Bell 47J Ranger

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Bell 47J Ranger
Bell 47J Ranger
Role Utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
Introduction 1956
Retired July 1967 (UH-13J)
Status Retired
Number built 361
Developed from Bell 47
Developed into Agusta A.115

The Bell 47J Ranger is an American single-engine single-rotor light helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It was an executive variant of the highly successful Bell 47 and was the first helicopter to carry a United States president.

Design and development[edit]

The 47J was a four-seat variant of the earlier three-seat Bell 47H. The 47H was a deluxe variant of the 47G with a fully clad fuselage and an enclosed cabin. The 47H proved to be too small, so Bell developed the 47J. The 47J was a single pilot aircraft with the pilot seat and controls centered in the front of the cabin, and positioned close to the 180° view unobstructed Lexan "bubble" windscreen. A single bench seat at the rear of the cabin spanned its entire width and allowed for a passenger capacity limited by weight to typically 3 or 4 adults.

Operational history[edit]

In March 1957 two Bell 47Js were bought by the United States Air Force as presidential transport and designated H-13J.[1] On 13 July 1957 a H-13J was the first helicopter used by a United States president when it carried Dwight D. Eisenhower from the White House.[1] In March 1962 the two helicopters were moved from presidential duties but were used as VIP transports for the next five years until retired in July 1967.[1]

Two Bell 47J-2s were used during the 1966 film production of Paradise, Hawaiian Style starring Elvis Presley. Throughout the film Presley's character, Rick Richards, was flying a Bell 47J-2 over the Hawaiian Islands.


Agusta-Bell 47J Ranger at the Hellenic Air Force Museum at Dekelia (Tatoi), Athens, Greece
Agusta-Bell AB.47J3 Ranger in Italian Carabinieri markings at Pratica di Mare AFB, Italy in 2006
Bell UH-13J Sioux at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
47J Ranger
Production variant powered by a 220hp Lycoming VO-435-A1B engine.,[2] 135 built.
47J-1 Ranger
Military VIP variant as the H-13J, two built.[3]
47J-2 Ranger
Production variant with a 240hp Lycoming VO-540-B1B engine, powered controls and metal blades.,[2] 104 built.
47J-2A Ranger
Production variant with a 260hp Lycoming VO-540-B1B3 engine and a collective boost system, 75 built.
Italian built variant by Agusta-Bell.
High-altitude variant of the 47J-3
Training variant for the United States Navy, see HTL-7.[4]
United States Navy variant with a 260hp VO-435-B1B, 28 built became UH-13P in 1962.[4]
Two HUL-1s used by the United States Coast Guard, became UH-13Q in 1962.[4]
Variant of the HUL-1 with a 250shp YT-62-A-3 turboshaft engine, two built became UH-13R in 1962.[4]
Proposed turboshaft-powered variant, not built.[4]
Model 47K training version of the HUL-1 with a modified two-seat cockpit and a 240hp Lycoming O-435-6 engine, 18 built, later designated TH-13N in 1962.
Two Bell 47J-1 Ranger aircraft utilizing the 179 kW Lycoming VO-435-21 engine acquired for VIP transport of the U.S. President by the U.S. Air Force. Originally designated as H-13J until 1962.[2]
United States Navy variant for use aboard ice-breaking ships, Originally designated as the Navy HUL-1.
The HTL-7 re-designated in 1962.[4]
The HUL-1G re-designated in 1962.[4]
The HUL-1M re-designated in 1962.[4]


 United States

Aircraft on display[edit]

The helicopter at its present site on Dandenong-Frankston Road.


United States

Specifications (Bell 47J-2A)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66[21]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 32 ft 5 in (9.87 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 3 in (2.83 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,833 lb (831 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,950 lb (1,338 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 48 US gal (40 imp gal; 180 L)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming VO-540-B1B vertically mounted air-cooled flat-six, 260 hp (190 kW)
  • Main rotor diameter: 37 ft 2 in (11.33 m)
  • Main rotor area: 1,085 sq ft (100.8 m2)


  • Maximum speed: 105 mph (169 km/h, 91 kn) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 91 mph (146 km/h, 79 kn)
  • Range: 258 mi (415 km, 224 nmi) (no reserves)
  • Service ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,400 m)
  • Rate of climb: 870 ft/min (4.4 m/s)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d National Museum of the United States Air Force Bell UH-13J Sioux fact sheet
  2. ^ a b c Frawley 2003, p. 42
  3. ^ Andrade 1979, p. 188
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Andrade 1979, p. 197
  5. ^ a b Flight International 11 July 1968, p. 48
  6. ^ a b c Flight International 11 July 1968, p. 50
  7. ^ a b c d e f Flight International 11 July 1968, p. 52
  8. ^ "Italian Gendarmerie AB-47J". Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  9. ^ Flight International 11 July 1968, p. 53
  10. ^ Wheeler Flight International 1 August 1981, p. 375
  11. ^ "Spanish Air Force Bell 47J-3B-1 Ranger". Demand media. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  12. ^ a b "The BELL 47 Helicopter Family". Archived from the original on 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  13. ^ Flight International 11 July 1968, p. 60
  14. ^ "BELL 47J (H-13J) - RANGER | BELL HELICOPTER CORPORATION". Museu Aeroespacial. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Bell47 / H-13 Sioux, s/n 8510 FABr, c/n 1746, c/r YV-E-DPY". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Aircraft Display Collection". Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Bell 47 / H-13 Sioux, c/n 1827, c/r CF-PQZ". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  18. ^ d.o.o., NoviSplet - Atribut. "Slavnostni prevzem helikopterja Augusta Bell 47 – legendarnega burduša, v soboto, 27. maja 2017, od 16. ure dalje | Planinski muzej". Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  19. ^ "Bell UH-13J Sioux". National Museum of the US Air Force. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Bell H-13J". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  21. ^ Taylor 1965, p. 187


  • Andrade, John (1979). U.S.Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Donald, David (1997). The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY, NY: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
  • Elliott, Bryn (January–February 1999). "On the Beat: The First 60 Years of Britain's Air Police". Air Enthusiast (79): 68–75. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Frawley, Gerard (2003). The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003–2004. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
  • Taylor, John W. R. (1965). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company.
  • Wheeler, Barry C. (1 August 1981). "World's Air Forces 1981". Flight International. Vol. 120, no. 3769. pp. 323–384. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  • "World Helicopter Market". Flight International. Vol. 94, no. 3096. 11 July 1968. pp. 48–60. Retrieved 7 December 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bell 47J at Wikimedia Commons