH-58 Kiowa
* Panha Shabviz 2061
similar aircraft=
* Eurocopter Ecureuil
* Eurocopter EC 130
* MD Helicopters MD 500
* HAL Dhruv
* PZL SW-4
* List of military aircraft of the United States


External links

* [ Bell Model 206B-3] , official page
* [ Bell Model 206L-4] , official page
* [ Bell Model 206] at
* [ Bell Model 206] at
* [ Military version] at
* [ Austrian Armed Forces Agusta Bell AB 206]

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