The Bell 206A JetRanger belongs to the Bell 206 family of two-bladed, single – and twin-engined helicopters, manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Mirabel, Quebec plant. The aircraft was originally unsuccessfully developed as the Bell YOH-4 for the United States Army’s Light Observation Helicopter program. Bell decided to redesign the airframe and the aircraft was marketed commercially as the five-place Bell 206A JetRanger.
The Bell 206L4 features a high-inertia two-bladed rotor system, while the patented suspension system delivers an extraordinarily smooth ride. The Bell 206L4 can carry up to seven passengers, very comfortably, and the club-passenger seating enables face-to-face conversations. Aside from offering exceptional product features, the Bell 206L4 is backed by Bell Helicopter‘s distinguished in-service support.
The JetRanger has been continuously manufactured since 1967. The current production model is the Model 2068-3, JetRanger III. Licensed production of the 206 also is being carried out in Italy by Agusta. There have been more than 4,500 Jet Rangers have been built to date. The JetRanger is used for news media, traffic and news reporting, air ambulance and corporate transportation.
The model is also used to transport crews to oil and natural gas rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. According to pilot and writer Mark Huber, “The turbine single-engine Model 206 JetRanger‘s popularity in the Gulf testifies to its durable, rugged, no-frills design, which delivers respectable and reliable performance at a reasonable price. Such attributes financially resonate with helicopter companies servicing the “boom and bust” offshore world, even in today’s environment of rocketing energy prices.”
In addition, the Bell 206A JetRanger is used in aerial cinematography given its versatility. The aircraft is relatively inexpensive to rent and practically all commercial camera mounts have been designed for its and. It is also the most readily obtainable helicopter worldwide and its safety and reliability record have made it the standard of the industry.
The helicopter’s simple design is said to be the key to the JetRanger‘s endurance. Morgan Kozloski, a pilot and the operations manager for Hillsboro Aviation in Oregon, who has flown Jet Rangers on a variety of missions, including power-line patrol, fish-and-game surveys and passenger tours of the Mount St. Helens volcano, says the helicopter is “bulletproof,” adding, “They just don’t break. They are just really simple machines.”
Huber says that although the used helicopter market is very tight now, you can purchase a premium 10-year-old JetRanger with a mid-life engine for roughly $500,000, nearly half the price of a new ship.
“The JetRanger has the lowest overall accident rate of any major single-engine turbine helicopter and Bell consistently ranks tops among helicopter manufacturers in the customer service and support survey in Aviation International News. The Bell JetRanger is aside from its limitations an endearing, and an enduring, value,” Huber says.
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