Tag Archives: Bell Model 222

13 August 1976

The prototype Bell 222 hovering in ground effect during its first flight, 13 August 1976. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

13 August 1976: At the Bell Helicopter facility at Arlington, Texas, the prototype Model 222 twin-engine helicopter, registration N9988K, made its first flight. During the 42-minute flight, test pilots Donald Lee Bloom and Louis William Hartwig flew the aircraft through a series of hovering maneuvers and transitions to forward flight. A Bell spokesperson described it as, “One of the most successful prototype flights we’ve ever had.”

The prototype Bell 222 in flight with landing gear retracted, 13 August 1976. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

The Model 222 (“Two Twenty-Two”) was Bell Helicopter’s first completely new helicopter since the Model 206 JetRanger series. Classified as a light twin, the aircraft was originally powered by two Lycoming LTS101-650C-3 turboshaft engines. The two-blade main rotor was similar in design to that used on the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. The first four prototypes were built with a T-tail configuration, but problems discovered early in the test program resulted in a change to the arrangement used in the production version.

Bell Model 222 prototypye, N9988K, in flight. Note T-tail configuration. (Bell Helicopter)
Bell Model 222 prototype, N9988K, in flight. Note T-tail configuration. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

The Bell 222 is used as an executive transport, a utility transport and an aeromedical helicopter. It can carry a maximum of ten persons, and is operated with either one or two pilots. The 222 is certified for Instrument Flight Rules. The standard aircraft has retractable tricycle landing gear but the Model 222UT replaces that with a lighter weight skid gear.

The Bell Model 222 is 47 feet, 6.16 inches (14.482 meters) long with rotors turning. The helicopter has a maximum height of 14 feet, 7.25 inches (4.451 meters) with the forward main rotor blade against its droop stop. The height from ground level to the top of the vertical fin is 11 feet, 0.56 inches (3.367 meters). The helicopter’s maximum width is 11 feet, 4.0 inches (3.454 meters). The empty weight is 4,555 pounds (2,066 kilograms), and the maximum gross weight is 7,848 pounds (3,560 kilograms).

The fifth prototype Bell 222, N222BX (c/n 47005), in the 40′ × 80′ (12.2 × 24.4 meters) wind tunnel at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. The man at the lower left corner of the image shows scale. (NASA)

The 222’s main rotor mast is tilted 5° forward and 1° 15′ to the left. This contributes to a higher forward air speed and counteracts the helicopter’s translating tendency in a hover.

The two-bladed, underslung, semi-rigid main rotor system rotates counter-clockwise as seen from above (the advancing blade is on the right.)and turns 324 r.p.m at 100% NR. The main rotor has a diameter of 39 feet, 9.0 inches (12.116 meters). The blades have a chord of 2 feet, 4.6 inches (7.264 meters) and are pre-coned 3° 30′. The two-bladed tail rotor is positioned on the left side of the tail boom and turns clockwise as seen from the helicopter’s left (the advancing blade is below the axis of rotation). The tail rotor’s diameter is 6 feet, 6.0 inches (1.981 meters). The blades’ chord is 10.0 inches (0.254 meters).

The Bell 222 was originally powered by two Lycoming LTS101-650C-3 engines. The LTS101 is a compact, light weight, turboshaft engine. The 2-stage compressor section has 1 axial-flow stage and 1 centrifugal-flow stage. The turbine section has 1 high-pressure gas generator stage and 1 low-pressure free power stage. The LTS101-650C-3 was has a maximum continuous power rating of 598 shaft horsepower (446 kilowatts at 49,159 r.p.m. (N1) at Sea Level, and 630 shaft horsepower (470 kilowatts) at 49,638 r.p.m. for takeoff (5-minute limit). The output shaft (N2) turns 9,545 r.p.m. With one engine inoperative (OEI), the -650C-3 is rated at 650 shaft horsepower (485 kilowatts) at 50,169 r.p.m. (30-minute limit), and a maximum 675 shaft horsepower at 50,548 r.p.m. N1/9,784 r.p.m. N2 (2½-minute limit). The LTS101-650C-3 is 1 foot, 10.6 inches (0.574 meters) in diameter, 2 feet,7.3 inches (0.795 meters) long, and has a dry weight of 241 pounds (109 kilograms).

The Bell 222 has a maximum speed of 130 knots. Its hover ceiling is approximately 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). The service ceiling is 12,800 feet (3,901 meters). The maximum range is 324 nautical miles (373 statute miles/600 kilometers).

During early production, problems were experienced with the LTS101 engines, which were also used on the Sikorsky S-76 and the Aérospatiale AS-350D A-Star. This seriously hurt the reputation and sales of all three helicopters. Bell Helicopter’s parent corporation, Textron, bought the Lycoming factory and modernized it in order to improve the engine. (The engine is now owned by Honeywell Aerospace.) Operators began to replace the two Lycoming engines with a pair of Allison 250-C30 turboshafts, and eventually Bell Helicopter modified the aircraft, marketing it as the Model 230. A four-bladed variant with a longer cabin is called the Model 430.

After the test program was completed, the first prototype, N9988K, was used as a static prop on the popular television series, “Airwolf.”

Bell 222 N34NR, an aeromedical helicopter operated by Air Angels, Inc., Bolingbrooke, Illinois. (Photograph courtesy of Chris Hargreaves)
Donald Lee Bloom

Donald Lee Bloom was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 23 April 1932. He was the son of Fred Miles Bloom, a telegraph operator for the Standard Oil Company, and Georgia Randolph Bloom.

Don Bloom attended the University of Houston as a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipman. He graduated in 1955. Bloom was commissioned as a second lieutenant, United States Marine Corps, 15 September 1955. He was assigned to pilot training at NAS Pensacola, Florida.

Lieutenant Bloom was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, 15 March 1957. He married Miss Anne Marie Carruthers in Los Angeles, California, 5 September 1958. They would have four children, Susan, Stacy, Robert and Todd.

Lieutenant Bloom was released from active duty in 1960, and joined the Kaman Aircraft Corporation as a test pilot. In 1961, began his 29-year career as an experimental test pilot with the Bell Helicopter Company.

The first production Bell OH-58A-BF Kiowa, 68-16687. Don Bloom flight-tested this type in his investigation of Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness. (U.S. Army)

In 1984 the Society of Experimental Test Pilots gave its Iven C. Kincheloe Award to Don Bloom for his experimental research into the Loss of Tail Rotor Effectiveness (LTE).

After flying as a test pilot on 187 projects, Don Bloom retired from the Bell Helicopter Corporation in 1990 as Senior Experimental Test Pilot. He then worked for the Federal Aviation Administration Southwest Region as its Designated Engineering Representative Flight Test Pilot, testing aircraft for government certification. During his aviation career, Bloom flew over 14,000 hours in 102 different aircraft.

In 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration presented its Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award to Don Bloom.

Donald Lee Bloom died 18 July 2017 at Grapevine, Texas. He was buried at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.

Don Bloom was a project development test pilot for the Bell AH-1G Cobra. (U.S. Army)

Louis William Hartwig was born at Sherman, Iowa, 26 July 1922. He was the son of Lawrence C. Harwig and Alta May Gaughey Hartwig. He attended Bowie High Schoo in Bowie, Texas.

Lou Hartwig enlisted in the United States Army 8 September 1942. (s/n 17119277) He was assigned to the 304th and 902nd Field Artillery Battalions, 77th Infantry Division.

Lou Hartwig married Miss Katherine Elizabeth Healzer, a school teacher, at Rustburg, Virginia, 19 February 1944. They would have a son, Ronald.

Piper L-4 Grasshopper. (Harry S. Truman Library & Museum)

Hartwig was deployed to the Pacific theater of operations, 24 March 1944. He flew a Piper L-4 Grasshopper as an artillery spotter at Guam and Okinawa. He was discharged from his enlistment 18 June 1944, and commissioned a second lieutenant, 19 June 1944 (s/n O-1821011). Lieutenant Hartwig returned to the United States on 21 November 1945. He was released from active duty 24 January 1946.

Lou Hartwig was one of the early students of the Bell Aircraft Corporation’s helicopter flight school at Niagara Falls Airport, New York. The school was for experienced pilots only, and required 10–15 days to complete. Each student received a minimum 22½ flight hours in a Bell Model 47. The cost of the course was $600. Hartwig was then employed as an agriculture “crop dusting” pilot in California.

While spraying insecticide in a field near Sacramento, California, Hartwig was overcome by the poisonous chemicals and lost consciousness. The helicopter struck power lines and crashed. Hartwig was thrown from the cockpit. Crash investigators described the accident as “unsurvivable.” He spent the next 11 months in hospital.

Lou Hartwig was a test pilot for the U.S. Navy’s HSL-1 ASW helicopter. (Bell Aircraft Corporation)

The Bell Helicopter Company hired Hartwig as a test pilot on 15 February 1955. One of his first projects was flight testing the Model 61, the only tandem rotor helicopter ever produced by Bell. It was used as an anti-submarine warfare helicopter by the U.S. Navy, designated HSL-1.

On 31 January 1961, Hartwig set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 100 Kilometers Without Payload, when he flew a Bell Model 47J Ranger at an average speed of 168.36 kilometer per hour (104.61 miles per hour).¹

On 2 February 1961, Lou Hartwig flew a Bell Model 47G, N967B, to set three more FAI world records: Distance in a Closed Circuit Without Landing, 1,016.20 kilometers (631.44 miles); ² Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 500 Kilometers Without Payload, averaging 119.07 kilometers per hour (73.99 miles per hour); ³ and Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 1,000 Kilometers, 118.06 kilometers per hour (73.36 miles per hour.⁴ The Model 47G had been modified with an additional fuel tank from the earlier Model 47D-1, and curved landing skids from the Model 47J.

The Bell 533, 56-6723, in one of its many configurations. It was flown with two- and four-bladed main rotors, with and without wings, and with and without turbojet engines. (Bell Helicopter Corporation)

Lou Hartwig worked on the U.S. Army’s High Performance Helicopter project. A pre-production YH-40 Iroquois, serial number 56-6723, was modified into a winged and compound helicopter configuration, designated Model 533. Hartwig flew the helicopter to a speed of 274.6 knots (316.00 statute miles per hour/508.56 kilometers per hour). In 1971, the Vertical Flight Society gave its Frederick L. Feinberg Award to Hartwig.

Mrs. Hartwig died 10 February 1989, in San Diego, California. Lou Hartwig married his second wife, Joanne Dunning, in 1990.

Louis William Hartwig died 12 April 2016, at the age of 93 years. He was buried at the Dearborn Memorial Park, Poway, California.

¹ FAI Record File Number 986

² FAI Record File Number 983

³ FAI Record File Number 989

⁴ FAI Record File Number 990

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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25 October 1994: The “Dog Ship”

The prototype Bell Model 430, C-GBLL, in flight, circa 1994. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

A “dog ship” is an aircraft retained by a manufacturer for engineering development testing.

25 October 1994: At Bell Helicopter Textron’s plant at Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, the prototype Bell Model 430, registered C-GBLL, made its first flight.

The Bell Model 430 (“Four-Thirty”) is a twin-engine intermediate-weight helicopter, operated by one or two pilots, and which can be configured to carry from 6 to 11 passengers. It has advanced avionics. The standard helicopter is equipped with skid landing gear, and retractable tricycle gear is optional. The 430 was the first helicopter to be certified for instrument flight with a single pilot, without a stability augmentation system. The aircraft is also certified for Category A operations, meaning that if one engine were to fail during takeoff, the helicopter could continue to fly with the remaining engine.

Bell 430 instrument panel with some optional equipment. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

The 430 was developed from the preceding Model 230 (and the 230 from the 222). It was lengthened 1 foot, 6 inches (0.457 meters) and uses a four-bladed semi-rigid main rotor.  Instead of a mechanical rotor head of trunnions, bearings and hinges, the 430 has a “soft-in-plane” fiberglass rotor yoke that is flexible enough to allow the blades to flap, feather and lead/lag.

The Bell 430 is 50 feet, 0.6 inches (15.248 meters) long, with rotors turning. The fuselage is 44 feet, 1 inch (13.437 meters) long. Overall height 12 feet, 1.6 inches (3.697 meters). The span of the stub wings is 11 feet, 6.0 inches (3.454 meters). The fixed horizontal stabilizer has a spa of 11 feet, 5.9 inches (3.453 meters) and a -9° angle of incidence. The vertical fin is canted slightly to the right to unload the tail rotor during high speed flight.

The main rotor mast is tilted 5° forward and 1.15° to the left. The forward tilt helps to keep the passenger cabin level during forward flight, while the left tilt counteracts the translating tendency caused by tail rotor thrust while in a hover.

Bell 430 prototype at Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, December 1995. (Vertiflite)

The main rotor is 42 feet, 0 inches (12.802 meters) in diameter and rotates counter-clockwise as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the right.) The rotor turns at 348 r.p.m., resulting in a blade tip speed of 765 feet per second (233 meters per second). The blades are of composite construction. They use an asymmetrical airfoil and have a chord of 1 foot, 2.2 inches (0.361 meters). The blades are pre-coned 2° 30′.

The tail rotor is mounted on the left side of the tail boom, with the rotor disc offset 1 foot, 9.5 inches (0.572 meters) to the left of the aircraft centerline. Seen from the helicopter’s left, the tail rotor turns clockwise (the advancing blade is below the axis of rotation). The tail rotor is 6 feet, 10.5 inches (2.098 meters) in diameter, with a chord of 10.0 inches (0.254 meters). The blades are constructed of a stainless steel spar, with a bonded stainless steel skin over an aluminum honeycomb. The tail rotor turns 1,881 r.p.m.

Three-view drawing of the Bell Model 430 with retractable tricycle landing gear. (Bell Helicopter TEXTRON)

In standard configuration, the wheel-equipped Model 430 has an empty weight of 5,364 pounds. Its maximum gross weight is 9,300 pounds (4,218 kilograms).

The 430 is powered by two Rolls-Royce Series IV M250 C40B FADEC turboshaft engines. (The engine was previously known as the Allison 250-C40B. Rolls-Royce acquired Allison in 1995). The engine has full digital electronic controls. The 250-C40B uses a single-stage centrifugal compressor, reverse-flow combustion chamber, and a 4-stage axial-flow turbine section (2-stage gas producer turbine, N1, and 2-stage power turbine, N2.) At 100% N1, the gas producer rotates at 51,000 r.p.m. and the power turbine turns 30,908 r.p.m. The output drive speed is 9,598 r.p.m.

The engines have a Maximum Continuous Power rating of 695 shaft horsepower, and 808 s.h.p. for takeoff (5-minute limit). If an engine fails, the remaining engine can be operated at 940 s.h.p. for 30 seconds; 880 s.h.p for 2 minutes; and 835 s.h.p. for 30 minutes.

At Sea Level, the Bell Model 430 has a cruise speed of 133 knots (153 miles per hour/246 kilometers per hour), and maximum cruise of 147 knots (169 miles per hour/272 kilometers per hour). VNE is 150 knots (173 miles per hour/278 kilometers per hour). The helicopter’s service ceiling is 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). At its maximum gross weight, the 430 can hover in ground effect (HIGE) at 10,400 feet (3,170 meters) and out of ground effect (HOGE) at 6,200 feet (1,890 meters).

The fuel capacity of the 430 is 187.5 U.S. gallons (708 liters). This gives the helicopter a range of 286 nautical miles (329 statute miles/530 kilometers). A 48 gallon (182 liter) auxiliary fuel tank can be installed in the baggage compartment. With skid landing gear, the fuel capacity is increased to 247 gallons (935 liters), increasing the range to 353 nautical miles (406 statute miles/654 kilometers).

The Bell Model 430 received its Transport Canada certification on 23 February 1996, with the first production aircraft delivered the following month. Production continued for 12 years. The final 430 was delivered in May 2008.

This helicopter is an early production Bell Model 222, sometimes unofficially called a “222A”. (Wikipedia)

C-GBLL was originally built as the sixth Model 222, serial number 47006, and registered by the Federal Aviation Administration as N2759D. The aircraft was used as the prototype of the Bell 222B, which upgraded the engines from the original 618-shaft horsepower Lycoming LTS-101-650C3 turboshaft engines to 680 s.h.p. LTS-101-750Cs. The diameter of the main rotor was increased from 40 feet to 42 feet.

In 1983, N2759D was next used as the prototype for the Model 222UT, which replaced the retractable tricycle landing gear with fixed skids constructed of tubular aluminum. This simplified the helicopter, decreased its empty weight and allowed for an increased fuel capacity. N2759D was transferred to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada at Mirabel. Its U.S. registration cancelled by the FAA on 17 October 1990, and it was re-registered C-GBLL by Transport Canada.

The skid-equipped Bell Model 222UT is often used as an emergency medical transport helicopter. This aircraft, operated by Mercy Air Service Inc., is standing by at Mohave Airport (MHV) in the high desert of southern California. (Unattributed)

Early problems with the Lycoming LTS-101 adversely affected sales of the Bell 222. Bell designed a new variant equipped with Allison 250-C30G engines. This helicopter was designated the Model 230. The first prototype, C-GEXP, with skid gear, made its first flight on 12 August 1991, followed by the second prototype—C-GBLL—on 3 October 1991.

Bell 230 prototype C-GBLL, minus main rotor and mast, and tail rotor, circa 1993. Compare the exhaust stacks to those of the 222UT in the image above. (Fiveprime)

The 430 prototype was given a new serial number, s/n 43901.

Bell 430 prototype C-GBLL, stripped, circa 2012. (Photograph © Pierre Gillard. Used with permission)
Bell 430 C-BCHD (s/n 43902) was the second prototype of the Model 430. This helicopter, previously registered C-GEXP, was built as a Bell 222UT, s/n 47503, before being converted to the first Model 230 prototype in 1991. (© Pierre Gillard Used with permission)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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