Collection Item Summary:
In 1946, the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Authority awarded the first civil helicopter certification to the Model 47. It was the first Bell helicopter type to enter production. Although initial sales failed to meet Lawrence Bell's expectation of a post-World War II civil aviation boom, later versions saw significant service in the Korean War and other conflicts, and it became a highly successful commercial model with some logging over five decades of service.
The two-seat Model 47B was the first commercial evolution of Bell's pioneering Model 30, also designed by talented engineers Arthur Young and Bartram Kelley. This example, the 36th built, served over a period of 40 years as a factory demonstrator for Bell, newsgathering helicopter, crop duster, trainer and performed power line patrols and aerial photography missions. In 1989, Douglas Daigle purchased the helicopter, had it restored, and set the world's hovering record of fifty hours, fifty seconds. Its last flight occurred in December 2004 - more than 57 years after its first flight, making it the longest-flying helicopter in history.
Collection Item Long Description:
National Air and Space Museum
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Gift Of Douglas D. Daigle & Tridair Heicopters, Inc., in memory of Arthur Middleton Young
- Rotor Diameter: 10.7 m (35 ft 2 in)
- Length: 7.4 m (24 ft 4 in)
- Height: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
- Weight: Empty, 720 kg (1,588 lb)
- Gross, 998 kg (2,200 lb)
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