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Bell 47J Ranger
Bell 47J Ranger
Role Utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
Introduction 1956
Retired July 1967 (UH-13J)
Status Production completed
Number built 361
Unit cost
Developed from Bell 47

The Bell 47J Ranger is an American two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter that was manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It was an executive variant based on the highly successful Bell 47 and was the first helicopter to carry a United States president.

Design and development

The 47J was a four-seat variant of the earlier three-seat Bell 47H, the 47H was a deluxe variant of the 47G with a fully clad fuselage and enclosed cabin. The 47H proved to be too small and the 47J was developed. The "J" model was a single pilot aircraft with the pilot seat and controls position centered at the front of the cabin close to the 180° view unobstructed lexan "bubble" windscreen. A single bench seat at the rear of the cabin spanned its entire width and allowed for a passenger capacity limited by weight to typically 3 or 4 adults.

Operational history

In March 1957 two Bell 47Js were bought by the United States Air Force as presidential transport and designated H-13J.[1] On 13 July 1957 a H-13J was the first helicopter used by a United States president when it carried Dwight D. Eisenhower from the White House.[1] In March 1962 the two helicopters were moved from presidential duties but were used as VIP transports for the next five years until retired in July 1967.[1]


Agusta-Bell 47J Ranger at the Hellenic Air Force Museum at Dekelia (Tatoi), Athens, Greece

Agusta-Bell AB.47J3 Ranger in Italian Carabinieri markings at Pratica di Mare AFB, Italy in 2006

Bell UH-13J Sioux at the National Museum of the United States Air Force

47J Ranger
Production variant powered by a 220hp Lycoming VO-435-A1B engine.,[2] 135 built.
4J-1 Ranger
Military VIP variant as the H-13J, two built.[3]
47J-2 Ranger
Production variant with a 240hp Lycoming VO-540-B1B engine, powered controls and metal blades.,[2] 104 built.
47J-2A Ranger
Production variant with a 260hp Lycoming VO-540-B1B3 engine and a collective boost system, 75 built.
Italian built variant by Agusta-Bell.
High-altitude variant of the 47J-3
Training variant for the United States Navy, see HTL-7.[4]
United States Navy variant with a 260hp VO-435-B1B, 28 built became UH-13P in 1962.[4]
Two HUL-1s used by the United States Coast Guard, became UH-13Q in 1962.[4]
Variant of thwe HUL-1 with a 250shp YT-62-A-3 turboshaft engine, two built became UH-13R in 1962.[4]
Proposed turboshaft-powered variant, not built.[4]
Model 47K training version of the HUL-1 with a modified two-seat cockpit and a 240hp Lycoming O-435-6 engine, 18 built, later designated TH-13N in 1962.
Two Bell 47J-1 Ranger aircraft utilizing the 179 kW Lycoming VO-435-21 engine acquired for VIP transport of the U.S. President by the U.S. Air Force. Originally designated as H-13J until 1962.[2]
United States Navy variant for use aboard ice-breaking ships, Originally designated as the Navy HUL-1.
The HTL-7 re-designated in 1962.[4]
The HUL-1G re-designated in 1962.[4]
The HUL-1M re-designated in 1962.[4]


United States

Aircraft on display

  • The first UH-13J, which first carried a U.S. President, is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
  • The second UH-13J is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio in the Museum's Presidential Gallery.

Specifications (Bell 47J-2A)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66[13]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 32 ft 5 in (9.87 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 3 in (2.83 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,833 lb (831 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,950 lb (1,338 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming VO-540-B1B vertically mounted air-cooled flat-six, 260 hp (190 kW)
  • Main rotor diameter: 37 ft 2 in (11.33 m)
  • Main rotor area: 1,085 sq ft (100.8 m2)


  • Maximum speed: 105 mph (169 km/h; 91 kn) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 91 mph (79 kn; 146 km/h)
  • Range: 258 mi (224 nmi; 415 km) (no reserves)
  • Service ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,353 m)
  • Rate of climb: 870 ft/min (4.4 m/s)

See also


  • Andrade, John (1979). U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9. 
  • Donald, David (1997). The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY, NY: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5. 
  • Frawley, Gerard (2003). The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. pp. 44. ISBN 1-875671-58-7. 
  • Taylor, John W. R. (1965). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company. 

External links

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