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Bell 204/205

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Bell 204 and Bell 205
Kern County (California) Fire Department's Bell 205 departs from the Mojave Spaceport
Type Multipurpose utility helicopter
Manufacturer Bell Helicopter
Maiden flight October 22 1956
Introduced 1959
Developed from UH-1 Iroquois
Variants Bell 212
Bell 214
A Bell XH-40, a prototype of the UH-1 and Bell 204

The Bell 204 and 205 are the civil versions of the ubiquitous UH-1 Iroquois military helicopters. These models are used in a wide variety of applications, including crop dusting, cargo lifting, and one of its most common uses, aerial firefighting.


Bell designed its Model 204 in response to a 1955 United States Army requirement for a utility helicopter. The 204 was a giant step forward in helicopter design, being one of the first to be powered by a turboshaft. The turboshaft engine radically improved the practicality of the helicopter due to its light weight and high power to weight ratio, lower fuel consumption, and lower maintenance and operating costs. The use of a turboshaft in the 204 allowed it to carry a useful payload over respectable ranges and at reasonable speeds, which resulted in the 204 and subsequent 205 becoming the most successful western helicopter series in terms of numbers built.[1]

The civil 204B was first delivered in 1961. The subsequent Model 205A-1 is equivalent to the UH-1H, which, compared to the 204, is longer, larger, and has better performance and a more powerful engine.[1]

Over 60 civil Model 204Bs had been delivered by 1967, while further examples were built by Agusta-Bell up until 1973. Over 12,000 Model 205s (including civil 205A-1s) were built by Bell and Agusta-Bell up to the early 1980s. Numerous ex military 204s and 205s converted for commercial use.[1]


Bell 204 owned by Antelope Valley College, formerly operated by Boeing
File:Bell 205 A-1 (D-HAFW).jpg
A Bell 205A-1, used for parachutists during World Games 2005, Duisburg, Germany for the parachuting-competitions.
A Bell 205A-1 on firefighting duty with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources at Nym Lake, ON, 1996
A Bell 205A-1 with its helitack firefighting crew on standby with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources at Sioux Lookout, Ontario, 1995
A Bell 204B (upgraded to a "C" model) arrives to pick up its Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources firefighting crew on Fire 141, 1995

Bell 204

Bell Helicopter's company designation of the UH-1B.

  • Bell 204B - Civil or military utility transport helicopter, derived from the UH-1B. Powered by a T53-09A, max weight was 8,500 lbs, max passengers, 10.[2]
  • Agusta-Bell AB 204 - Civil or military utility transport helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
  • Fuji-Bell 204B-2 - Civil or military utility transport helicopter. Built under licence in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries. Used by the Japan Ground Self Defence Force under the name Hiyodori.

Bell 205

Bell Helicopter's company designation of the UH-1H.

  • Bell 205A - Civil or military utility transport helicopter. Powered by one T53-11A, max weight 8,500 pounds, max passenger, 14.[2]
    • Agusta-Bell 205 - Civil or military utility transport helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
  • Bell 205A-1 - Civil or military utility transport helicopter version, initial version based on the UH-1H. Powered by one T53-13A, max weight 9,500 pounds (10,500 for external loads), max passengers, 14.[2]
    • Agusta-Bell 205A-1 - Modified version of the AB 205.
    • Fuji-Bell 205A-1 - Civil or military utility transport helicopter. Built under licence in Japan by Fuji.
  • Bell 205B- Bell's early version of the 210 built in the late 70's; only 5 were built and sold. Had 212 nose, up-rated T53-17 engine, K-Flex drive-shaft, 212 main rotor blades, tail-rotor blades. Max weight, 10,500 pounds (11,200 external), max passengers, 14.[2]
  • Bell 210 - Bell Helicopters designation for a UH-1H remanufactured and sold as a new aircraft. Powered by one T53-17B, same weight capacities as the 205B.[2]

Experimental models

  • Agusta-Bell 205BG - Prototype fitted with two Gnome H 1200 turboshaft engines.[3]
  • Agusta-Bell 205TA - Prototype fitted with two Turbomeca Astazous turboshaft engines.[3]
  • Bell 208 In 1965, Bell experimented with a single twin-engine Model 208 "Twin Huey" prototype, which was a UH-1D fitted with Continental XT67-T-1 engine module, consisting of two T72-T-2 turboshaft engines driving a common gearbox. This exercise was performed as an experiment using company funds.[3]


  • 205A++ - Field upgraded 205A utilizing a T53-17 engine and a 212 rotor system. Similar to the production 205B and 210.
  • Global Eagle - Pratt & Whitney Canada name for a modified UH-1H with a new PT6C-67D engine, modified tail rotor, and other minor changes reported to increase range and fuel efficiency over the Bell 212.[4]
  • Huey 800 - Upgraded commercial version, fitted with a LHTEC T800 turboshaft engine.[citation needed]


  • Bell 211 - The HueyTug, was a commercial version of the UH-1C with an upgraded transmission, longer main rotor, larger tailboom, strengthened fuselage, stability augmentation system, and a 2,650 shp (1,976 kW) T55-L-7 turboshaft engine.[5]
  • Bell 212 - Bell Helicopters company designation for the UH-1N.
Main article: Bell 212
  • Bell 214 Huey Plus - Strengthened development of the Bell 205 airframe with a larger engine; optimized for "hot and high" conditions. Later developed into the larger, twin-engined Bell 214ST.
Main article: Bell 214
  • Panha Shabaviz 2-75 - Unlicensed version made by Panha in Iran.
Main article: Panha Shabaviz 2-75


Civil operators

  • Air America helicopters were formerly registered with XW registration.

Governmental operators

California Department of Forestry "Super Huey", formerly an EH-1H, assigned to the Bieber Helitack crew, takes off from the Mojave Airport

Fire-fighting operators


Medical operators


Police operators


SAR operators


Specifications (204B)

Bell UH-1 IROQUOIS.png
Bell 204 instrument panel

Data from The International Directiory of Civil Aircraft [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1-2
  • Capacity: 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) including up to 8-9 passengers, or equivalent cargo
  • Length: 41 ft 8 in (12.69 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 7 in (4.5 m)
  • Disc area: 1,808 ft² (168.0 m²)
  • Empty weight: 4,600 lb (2,085 kg)
  • Loaded weight: lb (kg)
  • Useful load: lb (kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 9,500 lb (4,310 kg)
  • Powerplant:Lycoming T53-L-11A turboshaft, 1,100 shp (820 kW)



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Frawley, Gerard: The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004, page 44. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet H1SW for the 204, 205A, 205A-1 and 210 models
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Greg Goebel's Vectorsite in Public Domain
  4. Douglas W. Nelms (November 1, 2005). Eagle Power. Aviation Today. Retrieved on 17 March 2007.
  5. Skycranes. Centennial of Flight Commission. Retrieved on 15 March 2007.

The initial version of this article was based on a public domain article from Greg Goebel's Vectorsite.

  • Chant, Christopher, Fighting Helicopters of the 20th Century, Graham Beehag Books, Christchurch, Dorset, England (1996).
  • Debay, Yves, Combat Helicopters, France: Histoire & Collections (1996)
  • Drendel, Lou. UH-1 in Action. Carrolton, TX: Squadron Signal. ISBN 0-89747-179-2
  • Francillon, Rene, J. Vietnam: The War in the Air New York: Arch Cape Press (1987)
  • Mesko, Jim, Airmobile: The Helicopter War in Vietnam, Squadron Signal Publications (1984).
  • Specifications for 204, 205 and 214 Huey Plus
  • Mutza, Wayne. UH-1 Huey in Colors. Carrolton, TX: Squadron Signal. ISBN 0-89747-279-9.

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