Military Wiki
Bell 206
JetRanger / LongRanger
A LAPD Bell 206 JetRanger
Role Multipurpose Utility helicopter
National origin Canada
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter Textron
First flight December 8, 1962 (206)[1]
10 January 1966 (206A)[2]
Introduction 1967
Status In service
Produced 1962-2010
Number built 7,300[3]
Unit cost
US$900K to $1.2M[3]
Developed from Bell YOH-4
Variants OH-58 Kiowa
Panha Shabaviz 2061
Developed into Bell 407

The Bell 206 is a family of two-bladed, single- or twin-engine helicopters, manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Mirabel, Quebec plant. Originally developed as the Bell YOH-4 for the United States Army's Light Observation Helicopter program, the 206 failed to be selected. Bell redesigned the airframe and successfully marketed the aircraft commercially as the five-place Bell 206A JetRanger. The new design was eventually selected by the Army as the OH-58 Kiowa. Bell also developed a seven-place LongRanger, which was later offered with a twin-engine option as the TwinRanger, while Tridair Helicopters offers a similar conversion of the LongRanger called the Gemini ST. The ICAO-assigned model designation "B06" is used on flight plans for the JetRanger and LongRanger, and the designation "B06T" is used for the twin-engine TwinRangers.


On October 14, 1960, the United States Navy solicited response from 25 aircraft manufacturers to a request for proposals (RFP) on behalf of the Army for the Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). Bell entered the competition along with 12 other manufacturers, including Hiller Aircraft and Hughes Tool Co., Aircraft Division.[4] Bell submitted the D-250 design, which would be designated as the YHO-4.[5] On May 19, 1961, Bell and Hiller were announced as winners of the design competition.[6][7]

YOH-4A LOH in flight

Bell developed the D-250 design into the Bell 206 aircraft, redesignated as YOH-4A in 1962, and produced five prototype aircraft for the Army's test and evaluation phase. The first prototype flew on December 8, 1962.[1] The YOH-4A also became known as the Ugly Duckling in comparison to the other contending aircraft.[1] Following a flyoff of the Bell, Hughes and Fairchild-Hiller prototypes, the Hughes OH-6 was selected in May 1965.[8]

When the YOH-4A was eliminated by the Army, Bell went about solving the problem of marketing the aircraft. In addition to the image problem, the helicopter lacked cargo space and only provided cramped quarters for the planned three passengers in the back. The solution was a fuselage redesigned to be more sleek and aesthetically appealing, adding 16 cubic feet (0.45 m3) of cargo space in the process.[9] A Bell executive contributed to this redesign by drawing on a sketch two lines extending the fuselage to where it meets the tail.[10] The redesigned aircraft was designated as the Bell 206A, and Bell President Edwin J. Ducayet named it the JetRanger denoting an evolution from the popular Model 47J Ranger.

206L LongRanger

The 206L LongRanger is a stretched variant with seating for seven (the LongRanger, stretched a total of 30 inches (760 mm), adds two rear-facing seats in between the front and rear seats). Since their first delivery in 1975, Bell has produced more than 1,700 Ls across all variant types. In 1981 a military version was released, the 206L "TexasRanger". The original 206L utilized an Allison 250-C20B engine, and a series of model upgrades replaced this engine with more powerful versions; the 206L-1 used a 250-C28, and the 206L-3 and 206L-4 used the 250-C30P with 490 shaft horsepower and included twin turbine engines.[Clarification needed]

In 2007, Bell announced an upgrade program for the 206L-1 and 206L-3 which is designed to modify the aircraft to the 206L-4 configuration; modified aircraft are designated 206L-1+ and 206L-3+. Modifications include strengthened airframe structural components (including a new tailboom), improved transmission, upgraded engine for the L-1, all of which result in a max gross weight increase of 300 pounds and increased performance.[11]

On January 24, 2008, Bell Helicopter announced plans to terminate production of the Bell 206B-3 model after current order commitments were fulfilled in 2010.[12] In 2011, used 206B-3s sell for approximately up to $1.4 million depending upon the equipment and configuration.[13]

Gemini ST and TwinRanger

The TwinRanger name dates back to the mid-1980s when Bell first developed the Bell 400 TwinRanger, but it never entered production.[14]

In 1989, Tridair Helicopters began developing a twin engine conversion of the LongRanger, the Gemini ST. The prototype's first flight was on 16 January 1991, while full FAA certification was awarded in November. Certification covers the conversion of LongRanger 206L-1s, L-3s and L-4s to Gemini ST configuration.[14] In mid-1994 the Gemini ST was certificated as the first Single/Twin aircraft, allowing it to operate either as a single or twin engine aircraft throughout all phases of flight.[14]

The Bell 206LT TwinRanger was a new build production model equivalent to Tridair's Gemini ST, and was based on the 206L-4. Only thirteen 206LTs were built, the first being delivered in January 1994, and the last in 1997. The TwinRanger was replaced in Bell's line-up by the mostly-new Bell 427.[14]

Operational history

Bell 206L-4 Long Ranger IV (operated by CTV British Columbia), taking off from Vancouver Harbour helipad.

The first Bell 206A flew on January 10, 1966, and the aircraft was revealed later that month at the Helicopter Association of America (HAA) convention. On October 20, 1966, the JetRanger received full certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Delivery of the JetRanger to customers began on January 13, 1967, with the first aircraft being purchased by Harry Holly, president of the Hollymatic Company and previous owner of a Bell Ranger.[9]

In 1968, the United States Navy selected the 206A as its primary trainer, the TH-57 Sea Ranger. The Army also eventually selected the 206A for a light observation helicopter as the OH-58 Kiowa.

The basic shape and design of the JetRanger remained unchanged since 1967, but Bell introduced the 206B JetRanger II in 1971. In 1977, the 206B-3 JetRanger III was introduced with its modified tail rotor and more powerful engine. The JetRanger is popular with news media for traffic and news reporting. The LongRanger is commonly used as an air ambulance and as a corporate transport.

On September 1, 1982, pilots H. Ross Perot, Jr. and Jay Coburn took off from Dallas, Texas in the "Spirit of Texas", a Bell 206L-2 (N3911Z). 29 days and 3 hours later, they returned on September 30, 1982, completing the first around the world helicopter flight[15] making them Earthrounders.[16] In 1983, Australian Businessman Dick Smith became the first helicopter pilot to complete a solo trip around the world in 260 flight hours. During the trip, he landed his 206B-3 (S/N 3653; VH-DIK) on prepositioned container ships to refuel between Japan and the Aleutian Islands.

In 1993, the U.S. Army chose the Bell 206B-3 as the winner of the New Training Helicopter competition, to serve as its primary training helicopter, the TH-67 Creek.

On July 22, 1994, Ron Bower landed his 206B-3 (N206AJ) at Hurst, Texas, completing a new world record, around the world flight. Bower had departed on June 24, 1994 and returned 24 days, 4 hours, 36 minutes and 24 seconds later, averaging 35.62 knots (40.99 mph, 65.97 km/h).[17] Bower had added a 91-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, which doubled the JetRanger III's range.[18]


A Bell 206L-3

Bell 206B-3


  • Bell 206 - Five (5) YOH-4A prototypes, for flight evaluation in the Army's LOH program (1963).
  • Bell 206A - Initial production version, powered by an Allison 250-C18 turboshaft engine. FAA-certified in 1966. Selected as the OH-58A Kiowa in 1968.
    • Agusta-Bell 206A - License-built in Italy
  • Bell 206A-1 - OH-58A aircraft that are reverse-modified for FAA civil certification.[19]
  • Agusta-Bell 206A-1 - License-built in Italy
  • Bell 206B - Upgraded Allison 250-C20 engine.[20]
    • Agusta-Bell 206B - License-built in Italy
  • Bell 206B-2 - Bell 206B models upgraded with Bell 206B-3 improvements.[20]
  • Bell 206B-3 - Upgraded Allison 250-C20J engine and added 2 inches (51 mm) to tail rotor diameter for yaw control.[20]
  • Bell 206L LongRanger - Stretched, seven seat configuration, powered by an Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engine.
    • Agusta-Bell 206L LongRanger — License-built in Italy
  • Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II - Higher-powered version, powered by an Allison 250-C28 turboshaft engine.
    • Agusta-Bell 206L-1 - License-built in Italy.
  • Bell 206L-1+ LongRanger - Bell modifications, including 250-C30P engine, to upgrade aircraft to 206L-4 configuration.
  • Bell 206L-3 LongRanger III - Powered by an Allison 250-C30P turboshaft engine.
    • Agusta-Bell 206L-3 - License-built in Italy.
  • Bell 206L-3+ LongRanger - Bell modifications to upgrade aircraft to 206L-4 configuration.
  • Bell 206L-4 LongRanger IV - Improved version, 250-C30P engine and transmission upgrade.
  • Bell 206LT TwinRanger - Twin-engined conversions and new-builds of the 206L; replaced by the Bell 427.
  • Bell 407 - based on the 206L with four-bladed rotor system
  • Bell 417 - upgraded 407 with bigger engine; project cancelled.


Bell 206L TexasRanger in 1981

US Navy TH-57C

Bell 206AS
Export version for the Chilean Navy.
Bell CH-139 JetRanger
Canadian military designation for the Bell 206B-3.
OH-58 Kiowa
Light observation helicopter that replaced the OH-6A Cayuse.
TH-57A Sea Ranger
40 commercial Bell 206A aircraft purchased as the primary U.S. Navy helicopter trainer in January 1968 for training prospective U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and select NATO/Allied helicopter pilots.[21]
206L TexasRanger
proposed export military version, only a demonstrator was built in 1981.
45 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1989 as replacements for the TH-57A for primary training under visual flight rules.
71 commercial Bell 206B-3 helicopters purchased by the U.S. Navy beginning prior to 1985 with cockpits configured for advanced training under instrument flight rules.
Planned upgrade program to convert U.S. Navy TH-57B and TH-57C aircraft to a single standard digital cockpit.[22]
TH-67 Creek
137 commercial Bell 206B-3 purchased in 1993 as the primary and instrument helicopter trainer for the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama. 35 in VFR configuration and 102 in IFR configuration. The U.S. Army currently has 181 of which 121 are in VFR configuration and 60 are in IFR configuration. All TH-67 display U.S. registrations ("N" numbers) and are operated as public use aircraft.


Military operators of the Bell 206 as of 2006

Bell 206A Jet Ranger, built 1967

Bulgarian Bell-206

Bell 206B Jet Ranger III at Filton Airfield, Bristol, England. Used for electricity pylon patrols.

TH-67A Creek of the U.S. Army


The Bell 206 has been popular all types of uses both commercial and private.

Military and government

  • Latvian State Border Guard[49]
  • Macedonian police[50]
 Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • Serbian Ministry of the Interior[54]
United States

Former military and government


Specifications (206B-L4)

File:HeliJet Bell 206L-1 Long Ranger II at Vancouver Harbour.jpg

Bell 206B JetRanger taking off from Vancouver Harbour HeliJet pad.

Data from Bell 206B-L4 specifications[66][67]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 39 ft 8 in (12.11 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.83 m)
  • Disc area: 872 ft² (81.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,713 lb (777 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 3,200 lb (1,451 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison 250-C20B turboshaft, 450 shp; derated to 317 shp due to drivetrain limitations (310 kW)


  • Never exceed speed: 130 knots (241 km/h, 150 mph)
  • Maximum speed: 120 knots (222 km/h, 138 mph)
  • Range: 374 nmi (430 mi, 693 km)
  • Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,115 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,350 ft/min (6.9 m/s)
  • Disc loading: 4 lb/ft² (177 N/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.26 hp/lb (420 W/kg)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Visschedijk, Johan. "Bell 206 JetRanger". 16 October 2003. Accessed on 19 September 2006. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "1000photos-1" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Donald, David, ed. "Bell 206". The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Barnes & Nobel Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bell 206 JetRanger., July 9, 2005. Retrieved: December 2009
  4. Remington, Steve. "The Cessna CH-1 Helicopter".
  5. Beechy, Robert. "U.S Army Aircraft Acquisition Programs". Uncommon Aircraft 2006, November 18, 2005. Accessed on 19 September 2006.
  6. See Light Observation Helicopter. The Navy, who was assisting the Army in the selection phase, recommended the Hiller Model 1100, while the Army team preferred the Bell D-250, and then the 1100. The Selection Board selected both aircraft. Afterwards, the acting Army Chief of Staff directed the Selection Board to include the Hughes 369 in the fly-off competition.
  7. Spangenberg, George A. George A. Spangenberg Oral History. Judith Spangenberg-Currier, ed. pp. 187-190. Accessed on April 29, 2008.
  8. Spenser, Jay P. "Bell Helicopter". Whirlybirds, A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers, p. 263. University of Washington Press, 1998. ISBN 0-295-98058-3.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Aastad, Andy. "The Introduction to the JetRanger". Rotor Magazine. Helicopter Association International. Winter 2006-2007. Accessed on 29 April 2008.
  10. George Larson "Farewell to an Icon: the Bell JetRanger 206". Aviation Week blog, January 25, 2008.
  11. Kocurek, Mark. "206L Upgrade Program", Rotorbreeze Magazine Bell Helicopter, July 2007.
  12. Bell Product Line Streamlined. Bell Helicopter, January 24, 2008.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Frawley, Gerard: The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, p. 43. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
  15. List of records established by the '206L-2 Long Ranger'". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
  16. "Chronological listing of all known flights around the World". Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  17. "List of records established by the '206B-3 Jet Ranger III'". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
  18. Kocks, Kathleen. "Around the World in 24 days, 4:36:24". Rotor & Wing. October 1994. Accessed on October 19, 2008.
  19. "TYPE CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET NO. H2SW, Revision 42". Federal Aviation Administration( 2006-06-27. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Ron and Shannon Bower (2003-05-01). "Bell 206:Still Ringing True". Aviation Today ( 
  21. [1]
  22. [2]
  23. "Albania Air Force Aircraft Types". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  24. "Argentine Army acquire 20 AB206s from Italian Carabinieri". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  25. "Army Bell 206B Jetranger III AE-366". © 2006-2013 Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  26. "Bangladesh Army Arms Histories". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  27. "Bangladesh Army Aviation Accepts Two Dauphin Helicopters". malaysiaflyingherald .com. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  28. "BANGLADESH AIR FORCE ACADEMY (BAFA)". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  29. "Brazilian Naval Aviation". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  30. "N-5054 Brazilian Navy Bell 206". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  31. "BULGARIA". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  32. "Bulgarian Bell-206B-3-JetRanger". Demand media. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  33. "Bell CH-139 JET RANGER". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  34. "Canada Wings Training Center". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  35. "Chile Air Force Unit History". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  36. "Chile AF Bell-206B-JetRange". Demand media. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  37. "Order of Battle - Chile". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  38. "Bell 206B JetRanger". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  39. "Air Combat Command No. 4 - CACOM". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  40. "Croatia Air Force". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  41. "Croatian Air Force Bell 206". Demand media. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  42. [ttp:// "combat fleet of the world"]. ttp:// Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  43. "EQDR. Navy Bell 206". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  44. "The government today ordered the Finance Ministry to allocate the State Border Guard LVL 0.84 million from the budget's emergency funds for the procurement of two helicopters". © 1996- 2010 The Baltic Course. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  45. "Iran Air Force". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  46. "Elbit to continue supporting Israeli Air Force’s Flight Academy". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  47. "Esercito AB 206". © 2011 Sito ufficiale dell'Esercito. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  48. "Agusta-AB-206C". Demand media. Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  49. "Government allots LVL 0.84 mln for buying helicopters for the Border Guard". The Baltic Course. November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  50. "Macedonia Civil Police". Retrieved 310-July-2013. 
  51. "Aztec Rotors - Helicopters of Mexican Air Force". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  52. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  53. "Bell Textron Canada TH-67A Creek". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  54. "Serbian Interior Ministry Air Wing". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  55. "Air Force of the Slovenian Army". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  56. "Royal Thai Army". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  57. "Turkey Army Aviation". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  58. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  59. "Bell Textron TH-67 Creek Training Helicopter". 1998-2013 by Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  60. "TH-57 Sea Ranger". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  61. "Navy of Venezuela". Retrieved 29-January-2013. 
  63. "JDF "Rotary wing" previous fleet". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  64. "Air Wing, Armed Forces of Malta". Retrieved 26-January-2013. 
  65. 65.0 65.1 "HKP 6 - Agusta Bell 206A JetRanger (1968-2004)". Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  66. "Bell 206 L4 Product Specifications" (PDF). Bell Helicopter. February 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  67. "Bell 206 L4 specifications" (PDF). Bell Helicopter. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).