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helojim39

The Death of the Bell 47

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A friend of mine, who is a helicopter mechanic, recently told me that the price of a new main rotor blade for a 47G5 is $179,500 each from Bell. And tail rotor blades are $10,000 each. If this is true, and my friend is usually "right on", I don't see how anyone can afford to operate a 47 and it is still probably the most commonly used helicopter for agricultural spraying, followed by 206's and OH58's. I can't see the R44 Robinson becoming a viable replacement for the 47 but I guess time will tell.

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I can remember many, many years ago when the first tail rotor AD came out on the 47. Everyone said it was the end of the 47. And here it is 30 plus years later, it is still chugging away. The 47 fills a niche that not much else can. So it will be like the tail rotors, someone will come in and make new blades and quite possibly better blades for the 47.

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The one I fly (on very rare occasions) has wood main blades. The wood blades have NO time limit, just repair/replace upon inspection. I couldnt even tell you how old the ones we have are, probably over 40 years now. Send em to Texas for a strip, paint and balance, and they are good until the next overhaul.

 

Funny, with all the technologies out there, wood holds up better so far.

 

Fly safe,

 

Goldy

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The 47 D1 I used to fly had wood blades as well with no time limit only inspections and I think they were originals from 1952 or possibly replaced once. I have seen the super expensive composite blades on a 47 G3 and they look like the blades on an A-star. The school I used to attend in California is working with Bell to get set up for assembling bell 47's from parts to start popping more out again. Personally I would love to see that. Maybe more people are in the same boat and will make parts, including blades, easier to obtain.

The bell 47 is primitive but is really a sweet ship for late 40's and early 50's technology. I like it generally more than the robbie 22 or s 300 by far when it comes to flying enjoyment. Autos are like comparing a new lincoln town car to an 80's vw rabbit, the rotor inertia is incredible.... more like a "real" helicopter I am told.

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Does anyone else find it amazing, and a bit sad, that we're still tinkering with 50's era helicopters?

 

Who around here drives a Ford Galaxy?

 

Sigh... It pains me to see what a new helicopter costs, and what old technology goes into them.

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Does anyone else find it amazing, and a bit sad, that we're still tinkering with 50's era helicopters?

 

Who around here drives a Ford Galaxy?

 

Sigh... It pains me to see what a new helicopter costs, and what old technology goes into them.

 

 

what piston aircraft is not 50s tech?? freekin crazy. all pushrod engines and mechanical fuel injection. aviation is so far behind the times. its so hard and spendy to get anything approved. and the old stuff works great, the best example ever, the 47! it will never die!!

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That's what they said about the Hiller 12E, But now I hear it's been sold to a firm in China, so we should be able to buy one at Walmart in a couple of years.

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Does anyone else find it amazing, and a bit sad, that we're still tinkering with 50's era helicopters?

 

Who around here drives a Ford Galaxy?

 

Sigh... It pains me to see what a new helicopter costs, and what old technology goes into them.

 

Hey whenever my Mustang was under repair, I drove my dad's Ford Galaxy !! So be careful there!

 

I like the 65 Mustang better, just for the record.

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That's what they said about the Hiller 12E, But now I hear it's been sold to a firm in China, so we should be able to buy one at Walmart in a couple of years.

 

Lets hope! Maybe we can get some Hiller support then. <_<

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Brantly Helicopters was a Texas company, now gone to the Chinese too. I figure they are planning to move the factory to China one day. Time will tell....

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Hey whenever my Mustang was under repair, I drove my dad's Ford Galaxy !! So be careful there!

 

I like the 65 Mustang better, just for the record.

69 Mach1 428CJ

 

Jerry

post-7858-1237313684_thumb.jpg

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Mechanic, Brantly has indeed been sold to the Chinese. Right now they are still building 8-10 a year in Vernon, the last time I heard. If you ever have a chance, get yourself an hour or two in one. They are really pretty nice little ships.

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Helo-Pilot,

 

I was wanting a new one, but now since the price increase and possibly moving to China, I am thinkin Enstrom, Hiller, or R44 when and IF I get to a point to buy one.

 

A business venture is starting to come together, so, I am not sure how long before I can purchase one.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info. I check the Brantly.info site time to time, too.

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Mechanic, Brantly has indeed been sold to the Chinese. Right now they are still building 8-10 a year in Vernon, the last time I heard. If you ever have a chance, get yourself an hour or two in one. They are really pretty nice little ships.

 

I heard the Brantlys are extremely underpowered...true?

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Mechanic, if you ever get to Fort Worth, look me up and we'll see about getting you an hour or two in one.

 

Thanks, will keep that in mind.

 

Later

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I heard the Brantlys are extremely underpowered...true?

 

The biggest thing I've heard from a school owner that used them was that in a hover they would overheat pretty quick. I am thinking they had B2 and B2a's. In the B2b I hear they added a cooling fan to resolve the issue. He never mentioned power problems. Some say they have lower TRA. You can install the Brantly 305 tailrotor blades for an improvement in TRA from what I have learned. And, if you can find a set to install. One guy/owner said the tailrotor is not rigged proper if the TRA is lacking. I have seen a bunch of conflicting info over the years.

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The one I tried lacked a certain something cut half a field of corn trying to gain hight

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As with any small helicopter, you will get to a point where you become power limited. With that being said, I left the other day, with myself (215) and another (253), with 15 gallons and 25lbs in the baggage compartment. CG was a bit forward, but not too excessive. We left the hanger, taxied to the taxiway, where we did a final check, and by the time we crossed the active we were climbing out at a respectable roc. We easily cleared the row of trees across from the runway with 70 feet or better.

 

 

The B2b does have a set of cooling fans that draw air through the oil cooler and fom the engine compartment. They are belt driven off of the transmission.

 

Is it EXTREMELY underpowered? I dont think so. But, when I load up with fuel, and two fat guys, I can't do confined area work.

 

Lack of tail rotor authority? So far, I can't say that I think it is lacking. I do have a good bit of left pedal in when hovering. At least more so that the 300C I fly. But, I have not had a bad problem, even considering the winds we have had lately. Of course, I also don't make a habit trying to hold it 90* to winds that are 15G21.

 

So, is the B2b the perfect helicopter. No. It has its issues just like any other helicopter. I have been flying this one for some time now, and enjoy it more and more with each flight. I like that fact that it has a baggage compartment. Its great to be able to put a few things into it and still take off on a x-country. CG is nice too. It remains relatively unaffected by fuel burn, because the tanks are under the seat, and are somewhat 'bowl' shaped.

 

Sorry for the rant. Thanks for listening, John

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The only thing that is clear to me is that Bell Helicopter has been distancing itself from the 47 model for quite some time. By increasing the costs of required components to such absurd levels guarantees Bell that they can effectively rid themselves of the pesky 47 owners. I often wonder if it due to bean counters or legal worry-warts who fear that "something bad" could come from further support for the 47 owners. With over 700 still flying and many more undergoing restoration and even more just sitting in storage, I believe the Bell 47 will live on, not because of sentiment or nostalgia, but due to the quality inherent in the aircraft and the desirability for an affordable stable helicopter. It seems that with modern technology using CNC machines, composite materials, unbelievably fantastic paints, better alloys, and a host of other improvements, why can't parts still be made available at reasonable prices? I am personally aware of two companies which are presently working on producing certified main rotor blades for the 47 to fill the need. Some small companies are producing improved main rotor grips, bubble canopies, doors, etc...

 

My point being that the Bell 47 will live on

 

 

 

 

Jim

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I don't know how to post the link, but Bell announced that the 47 certificate now belongs to Scott's Helicopters in Le Sueur Mn. It will now be known as the Scott's/Bell 47. He's a pretty small operator. I used to work for him. www.pprune. org has it under the Bell 47 thread.

It's also on the Bell web site. Wow is all I can say. As Mark Twain said "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

Edited by helonorth

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Wow, thats some interesting news. I wonder what his plans are? If he could use some technology and better materials to make the ship lighter, that would be great. I'm always watching max power trying to get airborne in one, I would love the same ship with a little better fuel efficiency and 300 pounds lighter! Little more forward speed wouldnt hurt either!

 

But, they are built like a tank. If someone told me I had to crash in a ship tomorrow, and I could pick which ship to be flying in.....I would be walking past the R44 on the flight line!

 

Goldy

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Wow, thats some interesting news. I wonder what his plans are? If he could use some technology and better materials to make the ship lighter, that would be great. I'm always watching max power trying to get airborne in one, I would love the same ship with a little better fuel efficiency and 300 pounds lighter! Little more forward speed wouldnt hurt either!

 

But, they are built like a tank. If someone told me I had to crash in a ship tomorrow, and I could pick which ship to be flying in.....I would be walking past the R44 on the flight line!

 

Goldy

 

Step up to a G3-B2 if ya want more power!! :P

 

That D1 is already at least 200lbs lighter then my C model Hiller, with the same engine and blades too... <_<

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I don't know how to post the link, but Bell announced that the 47 certificate now belongs to Scott's Helicopters in Le Sueur Mn. It will now be known as the Scott's/Bell 47. He's a pretty small operator. I used to work for him. www.pprune. org has it under the Bell 47 thread.

It's also on the Bell web site. Wow is all I can say. As Mark Twain said "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

 

Last time I counted and this was several years ago now, scotts had over 60 data plates regestered to them, I don't know where all of the machines are but they are not at their main facility. :huh:

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