BELL® 206® Jet Ranger & Long Ranger History
Some history on the BELL® JetRanger & LongRanger.
The BELL® 206® series Helicopter is the light, single-engine helicopter that nest year marks its 45th anniversary.
The 206® is now the backbone of the civil fleet and is the starter for generations of pilots in turbine-powered flight. It is an adaptable, safe, reliable and predictable aircraft.
Many pilots and other people have articulated their fondness to the manufacturer and the design that has been a part of the aviation world longer than many of the people who fly it have been alive.
In 1967, BELL® produced the first manufactured versions of “the JetRanger”.
The US Army has since designated the 206® for their turbine helicopter trainer crafts, as well as in other nations.
The JetRanger’s popularity started to grow and people wanted a bigger seating capacity. BELL® stretched the cabin 18 in. The total stretch was 30 in, including a 12-in section in the tail boom.) BELL® added two rear-facing passenger seats and a eventually a beefier engine. Designers jokingly referred to the modified 206B as the "long ranger." The name stuck, and in October 1975 the company delivered its first 206L LongRanger. The LongRanger initially used the same engine as the JetRanger, the 429-shp Allison 250-C20B. However this engine was not big enough for the larger aircraft.
Following this, in 1978, the second LongRanger version was certified with a 500-shp Allison 250-C28. And in 1981, the third version was given a still more powerful engine, the 250-C30P.
In 1992, BELL® introduced the 206L-4 LongRanger IV with an identical airframe, but a transmission rated to 490 SHP. That allowed an increase in the MGW to 4,450 lb.
The 206® fleet has more than 55 million flying assignments including emergency medical, offshore, and homeland security. The primary reasons people buy a 206® are "the simplicity of the aircraft, its reliability, its ease of training, as well as the direct operating costs," said Bob Fitzpatrick, Bell®’s senior vice president of business development.
BELL® today is building the L-4 in Canada.
The LongRanger is a very reliable aircraft and flies more smoothly that a JetRanger. This is because the LongRanger has a nodal beam absorption system (like a shock absorber) dampening vibrations.
Since 1967, BELL® has produced more than 4,800 206A/B’s and 1,700 206L’s for civil and military customers, making the 206® arguably the most popular turbine helicopter ever built. Tens of thousands of pilots have flown them over the past four decades.