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The Bell 205 (UH-1): Highly Reliable, Stable and Manoeuvrable

The Bell 205 (UH-1) belongs to the family of a utility military helicopters powered by a single turboshaft engine, with two-blade main and tail rotors. A member of the inexhaustible Huey family, it was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet US Army requirements for medical evacuation and utility helicopters. The first UH-1 flew in 1956 and was the first turbine-powered helicopter to begin production in 1960 for the US military. Since then, more than 16,000 have been built.

The Bell 205 (UH-1), was originally designated HU-1, in reference to the Huey nickname, which is still in common use, despite its official designation as UH-1 in 1962. The Bell 205 (UH-1) first saw service in combat operations during the Vietnam War, when nearly 7,000 helicopters were deployed. The Bell 204 and 205 are Iroquois versions designed for the civil market.

According to Aviator Magazine, “Many civilian operators have also come to recognize the Bell 205 and Bell 205A1’s immensely practical design, power and ease of handling and, consequently, the type has been used for Search and Rescue (SAR), aerial firefighting, air ambulance and aerial crane work, to name just a few roles.”

While former “short-bodyHueys were successful, the Army required a model that could transport more troops. Bell’s answer was to stretch the HU-1B fuselage by 41 inches and use the extra space to install four seats next to the transmission, facing out. The seating capacity, therefore, increased to 15, including crew. The larger cabin could also contain six stretchers and a medic, two more than the previous models. Instead of the prior model’s sliding side doors with a single window, larger doors were attached which had two windows, as well as a small hinged panel with an elective window, delivering improved access to the cabin. The doors and hinged panels were quickly detachable, enabling the Huey to fly in a “doors off” configuration.

The Model 205 prototype flew on 16 August 1961. Before that, seven pre-production/prototype aircraft had been supplied for testing at Edwards AFB starting in March 1961. The 205 was originally outfitted with a 44-foot main rotor and a Lycoming T53-L-9 engine with 1,100 shp. The rotor was elongated to 48 feet with a chord of 21 inches. The tail boom was also prolonged to fit the longer rotor blades. Overall, the modifications resulted in a gross weight capacity of 9,500 pounds. The Army requested production of the 205 in 1963, manufactured with a T53-L-11 engine for its multi-fuel capability. The prototypes were designated as YUH-1D and the production aircraft was designated as the UH-1D.

It’s a very reliable and rugged helicopter which has been used for firefighting, media, EMS, photography, mining, as well as offshore supply work,” says Captain Roger De Souza, who works for Helicorp“. “It’s highly reliable, very stable and relatively maneuverable and with an MTOW of 10200lb, can be used as a lifting machine for sling work, as well as a fire-bomber.”

In 1966, Bell installed the 1,400 shp Lycoming T53-L-13 engine to supply more power to the aircraft. The pitot tube was moved from the nose to the roof of the cockpit, to avoid damage during landing.

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The Bell 205 (UH-1): Highly Reliable, Stable and Manoeuvrable


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