June 13, 2017 – (San Marcos, Texas) The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announces the addition of a Bell 47 to their fleet of warbirds. The CAF has the world’s largest collection of flying vintage military aircraft, but this helicopter, is the only flying helicopter in the fleet.
The Bell 47 is a two-bladed, single-engine, light aircraft manufactured by Bell Helicopter. The Bell 47 entered U.S. military service in 1946, as the H-13 Sioux. Its versatility made it an excellent candidate for scouting, search and rescue and medevac duties. During the Korean War, it was known as the “Angel of Mercy” for evacuating wounded soldiers from difficult-to-reach positions on the front lines. Its iconic shape, and simple construction made the Bell easy to recognize when it reprised its Korean War role for audiences in the TV show “M*A*S*H”.
Including the Bell 47 in the fleet gives the CAF an opportunity to broaden the story of American military aviation, even extend into the Vietnam War era, because many of that generation’s helicopter pilots were trained in the type.
The CAF’s example is a Bell 47G-4A featuring a 310 horsepower Lycoming VO-540 was constructed in 1969 for the civilian market. It was operated extensively by a flight school until it was generously donated by a CAF Colonel. Due to its bubble canopy, the Bell 47 offers great all around visibility, making it an ideal aircraft for sightseeing and living history flights.
The aircraft has been assigned to a new sponsor group called The Tail Rotor Group led by CAF Col Roger Sharp. The helicopter will be hangered in the Central Texas Wing’s stunning World War II hangar at the San Marcos Regional Airport. The Sponsor Group’s first order of business will be to return the helicopter to authentic U.S. Army colors.
Those interested in supporting this aircraft or joining the CAF’s first helicopter specific unit are encouraged to contact CAF Col Roger Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org.