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Bell H-13J

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This object is on display in the Vertical Flight exhibition station at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


On July 12, 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first President of the United States to fly in this helicopter. The occasion was a simulated nuclear alert staged to test how quickly the Chief Executive and other government officials could depart Washington, D. C. and reach a safe haven outside the city. During 1957, the Bell Helicopter Corporation modified a stock Bell H-13J helicopter to meet the President's special needs. Technicians added all-metal rotor blades, special arm and foot rests to the right seat, and a frame-less, Plexiglas nose bubble heavily tinted to reduce glare and heat. Eisenhower's personal helicopter pilot, United States Air Force Major Joseph E. Barrett, flew the rotorcraft from the center seat and a Secret Service agent occupied the left seat.

An identical Bell H-13J, assigned the Air Force serial number 57-2728, usually accompanied the President's helicopter. This aircraft carried his physician and another Secret Service agent.

Transferred from the United States Air Force, Headquarters

Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Company

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Rotor Diameter: 11.3 m (37 ft 2 in)
Length: 9.9 m (32 ft 5 in)
Height: 2.8 m (9 ft 4 in)
Weights: Empty, 862 kg (1,900 lb)
Gross, 1,293 kg (2,850 lb)

Physical Description:All-metal helicopter with single main rotor and single tail rotor, powered by reciprocating engine, equipped with skid landing gear made of metal tube, fitted with large, framless cockpit bubble canopy.

Inventory number: A19690013000

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