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Bell Helicopter Records, 1944-2011 | University of North Texas Special Collections

By Robert Lay, Sam Ivie, Amanda Montgomery, Savannah Bruce, Connor Flowers, Morgan Sisk, and Trista Neeley

Collection Overview

Title: Bell Helicopter Records, 1944-2011Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates:1980-2000
ID: 01/AR0836
Primary Creator: Bell Helicopter Textron (1935-)
Extent: 318.0 Linear Feet
Arrangement: The Bell Helicopter Records are an extensive and highly organized collection; it has been divided into nine series and eleven sub-series to reflect different offices of origin and/or intended function of the records contained therein. Each series or sub-series may feature a different level of description or system of arrangement as appropriate to the content. In general, audio/visual recordings are listed at the item level, manuscripts at the folder level, and negatives at the box level. Researchers are highly encouraged to refer to the Box and Folder Listing below for a more complete description of the scope and content of each series and sub-series.
Date Acquired: 11/00/2014. More info below under Accruals.
Subjects: Bell, Lawrence Dale, Military helicopters--Huey (Helicopter), Military helicopters--HueyCobra, Military helicopters--UH-1 (Helicopter), United States--History--Vietnam War, 1961-1975, Young, Arthur M.
Languages: English

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Abstract

The Bell Helicopter Records document seventy-one years of Bell Helicopter Textron's corporate history. The collection includes manuscript materials such as corporate memos, correspondence, planning documents, reports, studies, white papers, and spec sheets; photographs of various aircraft, noteworthy public figures, and production facilities in Hurst, TX, Amarillo, TX, Buffalo, NY, and Mirabel, Quebec, Canada; and film recordings for promotional, engineering, and training purposes. Major highlights include the UH-1, or Huey, series of helicopter, the Vietnam War, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and commercial aircraft including the Bell 47, the first helicopter certified for civilian use; the Bell 222 twin-engine light helicopter; the Bell 206 family, including the JetRanger and LongRanger models; and Bell 400 TwinRanger.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Collection Historical Note

Founded by aviation pioneer Lawrence Dale Bell, the company that eventually became Bell Helicopter began as part of Bell Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, NY. In 1941, Bell made an offer to Art Young, an early pioneer in helicopter design, to join the company and provide expertise on rotor wing aircraft designs. That partnership produced the Bell 30 and the Bell 47, the first helicopter certified for civilian use.

The helicopter division of the company began to exert more indepedence as its output of rotor wing aircraft began to rival Bell Aircraft's output of fixed wing aircraft. In 1951, the entire division established a new headquarters in Hurst, TX. When technology conglomerate Textron purchased Bell Aerospace in 1960, it spun off the helicopter division to create Bell Helicopter as a separate corporation.

Bell Helicopter has become one of the largest manufacturers of both military and commercial aircraft in North America, with facilities in Hurst and Amarillo, TX and Mirabel, Quebec. The company is particularly known for manufacturing the UH-1, or Huey, series of helicopters, which were the workhorse aircraft for combat, troop transport, and medevac operations during the Vietnam War, and for pioneering vertical take-off and landing aircraft design with the experimental XV-15 and its full-production version, the V-22 Osprey. It also manufactures an array of civilian aircraft, including the Bell 407 frequently used by law enforcement agencies, television news stations, and for aerial filmmaking and photography, and the Bell 222, seen in the television series Airwolf.

Subject/Index Terms

Administrative Information

Repository: University of North Texas Special Collections
Accruals:

Original donation: Accession # 2014-75

First accretion: Accession # 2016-43

Access Restrictions: This collection is not restricted.
Use Restrictions:

All rights to the documents, images, recordings, and other items in the Bell Helicopter Records are retained by the University of North Texas.

Materials may be reproduced for general public historical awareness purposes.

Physical Access Note: This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.
Technical Access Note:

Access to audio/visual recordings can be provided by the UNT Media Library. Due to the condition and age of the 16mm films, these items will are only available digitally, and must requested using the Special Collections scan-on-demand procedure. Video cassettes can be requested and viewed in the Media Library, and can also be digitized on request.

At this time, access to photographic negatives can only be provided through the direct assistance of archives staff. Please contact the department for any and all photograph requests.

The department can provide access to most born-digital content upon request. Proprietary file formats may not be available for immediate viewing; these will be decided on a case by case basis. Please contact the dpeartment directly for any requests involving born-digital records in the collection.

Some photographs from this collection are available for viewing on the Portal to Texas History at https://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/BELLHR/

Acquisition Source: Bell Helicopter Textron
Acquisition Method: Donation
Appraisal Information:

Prior to donating the materials, Bell Helicopter staff reviewed the collection to remove sensitive personnel records, proprietary company records, and any records still under government classification.

A team of archivists from UNT Libraries visited the Hurst facility in June 2015 to appraise the records and advise on what types of material would be best suited for preservation. The archivists were concerned about the space constraints involved in accepting a large amount of engineering data that might have limited value in regards to the history of the company--this would include materials testing and strain test results that would be all but impossible for a person without a background in engineering to understand. After some deliberation the archivists decided that this engineering and scientific data might have value to audiences that were not traditional users of archives, and the engineering data Bell intended to transfer was not as large as previously thought. The archivists retained this material, with the exception of three linear feet of photo-negatives labeled "MET Lab."

MET Lab refers to the metellurgical lab, which conducted microscopic analysis of aircraft materials. These negatives were microscopic photographs of unidentifiable material samples, and could not be traced to any written test reports. Representatives from Bell did not believe that there was anyone capable of providing information about the MET Lab negatives, so these materials were deaccessioned from the collection.

In addition to the MET Lab negatives, the archivists deaccessioned multiple copies of records. Among the manuscripts were several hundred identical copies of aircraft brochures. The archivists retained three copies of each of these and deaccessioned the remainder.

Preferred Citation: The Bell Helicopter Records, 1944 - 2011, University of North Texas Special Collections
Processing Information:

These records were processed by the special projects team of the Department of Special Collections.

Sam Ivie - Photographic prints, photographic negatives, and slides

Amanda Montgomery - Negative index database

Savannah Bruce - Reference Library, Aircraft Files, and photographic negatives

Connor Flowers - Executive Files, Public Relations, photographic negatives, and negative index database

Trista Neeley - Audio/visual materials and Reference Library

Morgan Sisk - Photographic negatives

Robert Lay - Aircraft Files, Sales Records, and general project management and oversight

Other URL: https://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/BELLHR/

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 9: AccrualsAdd to your cart.

This series includes a number of 16mm films that were transferred to UNT Libraries subsequent to the original donation. There are many additional audio-visual recordings of the V-22 and XV-15, as well as footage of the Bell 47G-2A-1 Wing Ding. Like Series 1, this series features item-level description.

Films in this sub-series were transferred in April 2016 after having been digitized in January 2016. Digitization was performed by Rising Fall in Dallas, TX at the request of Bell Helicopter prior to the transfer of the films.

Extent: 6 linear feet
Box A-1Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: 1239: ROCC2 Offshore Operations, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 2: 1243: OH-4A Report #2, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 3: 1043: D266 Symposium Original, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 4: V-22 Osprey S Ring '85, 1985Add to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 5: 1236: Offshore Ops., undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 6: Bell Jetranger, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 7: 1466: Bell Flight Instrument SMD, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 8: Floatation Tests in Severe Seas on the Bell Jetranger Helicopter with 'Pop-Out' Floatation Gear, undatedAdd to your cart.
200' 16mm
Item 9: 1227: Sioux Scout Revised, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 10: XV-15 for Congress, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 11: D266 Symposium, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm Workprint
Item 12: 1352: UH-1 Air Force, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 13: 1358: GM Construction, undatedAdd to your cart.
300' 16mm
Item 14: 534: Rotor Wind Tunnel Test, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Box A-2Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: New Developments at Bell Rev., undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #7

Color/Sound

Item 2: Jetranger Pop-Out Floats, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #1

Color/Silent

Item 3: 1291: 214 Battlefield Support, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #9

Color/Sound

Item 4: BF-1263: An Aircraft With An Executive Character, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #26

Color/Sound

Item 5: 1178: High Energy Rotor, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #9

Color/Silent

Item 6: BF-1886: XV-15 Yuma Demo '83, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #7

Color/Silent

Item 7: This Is Tow, October 1970Add to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 8: Surviveability by Design, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Answer Print

Color/Sound

Item 9: BF-1607: XV-15 Tiltrotor (PAS), undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #6

Color/Sound

Item 10: High Energy Rotor, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #1

Color/Silent

Item 11: BT-897: Towcobra, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #83

Color/Sound

Item 12: 1826: Smooth Simplicity (680) A.P., undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 13: 5' Folding Prop Rotor Model Wind Tunnel Test, February 1971Add to your cart.

400' 16mm

Copy #3

Color/Silent

Item 14: BF-1079: Chicago - Fire Jetranger Demo, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #4

Color/Print

Item 15: BT-2083: HAI '86, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #2

Item 16: 391: Sounds of Modern Transportation, April 1985Add to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #14

Color/Sound

Item 17: 1302: Rotor Impact Test, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Color/Silent

Box A-3Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: Flight Air-To-Air Shots Of "White" Cobra, February 1987Add to your cart.

400' 16mm

NASA I.D. "ID-1661" NASA P.O.

Item 2: 1246: UH-1 Armament, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Color/Silent

Item 3: High Energy Rotor, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #11

Color/Silent

Item 4: Pendulum Impact Test ON Poly-Etheyene Fuel Tanks For Model 47, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #8

Item 5: 1114: Oregon Towers Part 2, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 6: 1368: HPH, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 7: Model 47 Fuel Tank Test, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Old Print

Black & White/Silent

Item 8: 1393: Helicopter Forest Fire Fighting with Portable Tank & Pump, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 9: 8011: LTV Wind Tunnel TiltRotor, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 10: B-Model 61 Test Both Blades & HUB, undatedAdd to your cart.
200' 16mm
Item 11: 1249, undatedAdd to your cart.
200' 16mm
Item 12: 1113: Electrical Transmission Towers, Oregon Towers Part 1, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 13: 1000 YRS of Rotating Wings, DREES, September 1979Add to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 14: How To Make A Hubschraber, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #15

Color/Sound

Item 15: BF-1411/1470: 214ST Offshore Landing Simulation, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 17: BF-1430: 214ST First Flight, undatedAdd to your cart.

200' 16mm

Print #1

Color/Silent

Item 18: 222 Crew Seat Drop Test I, undatedAdd to your cart.

200' 16mm

Print #5

Item 16: BF-1516: 412 F/T Machines, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Box A-4Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: BF-1879: Tiltrotor History, Real Time Camera, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

ED. Workprint

Item 2: BF-856: What Is Bell, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Print #17

Color/Sound

Item 3: BT-3070: History of the Tiltrotor, Short Version, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #1

Item 4: Sea Giants, August 1985Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #25

Color/Sound

Item 5: BF-1534: Land Forces Aviation, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #8

Color/Sound

Item 6: Towcobra II, April 1985Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #33

Color/Sound

Item 7: BF-1175: Six Klicks to Schotten (Reforger '76), circa 1976Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #64

Color/Sound

Item 8: BF-1401: AH-1S Modernized Cobra Pilot Familiarization, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #13

Color/Sound

Item 9: Introduction to Model 214, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #2

Color/Sound

English Version

Item 10: Bell 214 - Helicopter Lift Operation, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #5

Color/Sound

Item 11: Bell Rocket Bell, undatedAdd to your cart.
800' 16mm
Item 12: BF-1371: Helicopter Aerial Encounter, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #42

Color/Sound

Box A-5Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: BF-1631: XV-15 Tiltrotor Applications (Combined), April 1985Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #12

Color/Sound

Item 2: 017: Aerial Application for Agriculture, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #65

Color/Sound

Item 3: BT-823: Helicopter vs. Armor, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #187

Item 4: BF-1090: Introduction to Model 214, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #1

Color/Sound

English Version

Item 5: 696, undatedAdd to your cart.
800' 16mm
Item 6: Report on Jet Propulsion, undatedAdd to your cart.
800' 16mm
Item 7: Fuselage Nodalization: A New Concept In Vibration Reduction, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Color/Silent

Item 8: 020: Oil Is Where You Find It, August 1985Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #40

Color/Sound

Item 9: 1101: Helicopter, Heliports and You, undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #90 R

Color/Sound

Item 10: Fly-In Drill Rig, August 1985Add to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #19

Color/Sound

Item 11: BF-1664: XV-15 Tiltrotor Applications (Military), undatedAdd to your cart.

800' 16mm

Print #10

Color/Sound

Box A-6Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: 1378: HPA-2, undatedAdd to your cart.
200' 16mm
Item 2: 1396: XH-40 Progress Report, undatedAdd to your cart.
200' 16mm
Item 3: 1565: Bell Jet Ranger Flight, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Original

Item 4: 1659: Grand Canyon, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Roll 1

Item 5: 1656: Grand Canyon, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Roll 2

Item 6: 1657: Grand Canyon, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Roll 3

Item 7: 1658: Grand Canyon, undatedAdd to your cart.

400' 16mm

Roll 4

Item 8: 1247: Fixed Wing Helo, Wing Ding, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 9: 1235: Louisana Offshore, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 10: Early Helicopters, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 11: Can 1016: "Dora" 47G, undatedAdd to your cart.

200' 16mm

Color Print

Item 12: 1377: HPA-1, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 13: 1011: Flying Towers, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 14: 1116: Cobra at Fort Hood, 1967Add to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 15: 1254: UH-1E Marine, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 16: 1229: Sioux Scout, undatedAdd to your cart.
400' 16mm
Item 17: Bell 406 Combat Scout: The Scout That Fights, undatedAdd to your cart.
800' 16mm

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