The Bell 206 Jet Ranger – The History
The Bell 206 Jet Ranger belongs within the family of two-bladed, single and twin-engine helicopters.
They are manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Plant in Mirabel, Quebec. The Bell 206 was also license-built in Italy by Agusta (Agusta-Bell 206).
These helicopters were originally developed for the United States Army for the it’s Light Observation Helicopter program but was not originally selected, so Bell redesigned the airframe and successfully marketed the aircraft commercially as the five-place Bell 206 Jet Ranger.
First deliveries of Bell 206 started in 1967. The U.S. Navy purchased the 206A in 1968 as a helicopter trainer; this became the TH-57 Sea Ranger.
The new design was later selected by the Army as the OH-58 Kiowa in 1969. In the mid-1990s, the Army also selected the 206 as their primary helicopter trainer to replace the Huey, and this VFR/IFR trainer was designated TH-67 Creek.
The Bell 206 Jet Ranger – It’s Popularity
Well over 7,000 Bell 206 helicopters have been produced since 1967, including both civil and military versions – outnumbering any other commercial helicopter. The Bell 206 Jet Ranger has served in military or law enforcement roles in over 40 countries.
The Bell 206 with the Allison (now Rolls Royce) engines give it the best single-engine safety record for helicopters.
Over the years, Bell has made numerous improvements to this popular helicopter but still, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger has the lowest overall accident rate of any major single-engine turbine helicopter!