Bell
Bell
Founded
1935
Headquarters
Fort Worth
Key People
Mitch Snyder (president and CEO)
Number of Employees
8,000
Phone Number
(817) 280-2011
Website

Bell

Bell, a subsidiary of Textron, is an American aerospace manufacturer that has developed both civilian and military aircraft and rotorcraft since 1935. Lawrence Dale Bell founded the original company, Bell Aircraft Corporation, in Buffalo, New York. Best known as Bell Helicopter, or simply Bell, the company now specializes in rotorcraft development and manufacturing.

In its early years, the company focused on the development of fighter aircraft. Bell's founding coincided with the build-up for World War II, and the company consequently developed aircraft such as the XFM-1 Airacuda and P-39 Airacobra during the war years. The Bell P-59 Airacomet, the first American jet-powered fighter, took its first flight in 1942 but was never adopted for service.

In 1941, Bell hired engineer Arthur M. Young, who would provide the knowledge and innovative spirit required for the development of the company's first helicopters. Bell's initial civilian-certified offering, the Bell 47, first took flight in December 1942, marking the beginning of a long and illustrious development path that continues to this day.

Textron purchased Bell, then known as Bell Aerospace, in 1960, just after the introduction of the Bell 204. This turboshaft-powered helicopter was the first in the line of ubiquitous Huey-family rotorcraft and was designed initially to meet the U.S. Army's requirements for a utility rotorcraft. In the military role, the type was designated the HU-1 and later UH-1. The image of the Huey family is intrinsically connected to the rotorcraft's enormous involvement in the Vietnam War, where it served with both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps through the conflict's entire duration. The combat-tested reputation of the UH-1 translated into strong civilian sales of the 204 and 205 models, and later into sales of the 212, 214, 214ST, 407, 412, and more.

In 1976, Textron rebranded the Bell Helicopter division as Bell Helicopter Textron. This designation remained until 2018 when the company was officially renamed Bell.

Currently, Bell manufactures the 505, 407, 429, 412, and 525 rotorcraft for the civilian market. Maximum passenger counts range from four in the 505 to 16 in the 525. Bell employs roughly 8,000 people and is headquartered in Fort Worth.