Bell Model 30, Ship 1 - (scan - 1984)

Bell's FIRST helicopter, invented and built by Arthur Young. Bell has done very well with Young's two-bladed rotor system, that started here.

Model 30 designed around a 2-bladed rotor with perpendicularly- mounted stabilizer bar (without the bar, movement of the rotor mast, mounted directly to the rotors, would cause the plane of rotation of the rotors to change, thus producing instability. Centrifugal force of the stabilizer bar, linked directly to the rotor, isolated the rotor from the movement of the rotor mast which was attached to the rotor hub by a universal joint). Design based on patent developed by Arthur M. Young who later assigned it to Bell Aircraft Company. In Nov 41, Young joined Bell Aircraft which agreed to build 2 helicopters to demonstrate concept with Young in charge. Dec 42, first of 3 prototypes, Ship 1, rolled from factory in Gardenville NY. After series of several crack-ups and design changes--including several different control systems (one using side-to-side movement of stick, rather than rudders for directional control)-- helicopter performed satisfactorily; by Jul 43, Ship 1 reached speeds of over 70 mph. Soon after, was damaged during power- off landing because of unsuitable landing gear; then rebuilt as Ship 1A with raised tail-rotor and modified landing gear to permit aircraft to remain in nose-up position for power-off landings. Model 2, 2-passenger version with enclosed cockpit, became next test vehicle. Excessive engine wear traced to gear wear which was corrected. 1944, Model 30 considered ready for public display and featured in Buffalo Sunday paper; in July was flown before a crowd in Buffalo Stadium. Early 45, work began on Ship 3 which incorporated best elements of Ships 1 and 2. Four-wheel landing gear provided better behavior on take-offs and landings; different body shape with instrument panel in middle and almost no floor gave unobstructed vertical vision, and later bubble canopy gave undistorted vision. Launched on 20 Apr 45, was immediate success. With room for 2 passengers, no obstructive body or windshield, and only a small instrument column between pilot and passenger, pilot had uninterrupted view up and down. From this, Model 47 emerged and made first flight 8 Dec 45. Received CAA Type Certificate H-1 and was first American commercial helicopter. Has since been produced by more countries than any other helicopter in the world. (Young went on to establish the Institute for the Study of Consciousness at Berkeley CA 1952).

Engine: Franklin, 165 hp

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