Bell opened a new training airfield this week as part of the company’s training academy in Fort Worth, Texas. The Floyd Carlson Airfield is located on the corner of Trinity Boulevard and Greenbelt Road and is designed to give academy pilots and customers easy access to training fields. The airfield offers a raised landing platform and runways for normal training and emergency procedures, including full touchdown autorotations.
The field is named for famed Bell test pilot Floyd Carlson, Bell’s chief test pilot during the Bell 47 program. Carlson began flying for Bell in 1942, in a P-39D Airacobra. For more than 40 years he flew every first flight of each new Bell aircraft. During his career he logged 3,628 flight hours, of which 1,313 hours were in experimental and production helicopters. Carlson flew the first Bell 47 on Dec. 8, 1945.
More than 30 years later, the then-American Helicopter Society noted, “When Floyd W. Carlson set out to learn to fly a helicopter over 35 years ago there was no book on the procedure, so he began establishing techniques that have been used by thousands of pilots. There were no certification standards peculiar to helicopters. Carlson was instrumental in their development, including some which remain relatively unchanged today.”