The Bell Helicopter Records document seventy-one years of aviation history, including aircraft development and testing, military contracts, civil aviation, corporate life, and the growth of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford area of Dallas-Fort Worth. The majority of the collection is composed on audio-visual recordings and photographic negatives. The collection also contains office records such as memoranda, press releases, ad scripts, reports, and presentation text, many of these created by former executives of Bell Helicopter. The collection also contains a reference library of aircraft specifications, maintenance and user manuals, and promotional material that had been built and maintained by Bell Helicopter over several decades for the use of its employees.
The bulk of the helicopter information in these records concerns Bell’s military aircraft, though there is also significant coverage of its civilian craft, particularly the Model 47 (the first commercial helicopter certified by the FAA), the Bell 222 twin-engine light helicopter, the 206 family (including TwinRanger, LongRanger, and JetRanger variants), the 214 and 214ST medium lift helicopters, and the four-blade Bell 407 frequently used by law enforcement and news organizations.
A particular area of focus for this collection is the UH-1, or Huey, helicopter. A staple of the Vietnam War, over 7,000 Hueys were built at the Hurst, TX facility for use in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975. The collection documents the development and rollout of the experimental YH-40 model, the UH-1D and UH-1H troop transport models, the UH-1C attack helicopter, the UH-1E Marine Corps variant, and the twin-engine UH-1N, as well as other models in the Huey family.
Other military helicopters documented in this collection include the H-13 Sioux light observation helicopter (used during the Korean War), the Bell 207 Sioux Scout, the AH-1 Cobra and SuperCobra attack helicopters, and the OH58 Kiowa and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior observation helicopters.
Much of the collection covers Bell Helicopter’s role in the development of tiltrotor aircraft. This coverage includes early test flights of the XV-3 in the 1950s, the development and testing of the XV-15 in the 1970s and 1980s, and the rollout of the V-22 Osprey in 1989. The V-22 is extensively documented in photographs, promotional material, and press releases about the development of the aircraft.
Series 1: Audio/Visual Materials, 1944-2011
Series 2: Executive Files
Series 3: Reference Library
Series 4: Sales Records
Series 5: Public Relations
Series 6: Aircraft Files
Series 7: Image Files
Series 8: Flat Files
Series 9: Accruals