Compare the fixed costs, variable cost, and performance of Bell 222A to over 500 jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft, with accurate data from Conklin & de Decker.
In the early 1970s, it became clear that there was a demand for a medium twin-engine turbine helicopter for the offshore and corporate market. Bell, among others, launched a series of design studies that resulted in a decision to launch the Bell 222 in 1974. The subsequent design represented many firsts for Bell. It was Bell's first helicopter designed from scratch for the civilian market; it was not based on any military design; it had a retractable, wheeled landing gear; its rotor system design was the first to depart from the teetering rotor developed in the 1940s by Art Young; and it used a newly developed engine, the Lycoming LTS 101. On paper this was a great engine, with a high power-to-weight ratio and modest fuel consumption. Unfortunately, it proved to be less reliable than the customers expected and this was one of several factors, including a serious recession in the helicopter industry, which severely limited the market potential for this helicopter.
The Bell 222A uses a two-bladed rotor attached to the hub with elastomeric bearings for the flapping, lagging and pitch change motions. The main transmission uses a “nodamatic” suspension system to reduce vibration levels. The engines used on the Bell 222A are the Honeywell (Lycoming at the time) LTS 101-650C3. A two-bladed tail rotor provides directional control. The fuselage provides two compartments, with the pilot compartment seating two and the passenger cabin seating up to eight. The fuselage is made of conventional aluminum alloys. The passenger cabin is available in three basic configurations. One is a corporate interior with two comfortable seats facing aft and a three-place bench facing forward. The second, the utility configuration, has three forward-facing seat rows (two rows with three seats and one row with two seats). The third configuration is for EMS operators. This configuration puts two stretchers, two medical attendants and medical gear in the cabin.
The first flight of the Bell 222 prototype occurred in 1976, and certification to the standards of FAR 29 was obtained in 1979. IFR and Category A certification and the first deliveries followed in 1980. Approximately 85 Bell 222As were produced during this aircraft’s production run from 1980 to 1982. All were assembled in Fort Worth, Texas.
Honeywell Engines LTS-101-650 2