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Old 25th Aug 2010, 08:13   #1 (permalink)
 
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Bell 206 retractable gear: info please

I stumbled across a photograph of a Bell 206 on retractable wheeled gear and I was wondering whether anyone here could shed some light on the story behind it, please.
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Old 25th Aug 2010, 08:42   #2 (permalink)
 
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- Unstable Load!

There are doubtless other PPRuNers who shall be able to respond more authoratitively to this question but, during the hey day of the 206 (around the early 80's) Bell toyed with the prospect of fitting retractable undercarriage to this model.

As far as I know only one experimental version was adapted in this way (with fully retractable gear) and there may have been a second offering a tricycle undercarriage although I am not entirely sure about the latter.

Needless to say, neither the tricycle or retractable options went into production. The rationale in the industry at the time (from observers) was that it was an attempt by Bell to boost 206 sales which were feeling the impact of the AS350B.

Rgds

Earl



Not quite the same but retractable nonetheless!
Experimental Bell 209 AH-1

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Old 25th Aug 2010, 09:41   #3 (permalink)
 
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Unstable - can you post the pic?

There was a 47 with wings...

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Old 30th Aug 2010, 10:14   #4 (permalink)
 
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Jet Ranger on retractable wheels?

Many thanks to Unstable Load for sending this pic through...

Is it real?
Any info??

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Old 30th Aug 2010, 12:23   #5 (permalink)
 
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If I'm not mistaken, that 206B with wheels was something National Helicopter of Los Angeles, US did. At least, it's on their website:

National Photos

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Old 30th Aug 2010, 12:27   #6 (permalink)
 
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Global Helicopter Technology, Inc. designed tricycle gear for the Bell 412 and 206 back in the early 90's. Neither design was put into production and sold. In some way Clint Eastwood was involved in the retractable geared 206. Nothing came of it either.
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 12:52   #7 (permalink)
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National also came up with this retractable gear



Quote:
4 foot high retractable skid gear National designed and flew for use with the circlevision camera system developed by Disney. This is the film you see at Disneyland that in which you are surrounded by the image. The need for the retractable gear was due to the fact that the original camera system was mounted to the cargo hook and was jettisonable. That precluded us from flying over populated areas, these gear would retract out of the way of the lenses, and would allow us to land anywhere in case of an emergency.
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 13:09   #8 (permalink)
 
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Retractable skid gear

Hmmmm.... Don't know if I would want to do a run-on landing with that CG.
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 13:37   #9 (permalink)
 
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The photograph of the wheeled Jetranger in Post #4 shows a decidedly non-Bell paint scheme so it's unlikely that this unique modification had any Bell sanction or input.

Also, Darkhorse30 in Post #6 refers to a Bell 412 tricycle gear modification by Global Helicopter Technology, Inc. I always thought that was by Parker Hannefin, or was there more than one company attempting this?
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 14:51   #10 (permalink)
 
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Parker Hanifin had Global do the design, test, and fabrication of the test article for the 412. We were on contract to them. I don't know if they ever went into production. The 206 gear was built, flown, but not Certified. This was a fixed gear, not a re-tractable.
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 16:13   #11 (permalink)
 
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The 206 in pic #4 certainly looks like it has retractable gear - there are gear doors!
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 20:28   #12 (permalink)
 
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This came off a Bell promo video on youtube. N412VS. Not retractable though.





Last edited by fly911; 30th Aug 2010 at 20:46. Reason: Add youtube video
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Old 30th Aug 2010, 20:49   #13 (permalink)
 
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HDM Tricycle Gear

In the aerly 1990s HDM bought about 10 Bell 412HPs and most were delivered on fixed wheel gear. Even the Pope Mobile (412 in Poland used by the Pope at one point) was on wheel gear.

From the guys that flew it, the fixed gear ground handling was good (read stable) as it did not have the tendancy of hydraulic gear to settle in tight turns causing the aircraft to lean out of the turn.
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Old 31st Aug 2010, 09:05   #14 (permalink)
 
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Ah yes, the 'Pope Mobile'. The last time I came across this particular machine was in Taiwan back in February 1999. The historical records of Bell 412SP, S/N 33179 then registered locally as B-55521 and operated by Daily Air Corporation, clearly stated that the helicopter was previously equipped with wheeled landing gear and an airstair door manufactured by Premier Aviation. Both the Daily Air personnel and the BHT CSR confirmed it was used to fly His Holiness - when he was in the US. In the furthest reaches of my mind I do recall seeing a photograph of John Paul II boarding this helicopter via an air stair door whilst waving to the assembled crowd.

Therefore after reading Encyclo's post above, in which he states "...bought about 10 Bell 412HPs and most were delivered on fixed wheel gear. Even the Pope Mobile (412 in Poland used by the Pope at one point) was on wheel gear...." suggests there was more than one fixed wheeled 412 'Pope Mobile', anyone got any ideas?
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Old 31st Aug 2010, 12:04   #15 (permalink)
 
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N78S

One of the first Bell 412 to use wheel gear was Sun Company's.

The aircraft was lost in a tragic "landing gear" related accident over Pennsylvania in April 1991 ASN Aircraft accident 04-APR-1991 Bell 412SP N78SThe Bell 412 crew offered to verify if an Aerostar's gear was down & locked when both made contact
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Old 31st Aug 2010, 13:54   #16 (permalink)
 
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If I remember correctly, Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz, a pilot himself was aboard, although not flying the Aerostar at the time.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 15:08   #17 (permalink)


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The helicopter was lost as reported but the landing gear configuration was Skids at the time of the accident. Sun used the Wheeled Landing Gear for a few months on a trial basis. Normal operation only. The gear performed very well. As a side note, after the gear was returned to Bell it was discovered that the Aft Crosstube was installed backwards by the manurfactor. This may have affected performance for a high speed run-on landing Sun Co. Inc. only performed Normal Operations, No Experimental Operations.
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