85 Years of Bell Helicopter innovation


It started with the renowned Bell 47 Model - the “Bubble” - becoming the first certified helicopter for civilian use. Ready to jump into the civil market, Larry Bell concocted a three-step approach to introduce helicopters to everyday civilians and businesses. Today at Bell, this three-step strategy to bring vertical lift to new audiences has not changed; it’s evolved.

Bell 47

The first step starts with building skilled pilots. Needing more people to operate these new vertical lift innovations, he and a team of several helicopter pilots began training pilots and mechanics to fly and sustain Bell aircraft. This legacy of developing dynamic aviators carries on today through their Bell Training Academy (BTA), the world’s premier rotor-craft school. Just like Bells leadership team’s early days, their instructors introduce the thrill of flight to burgeoning students and so doing built a global network of pilots. Teaching world-class aviators to perform autorotation and maintain helicopters requires more than just state-of-the-art facilities. It requires a team that can connect with the trainee and enrich their knowledge of flight.

Bell Training Academy

Along with equipping pilots with necessary skills, Bell teams discovered new ways for helicopters to fill major gaps in business operations. Today, Bell’s portfolio of commercial aircraft are used to survey surrounding areas for glaciers in Canada, conduct power-line operations in New Zealand, take beautiful flights over Northern Vietnam, help passengers skip traffic in Jakarta, Indonesia, rescue stranded hikers on the west coast cliffs of Sonoma County and so much more. These feats that happen every day start with a critical need and a purpose-built platform that not only can get the job done, they can get it done seamlessly and efficiently.

Powerline work
Bell 505 in Northern Vietnam

Bell’s final approach to engage new customers included demonstrations, because why would they tell someone about the power of commercial helicopters and not show them. Today, this excitement of demonstrating Bell innovation has evolved into experience. How can they build a unique experience that serves a wide range of needs? Demonstration flights with the customers are thrilling, but how do they take it to the next step? Well, by keeping relationships strong – even beyond the rotor-craft sale – and supporting customers with Customer Advantage Plans (CAP), key parts and service needs at their remote locations. Also, investing in future technology inside the aircraft, such as fly-by-wire systems, upgraded avionics suites and instrument flight rules (IFR) kits delivers unique features that our customers didn’t know they needed. Bells Commercial Business teams are always thinking steps ahead into the future of rotor-craft. After all, this dedication to finding better solutions for their customers is why they continue to choose Bell.

“To succeed in these markets we have to make sure there are no surprises to the customer – we tell them exactly what we’re going to do and then we do it – and we had to have the best market support in the world,” said former Bell president, Jack Horner. “We continued to look for things that a helicopter could do – things that no one else could do. That’s the whole secret.”,,

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