Bell Textron


Bell Textron Inc.
  • Bell Helicopter Company
  • Bell Helicopter Textron
  • Bell Helicopter
PredecessorBell Aircraft
Founded1960; 61 years ago (1960)
Key people
Mitch Snyder (President & CEO)
Footnotes / references

Bell Textron Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. A subsidiary of Textron, Bell manufactures military rotorcraft at facilities in Fort Worth, and Amarillo, Texas, as well as commercial helicopters in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada.


Bell Aircraft

The company was founded on July 10, 1935, as Bell Aircraft Corporation by Lawrence Dale Bell in Buffalo, New York. The company focused on the designing and building of fighter aircraft. Their first fighters were the XFM-1 Airacuda, a twin-engine fighter for attacking bombers, and the P-39 Airacobra. The P-59 Airacomet, the first American jet fighter, the P-63 Kingcobra, the successor to the P-39, and the Bell X-1 were also Bell products.[2]

The Bell 47 is displayed at the MoMA
Previous Bell logo

In 1941, Bell hired Arthur M. Young, a talented inventor, to provide expertise for helicopter research and development. It was the foundation for what Bell hoped would be a broader economic base for his company that was not dependent on government contracts. The Bell 30 was their first full-size helicopter (first flight December 29, 1942) and the Bell 47 became the first helicopter in the world rated by a civil aviation authority, becoming a civilian and military success.[2]

Bell Helicopter

Textron purchased Bell Aerospace in 1960. Bell Aerospace was composed of three divisions of Bell Aircraft Corporation, including its helicopter division, which had become its only division still producing complete aircraft. The helicopter division was renamed Bell Helicopter Company and in a few years, with the success of the UH-1 Huey during the Vietnam War, it had established itself as the largest division of Textron. In January 1976, Textron changed the division's name to Bell Helicopter Textron.[3]

Bell Helicopter had a close association with AgustaWestland. The partnership dated back to separate manufacturing and technology agreements with Agusta (Bell 47 and Bell 206) and as a sublicence via Agusta with Westland (Bell 47).[4] When the two European firms merged, the partnerships were retained, with the exception of the AB139, which is now known as the AW139. Bell and AW cooperated also on the AW609 tiltrotor.[5]

Bell planned to reduce employment by 760 in 2014 as fewer V-22s were made.[5] A rapid prototyping center called XworX assists Bell's other divisions in reducing development time.[6]

The company was rebranded as "Bell" on February 22, 2018.[7]

Product list

Bell 206B JetRanger III
Comparison of the Bell 212 (U.S. Navy HH-1N) and 412 (Mercy Air) at the Mojave Airport
Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 helicopter of the UK Defence Helicopter Flying School
Bell Nexus ‘Air Taxi’ at Smithsonian 2021
Bell Nexus ‘Air Taxi’ at Smithsonian 2021

Commercial helicopters

Model Intro. Until MTOW (lb/t) Notes
Bell 47 1946 1974 2,950 1.34 based on the Bell 30 prototype, piston engine
Bell 47J Ranger 1956 1967 2,950 1.34 Bell 47 executive variant
Bell 204/205 1959 1980s 9,500 4.31 Huey family civil variant, single turboshaft
Bell 206 1967 2017 3,200 1.45 light single or twin turboshaft
Bell 210 ? ? 11,200 5.08 205B
Bell 212 1968 1998 11,200 5.08 Civilian UH-1N Twin Huey
Bell 214 1972 1981 15,000 6.8 larger Huey
Bell 214ST 1982 1993 17,500 7.94 medium twin derived from the 214
Bell 222/230 1979 1995 8,400 3.81 light twin
Bell 407 1995 current 6,000 2.72 four-blade single derived from the 206L-4
Bell 412 1981 current 11,900 5.4 four-blade 212
Bell 427 2000 2010 6,550 2.97 407 derived light twin
Bell 429 GlobalRanger 2009 current 7,000 3.2 lengthened 427
Bell 430 1995 2008 9,300 4.22 222/230 stretch
Bell 525 Relentless 2018 current 20,500 9.3 in development
Bell 505 Jet Ranger X 2017 current 3,680 1.67 206 development
Bell Nexus 2020 current TBD TBD pre-production hybrid-electric propulsion system with six tilting ducted fans[8][9][10]
Bell Nexus ‘Air Taxi’ at Smithsonian 2021
Bell Nexus ‘Air Taxi’ at Smithsonian 2021

Established in 1986, its Mirabel, Quebec facility assembles and delivers most Bell's commercial helicopters and delivered its 5,000th helicopter on December 12, 2017.[11]

Military helicopters


V-22 in flight
V-280 in flight
  • Bell XV-3
  • Bell XV-15
  • Bell Pointer
  • Bell V-247 Vigilant – currently in development
  • Bell V-280 Valor – currently in development, first flown 2017
  • V-22 Osprey – with Boeing BDS
  • TR918 Eagle Eye UAV
  • Quad TiltRotor – with Boeing BDS
  • Bell BAT (1984 tiltrotor project for LHX programme – not built)
  • Bell CTR-1900 (Tilt-rotor project only – not built)
  • Bell CTR-22 (Tilt-rotor project only – not built)
  • Bell CTR-750 (Tilt-rotor project only – not built)
  • Bell CTR-800 (Tilt-rotor project only – not built)
  • Bell D-326 (Clipper 1980 commercial tilt-rotor project – not built)

Projects produced by other companies

Unproduced designs


Bell manufacturing and support facilities are:


See also


  1. ^ "About Textron: Our Businesses". October 21, 2015.
  2. ^ a b History of Bell Helicopter Archived June 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Our History". Bell Training Academy. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  4. ^ "Westland History – Part 4".
  5. ^ a b Oliver Johnson & Elan Head. "Bell CEO outlines European growth plan" Vertical, October 15, 2014. Accessed: October 21, 2014.
  6. ^ "Bell's XworX studying improved rotor blades". Aviation International News.
  7. ^ "Bell Drops 'Helicopter,' Unveils New Dragonfly Logo".
  8. ^ "StackPath". Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Michael. "Bell Nexus VTOL Air Taxi Makes A Splash At 2019 Consumer Electronics Show". Forbes. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Smithsonian To Reveal the Bell Nexus 'Air Taxi' at "FUTURES"". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  11. ^ Mark Huber (December 13, 2017). "Bell Canada Delivers 5,000th Civil Helicopter". AIN.
  12. ^ "Bell Helicopter Expands Amarillo Manufacturing". Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Canada, Employment and Social Development (May 19, 2016). "Bell Helicopter Textron Canada relocates assembly program to Quebec". gcnws. Retrieved December 9, 2020.

External links

  • Official website
  • Bell timeline at the Helicopter History Site
  • Video history of Bell Helicopter
  • "Patents owned by Bell Helicopter Textron". US Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved December 5, 2005.