Bell Helicopter Records, 1944-2011
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Brief Description:

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.

Held at:
University of North Texas Special Collections
University of North Texas, Wilis Library
1155 Union Circle # 305190
Denton, TX 76203
Record Series Number: 01/AR0836
Created by: Bell Helicopter Textron (1935-)
Volume: 318.0 Linear Feet
Acquired: 11/00/2014.

Original donation: Accession # 2014-75

First accretion: Accession # 2016-43

More information is available at
Arrangement: The Bell Helicopter Records have 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.
Access Restrictions: This collection is not restricted.
Subject Index
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 of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/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 Notes: This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.
Technical Access Notes:

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

Acquisition Notes: Bell Helicopter Textron  Donation
PreferredCitation: The Bell Helicopter Records, 1944 - 2011, University of North Texas Special Collections