Headquartered in Fort Worth Texas, Bell Helicopter (a subsidiary of US conglomerate Textron) is a leading manufacturer of rotorcraft - both commercial and military. Initially focusing on the designing and building of fixed-wing fighter aircraft when it was founded in 1935 as Bell Aircraft Corporation, Bell brought inventor Arthur M. Young onto its team to develop and research helicopters. Bell hoped that the development of rotorcraft would create a larger customer base for the company, so it would not be dependent on government contracts as it was while developing fighter jets for use during World War II (it had developed the first American fighter jet with the P-59 Airacomet).
Within just 6 months, Young and the team at Bell developed the Bell 30 in 1942, leading to the development of the iconic two-bladed, single-engine Bell 47 in 1946, the first helicopter certified for civilian use. Continually revolutionizing the aircraft industry, Bell also invented the tiltrotor aircraft, allowing aircraft to lift like a helicopter, then fly like an airplane with 2x the speed, and 3x the payload range of conventional helicopters.
Bell's current fleet of products includes:
- Commercial Helicopters (Bell 206L4, Bell407/407GT/407GX, Bell 412/412EPI, Bell 429WLG, Bell 505, Bell 525, and Bell Huey II)
- Military Helicopters (Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Bell UH-1Y Yankee, Bell AH-1Z Zulu, Bell OH-58D, and Bell V-280 Valor)