By Willie Bodenstein


A mock-up of Bell's new helicopter, the Model 222 was first displayed in January 1974 at the annual helicopter convention. The Model 222, powered by twin 650 SHP Avco Lycoming LTS 101-650 C was the first twin-engine light commercial helicopter, developed in the United States had its first flight on 13 August 1976.

The Bell 222 incorporated a number of advanced features including dual hydraulic and electrical systems, sponsons housing the retractable landing gear, and the Noda Matic vibration reduction system developed for the Bell 214ST.

Manufacturing began in 1975. The Model 222 first flew on August 13, 1976. It received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 16 August 1979 and was approved for visual flight rules (VFR) use on 20 December 1979. Helicopter deliveries began on 16 January 1980.

The more powerful Bell 222B was introduced in 1982 with a larger diameter main rotor. The 222B-based Bell 222UT Utility Twin, with skid landing gear, was introduced in 1983.

There were 188 Bell 222-series helicopters manufactured from 1980 to 1991, of which 59 remain in service and 129 have been retired.

Denel Rooivalk Battle Proven


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