Model D306 Static Shell (c) Bell Textron

The 26th annual meeting of the HAA (Helicopter Association of America) was held in San Diego, California during Sunday 13th to Wednesday the 16th of January in 1974. At that gathering, the HAA board of directors, including elected W.B. “Billy” Rowe (president of Campbell Air Service Inc) and president of the HAA along with many others got the first look at the bell twin engine concept design.

This is where the public also got its first glimpse of what would later become the iconic well renowned Bell 222 Helicopter.

The initial show and tell was done just to gage public interest in a twin engine concept (the first twin engine helicopter idea for the usa market) and as such it gained a lot of interest.

Model D306 Static Shell (c) Bell Textron

The engine cover was later refined and more streamlined on the static shell, a model that was referred to as the D306.

They wanted it to be more sleek and less like the cowling on the image above (which originally resembled the Huey cowling more than the 222) This helicopter was going to be a massive leap in Bell engineering.

Model D306 Static Shell (c) Bell Textron

The model D306 shell had two front doors, two rear doors and also featured the first T-bar tail which was also implemented on the first flying 222 prototype.

We don't know what happened to this static shell nor where it resides today, but this moch-up paved the way for the production of five Bell 222 prototypes.

We refer to this model D306 as C/N 47000.

Bell 222 C/N 47001 - N9988K (c) Bell Textron

The first flight of the original 222 Prototype (C/N 47001) was on Friday the 13th of August 1976, two years after the D306 shell was first shown.

Bell had been toying with the twin engine concept since the early 1960's and this maiden flight was set to pave the way for four more additional 222 prototypes,

This first prototype was registered as N9988K which was later to become much loved by the Airwolf Community when it was used as a grounded sound stage in the 1984 Airwolf Movie and Tv Series as seen decked out full of computers and gadgets.


Bell 222 C/N 47001 - N9988K (c) Bell textron

It received certification from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) on the 16th of August 1979 but wasn't approved for VFR (visual flight rules) use until the 20th of December 1979.

Bell didn't begin 222 deliveries to customers until Friday the 1st of February 1980 (wiki is wrong).

The FAA later approved the 222 for IFR (single-pilot instrument flight rules) use on the 15th of May 1980.

This first flying 222 prototype (47001) didn't have a front door on the co-pilots side, this was later something universal studios had cut into the side of N9988K in 1983 for filming. C/N 47001 never flew when used in the Airwolf Tv Series. Only C/N 47085 portrayed the flying Airwolf in the film and tv series.

From this point forward i am honestly winging it with theories and snippets of information i have patched together because the net is no longer what it was, the information that was out their has gone or it simply never was (you can comment below your self to correct anything i have theorised that maybe wrong) But i shall best describe what i found, what i think and what i can and can't confirm, simply because no one else has bothered to do so.... and frankly.. the lives the 222 has saved.. well clearly someone should....

What is "above" is detailed FACT, What is "below" is patched THEORY


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