Bell 47 Helicopter
1946 - 1974
The Bell 47 is a single-rotor single-engine light helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It was based on the third Bell 30 prototype, which was the company’s first helicopter designed by Arthur M. Young. The 47 became the first helicopter certified for civilian use on 8 March 1946.
About the vehicle
Early models varied in appearance, with open cockpits or sheet metal cabins, fabric covered or open structures, some with four-wheel landing gear. Later model D and Korean War H-13D and E types settled on a more utilitarian style. The most common model, the 47G introduced in 1953, can be recognized by the full “soap bubble” canopy, exposed welded-tube tail boom, saddle fuel tanks and skid landing gear.
The later three-seat 47H had an enclosed cabin with full cowling and monocoque tail boom. It was an attempt to market a “luxury” version of the basic 47G. Relatively few were produced.
The Bell 47 features in the episode opened of everybody’s favourite TV show M*A*S*H. As one of the most produced choppers of all time, it was the primary observation helicopter early in the Vietnam war.