When it comes to flying, these days the options available are endless- from jumbo planes, to supersonic jets, hot air balloons and blimps. However, when it comes to scenic flightsnothing offers more flexibility than the humble helicopter.
Perhaps one of the most famous and recognisable models in the world is the Bell Helicopter.
Invented by Larry Bell and designed by Arthur M. Young in 1943, the Bell 47 rolled out in December 1945. It was the first mass produced helicopter and was certified for civilian use in 1946.
During the Korean War in the early 1950’s, Bell Helicopters gained international recognition and respect. By war’s end, helicopters had evacuated 20,000 wounded men from the battle- field, 85 % of them were carried out in Bell 47’s.
Thanks to the hit television series, M*A*S*H, about a US army medical unit serving in the Korean War and featuring the Bell H-13 Sioux light helicopter, the model gained Hollywood status!
In 1984 a Bell 47D-1 was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York where it is suspended above the entrance to the Architecture and Design Wing.
There are hundreds of original Bells still flying today, engaged in everything from emergency medical evacuations, oil and gas exploration and tourism.
Because of the helicopter’s flexibility in terms of flying height and landing locations, Bells are often the helicopters of choice for scenic flights.
This ability to fly in any direction, allows passengers more options when it comes to choosing points of interest. Unlike other aircraft, a helicopter has the ability to gracefully swing between heights, as low as six inches and as high as sixty. That means hovering above a mountain range, before landing for lunch, are all possible during a scenic helicopter flight.
The helicopter’s vast cockpit also offers passengers spectacular views of the landscape below. Boasting a more spacious interior than similar models, the Bell offers passengers a more comfortable flying experience. Being able to chat to the pilot during the journey also makes a helicopter tour a far more personal experience.