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Bell 30

Bell Helicopters 2022

The Bell 30 was the prototype for the first commercial helicopter and marked the debut of helicopter manufacturing by Bell Aircraft Company.

Designed by Arthur M. Young, this model acted as a testbed for the development of the famous Bell 47.

Ship No.1
The initial Bell 30 was constructed using an exposed-frame tubular steel structure, featuring an open cockpit and four widely spread undercarriage legs equipped with skids made from 3 in (76 mm) aluminium alloy tubing.

The aircraft’s initial flight took place on December 29, 1942, and testing proceeded until it was involved in a severe crash in September 1943.

Ship No.1A
Ship No.1, reconstructed with a strutted tricycle undercarriage and nosewheel, along with a semi-enclosed cockpit, was reintegrated into the test program by March 1944.

Ship No.2
The second aircraft featured a novel three-wheeled undercarriage, a semi-monocoque fuselage, an updated tail rotor assembly, and a fully enclosed cockpit designed for both the pilot and a passenger.

Ship No.3

The third aircraft featured a triangular-section welded tubular steel tail boom, a four-wheeled undercarriage, and a full set of instruments, yet it had a completely open cockpit.

Its performance and handling were significantly improved over its predecessors, but the open cockpit was considered a significant drawback.

Young likened flying the aircraft to “sitting in a chair and flying through space.”

In contrast, Bell Company officials who experienced it found the flight utterly terrifying.

The remedy for the open cockpit issue was the introduction of the plexiglass bubble, which would become a hallmark of the Bell 47/H-13 production aircraft.





Two passengers


1 × Franklin 6V4 flat-six piston engine,

160 hp (120 kW)

Main rotor diameter

33 ft 0 in (10.06 m)

Main rotor area

855.3 sq ft (79.46 m2)


Bell Aircraft since 1935-A J Pelletier.

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