The Bell 47 is Back
The iconic bubble-canopied Bell 47 helicopter is coming back. Scott’s-Bell 47 announced yesterday at Heli-Expo that it will build new Bell 47 helicopters, dubbed the 47-GT6, powered by the Rolls-Royce RR300 engine. The aircraft will be built from scratch, not remanufactured, and will be based on the 47G-3B-2A type design, taking advantage of the 3,200-pound max gross weight with external load that model was originally designed for. Internal useful load will be 1,400 pounds and external load 1,650 pounds.
The 47GT-6 will also have a modern instrument panel, upgraded interior, composite main rotor blades, LED exterior lighting and modern drive train technologies.
“Right now we’re looking at a 30-month program, with flight testing starting within one year,” said company owner and president Scott Churchill.
The new 47 will be built at a recently acquired 200,000-sq-ft facility in Le Sueur, Minn. Initial production rate will be two per month, expanding to about one per week in three years, Churchill said. Deliveries are expected to commence in 2016. The company is targeting the light utility and training markets for sales.
The RR300, which can produce 300 hp for five minutes, delivers 240 maximum continuous horsepower. It will also be available for retrofit in legacy Bell 47s. As for the 47-GT6 price, “We’re doing a show special,” Scott’s said: $750,000. On April 1 the price goes to $820,000. –J.W.