Bell 222/230

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Bell 222/230
Bell 222 Lifelink.jpg
A Bell 222
Role Executive/utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
First flight 13 August 1976
Introduction Bell 222: 1979
Bell 230: 1991
Produced Bell 222: 1980–1991
Bell 230: 1992–1995
Number built Bell 222: 199
Bell 230: 38[1]
Variants Bell 430
Developed into Bell D-292

The Bell 222 is an American twin-engine light helicopter built by Bell Helicopter. The Bell 230 is an improved development with different engines and other minor changes.



In the late 1960s, Bell began designing a new twin-turbine engine light helicopter. A mockup of the new helicopter was displayed in January 1974 at a helicopter convention.[2] Following interest at the convention the company announced the new Bell 222.[3] It was the first light commercial twin-turbine helicopter developed in the United States.[4]

The Bell 222 incorporated a number of advanced features including dual hydraulic and electrical systems, sponsons housing the retractable landing gear, and the Noda Matic vibration reduction system developed for the Bell 214ST.[1]

Manufacturing began in 1975.[2] The Model 222 first flew on August 13, 1976. It received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on August 16, 1979 and was approved for visual flight rules (VFR) use on December 20, 1979. Helicopter deliveries began on January 16, 1980. The FAA approved the 222 for single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) operation on May 15, 1980.[5]

A Bell 222U

Improved versions[edit]

The more powerful Bell 222B was introduced in 1982 with a larger diameter main rotor. The 222B-based Bell 222UT Utility Twin, with skid landing gear, was introduced in 1983.[1]

A development of the 222 is the Bell 230, with the 222's LTS 101 engines replaced by two Allison 250 turboshafts, plus other refinements. A converted 222 first flew as the prototype 230 on August 12, 1991. Transport Canada awarded certification in March 1992, and the first production 230 was delivered that November. The 230 had optional skid or wheel undercarriage. Production ended in 1995 with 38 having been built, being replaced in Bell's lineup by the stretched, more powerful Bell 430.[1]


LTS 101-750 engine installation (left engine) in a 222U

The design includes two main rotor blades of stainless-steel-fiberglass construction and rotor hub with elastomeric bearings, which are lubricant free.[4] Its cabin holds a maximum of ten persons with one-two pilots and eight to nine passengers. Seating configurations include standard seating for a pilot and seven passengers; or executive seating with one to two pilots and seating for five to six.[4] The Bell 222 and 230 are usually flown single-pilot (optional dual controls are available), and can be configured for corporate/executive, EMS or utility transport missions.[1]

The Bell 222 is powered by twin Lycoming/Honeywell LTS101-650 turboshaft engines, rated at 592 shp each.[5] Later 222 versions feature more powerful engines. Engine output is at 100% of rating at 9598 RPM. Two independent driveshafts deliver power from the engines to the transmission. The Bell 222's LTS101 engine exhaust stacks are located at the rear of the engines, while the 230's Allison engine exhaust stacks are located high on the cowling. Fuel is stored in three tanks, one in the fuselage and one in each sponson. The main rear landing gear retracts into the sponsons.[2]

The Bell 222's rotor systems include:

  • Two-blade, semi-rigid high-kinetic energy main rotor with preconing and underslinging. The rotor head incorporates elastomeric bearings for hub springs, and flapping and pitch change bearings. The system is similar in design to that used by the AH-1 Cobra. Rotor speed at 100% engine speed is 348 RPM.
  • All series models incorporate a pusher-type two-bladed tail rotor mounted on the left side of the tailboom, turning at 3396 RPM.


Bell 222
The original Model 222, sometimes unofficially called a Bell 222A to distinguish it from the Bell 222B. It was powered by two (618 hp takeoff rated, 591 hp max continuous rated) Honeywell (formerly Lycoming) LTS101-650C-3 turboshafts.
Bell 222B
In 1982 the 222 was given a power upgrade (two Honeywell (formerly Lycoming) LTS101-750Cs with takeoff rating of 680 hp each), a larger main rotor, and was renamed the Bell 222B.
Bell 222B Executive
This model had improved systems and a luxury interior.
Bell 222U rotor head and flight controls
Bell 222UT
A 222B variant with skids, introduced in 1983. The lack of retractable landing gear allowed for larger auxiliary fuel tanks.
Bell D-292
The Advanced Composite Airframe Program (ACAP) was a 1985 all-composite LHX proof-of-concept project. The Bell D-292 used the Avco Lycoming engines, transmission, two-bladed main and tail rotors, tailboom, vertical fin, and rotor pylon of the 222. The D-292 had a new composite airframe.
Bell 230
In 1991 the 222B design was updated, given more uprated engines, and renamed the Bell 230. Production ended in 1995.
Bell 230 Executive
Executive transport version.
Bell 230 Utility
Utility transport version.
Bell 230 EMS
Air ambulance version, equipped with one or two stretchers.
Bell 222SP
During the 1990s, some Bell 222s were modified with the 222B's engines and 230's Allison 250-C30G engines for improved single engine (engine-out) performance, and redesignated as 222SPs.[6]
Bell 430
In 1995 the Bell 430, a stretched 230 (adding another seating row), was launched, with uprated engines and a four-blade main rotor.


Bell 230 of Rotor-Lift Aviation at Agfest 2010

The Bell 222 has seen service with a large number of civil operators, but only limited military service.

 United States


Bell 222 3-view drawing
Model 222 222B 222U 230
Announced 1974 1982 1982 1990
First Flight August 13, 1976 1982 1983 August 12, 1991
Certified December 1979 August 1982 April 1983 March 1992
Delivered 1980 1982 1983 November 1992
Seats Front: pilot + one.   Main: four–six (depending on seat types)
Maximum ten (pilot and nine passengers)[12]
Height 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m) 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m) 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Fuselage length 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)[13] 42 ft 11 in (12.78 m) 42 ft 3 in (12.88 m)
Rotor diameter 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m)[14] 42 ft (12.80 m)
Length overall 49 ft 6 in (15.1 m) 50 ft 3 in (15.32 m)
Engine (2x) Lycoming LTS101-650C-3 Lycoming LTS101-750C Rolls-Royce 250-C30G/2
Power (2x) 620 shp (462 kW)[14] 684 shp (510 kW)[13] 700 hp (520 kW)
Max speed 133 kn (153 mph; 246 km/h)[14]
135 kt
(155 mph, 250 km/h)
140 kt
(161 mph, 260 km/h)
Climb rate 1,600 ft/min (8.1 m/s)[14] 1,730 ft/min (8.79 m/s) ~1,600 ft/min (8.13 m/s)
Service ceiling 20,000 ft (6,100 m)[14] 15,800 ft (4,816 m) 15,500 ft (4,724 m)
Hover ceiling 4,200 ft (1,300 m)[14] 10,300 ft (3,139 m) 12,400 ft (3,780 m)
Fuel capacity 188+48 US gal (710+182 L) 188+122 US gal (710+460 L) 188+ US gal (710+ L)
Range 282 nmi (325 mi; 522 km)[14] 378 nmi
(434 mi, 700 km)
486 nmi
(559 mi, 900 km)
378 nmi
(434 mi, 700 km)
Empty weight 4,860 lb (2,200 kg)[14] 4,577 lb (2,076 kg) 4,537 lb (2,058 kg) 5,097 lb (2,312 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight 8,100 lb (3,670 kg)[14]
(external load)
8,250 lb (3,742 kg) 8,400 lb (3,810 kg)

Sources:,[15] Helicopterdirect,[16] others[17][18]

Notable appearances in media[edit]

The Bell 222 is widely known from the television series Airwolf, where a modified 222A was featured.

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ a b c d e Frawley, Gerard, The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003, ISBN 1-875671-58-7
  2. ^ a b c Apostolo, Giorgio. "Bell Model 222". The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza Books. 1984. ISBN 978-0-517-43935-7.
  3. ^ Frawley, Gerard, "Bell 222 & 230", The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, p. 46, Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003, ISBN 1-875671-58-7
  4. ^ a b c Donald, David, ed. "Bell Model 222". The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Barnes & Nobel Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
  5. ^ a b Pelletier, Alain J. Bell Aircraft Since 1935. US Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-056-8.
  6. ^ "Bell 222". Jane's Helicopter Markets and Systems. Jane's Information Group, 2009. (subscription article)[permanent dead link].
  7. ^ "Albanian Govt. Bell 222UT AL-HOV". Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Albania - Government / Bell 222UT". Demand media. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  9. ^ "World Air Forces 2011/12" (PDF). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Bell 222UT | Jamaican Defence Force".
  11. ^ "Mercy Air". Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  12. ^ FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b Taylor 1988, pp. 346–347
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Taylor 1982, p. 312
  15. ^ Bell 222 & 230 page on
  16. ^ Bell helicopter technical data,
  17. ^ Bell 222 technical data on Archived 2007-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Helicopters - Manufacturers and Models of Helicopters A - BEL". Archived from the original on 20 June 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.


  • Elliott, Bryn (May–June 1999). "On the Beat: The First 60 Years of Britain's Air Police, Part Two". Air Enthusiast (81): 64–69. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Bell 222/230 Field Maintenance Training Manual
  • Bell 222U Rotorcraft Flight Manual
  • Taylor, John W. R., ed. (1982). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2.
  • Taylor, John W. R., ed. (1988). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988–89. London: Jane's Defence Data. ISBN 0-7106-0867-5.

External links[edit]