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Bell Getting Out Of 206 Business?!


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Had some interesting conversations a number a few years ago at a former company with our secretary's hubby who flew out of Laos in a 204/205/etc for this company called Air America, she spent 10 years in Saigon as a nurse and narrowly avoided being on the C141 that went down with all the kids on it. Interesting stories and far far different from the movie version with Mel G- even though they had the a/c regs and clothes correct.

 

I did have some first hand experiences :shock: with some of the Vietnam pilots who ended up flying in Canada in the mid 70s

post-824-1201749249_thumb.gif Just slapped my fingies to prevent myself from asking exactly 9.5 rapid-fire questions totally unrelated to Bell 206s. Argh! Pinch for you, Gary!

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407 too.........good question and I should have explained before. "Yes" the 500 and the 206 used the same engine, but were totally different a/c in many, many respects. Some of those very differences that made the military happy, many times didn't have the same effect in the civilian world. For instance, there wasn't a need for a place to carry baggage in Vietnam because the primary purpose of the LOACH was as a very fast scout and basically to make 'runs' on many occasions to see if a propsed LZ (landing zone) was 'hot' or not. If they could draw fire from below, then they had served their military function 'to a T'. Doing so you need speed, a small profile and extreme agility. The 500 also had all that 'in spades' and the 206 didn't.

 

Personally, I always shook my head at the LOACH pilots because their 'raison etre' was to go in low and fast before us and see if they could draw 'fire' from Charlie at or near some propsed LZ. If they did, a red flare was dropped and meant 'Hot'; orange meant "we don't know for sure" and green meant 'Charlie ain't home'. Needless to say, but I will......"It takes a certain special type of human being to go out on each flight with the intention of possibly having to go down low to draw 'hot lead' on purpose to protect another group of pilots minutes behind them. Charlie didn't always loose in that contest either.

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Was the 500 at that time actually known as the Hughes 369? No T tail on it either, just a 'horizontal' stabilizer jutting out at about a 40 deg. angle opposite the tail rotor?

 

I think someone also mentioned earlier something about a 407 military variant. I've counted blades on some of those military Bells and thought they were 407's too but it would seem Bell put a four bladed main rotor system on a 206 airframe specific for military ops (which seems fitting as most of what a lot of manufacturers do is first done for military purposes) which many would know as the Kiowa Warrior.... although I'm willing to be corrected if I am wrong.

(Perhaps there was a '407' developed for the military but the bid was won by the 'EC145' military version?....)

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Since we've drifted a bit I thought I could post this picture.

 

post-700-1201792207_thumb.jpg

 

Bell's plant in Fort Worth, Texas. I've counted about forty (40) ships in each row.

 

Our boss gave us this a year ago...I think we were complaining about lack of space in our workplace :-)

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I think someone also mentioned earlier something about a 407 military variant. I've counted blades on some of those military Bells and thought they were 407's too but it would seem Bell put a four bladed main rotor system on a 206 airframe specific for military ops (which seems fitting as most of what a lot of manufacturers do is first done for military purposes) which many would know as the Kiowa Warrior.... although I'm willing to be corrected if I am wrong.

(Perhaps there was a '407' developed for the military but the bid was won by the 'EC145' military version?....)

 

Bell put the 407 rotor and drivetrain on the old Kiowas to extend their lives, as they put the 412 rotor and drivetrain in the Hueys and Cobras.

 

The EC-145 won the LUH contract (Light Utility Helicopter) for domestic use (ie National Guard). The 407 won the ARH contract (Armed Reconaissance Helicopter).

 

The EC-145 will free up a lot of Blackhawks to go overseas while the 407 will replace the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

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Well there you go. That clears things up.

 

412 rotor and drivetrain on a Cobra? Really? That'd look weird. I assume the blades could fold for better storage (the Cobra being so thin a profile it'd seem rediculous to limit it's ease of storage with four M/R blades).

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Well there you go. That clears things up.

 

412 rotor and drivetrain on a Cobra? Really? That'd look weird. I assume the blades could fold for better storage (the Cobra being so thin a profile it'd seem rediculous to limit it's ease of storage with four M/R blades).

 

I believe the US Marines have standardized the powerplant/drivetrain package between their hueys and cobras. It kinda looks strange, as if a cobra or huey cabin module was merely bolted on to a common 'core'. The four-bladed system is meant to fold (one for, one aft), for shipborne ops.

 

From the Bell website: "The UH-1Y and AH-1Z have 84% commonality with identical components."

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