Tue, Oct 04, 2011
Preserving history is a tough gig... especially bits and pieces
of it that comprise a fairly small part of it all. Such is the
ultra-dedicated mission of the Lawrence D. Bell Aircraft Museum,
Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to preserving
the legacy of the man that created one of the iconic helicopter
companies of the century.
Lawrence D. Bell devoted forty-four
years to the aircraft industry. From a barefoot boy in Mentone,
Indiana, the town of his birth, he became chairman of the board of
one of the nation's foremost aircraft firms, Bell Aircraft
Corporation. This firm produced such significant aviation
contributions as the nation's first jet propelled airplane, the
world's first commercial helicopter, the world's fastest and
highest flying airplane, the Bell X-1A, and the first jet vertical
take-off and landing plane.
ANN had the coveted chance to visit the museum during the annual
PRA Convention and came away with some interesting stories. In this
case; our attention is on one of the rarest early efforts of bell
to not only build his company but build a market for helicopters as
business transportation... the Bell 47H.
The three-seat 47H offered an enclosed cabin, a full cowling and a
monocoque tail boom -- making for a rakish and aerodynamic look in
an attempt to offer a "luxury" version of the more basic 47G. Some
33 were known to have been produced.
The Bell 47H's enclosed cabin offered sound-proofing and 'car-size'
leather seats and leather trim. Baggage was stored in a compartment
in the tail boom. The Bell 47H was powered by a 200 hp Franklin
6V4-200-C32 six-cylinder piston engine.
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