Bell 505

March 2, 2014 by Tim McAdams

Heli-Expo 2014, held last week in AnaheimCalifornia, is the annual worldwide helicopter convention. At the show, Bell Helicopter announced the Bell 505 JetRanger X. The latest generation of the JetRanger series that started 50 years ago. Scheduled for its first flight later this year, the company has started signing letters of intent. The new model is aimed at a wide variety of missions, including utility, corporate, private owners and training schools.

Based on the original Bell 206B, the Bell 505 JetRanger X is a five-seat, single-engine turbine helicopter with a cruise speed of 125 knots, range of 360 nautical miles and a useful load of 1,500 pounds. The fuselage has been updated to provide a sleek modern look that features increased cabin volume and side clam shell doors. The cockpit improvements include the Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite and wrap-around windscreens providing a wide field of view. The engine has been changed to the 504 shp Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), an engine data recorder and a 3000 hour TBO. The rotor system retains the two-bladed, high inertia system that gave the JetRanger its reputation for excellent autorotation capabilities.

Bell Helicopter has also announced it will build the helicopter at a newly constructed assembly facility at the Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana.  Also new is a website ( where customers can custom build and order the helicopter online.



  • Alan Barnes

    If they can come in around the price range of the R66, as they’ve stated their target is, then Robinson is going to have some serious competition.

  • Kris Sundberg

    But if it’s built under the original 206 type certificate from 50 years ago, then won’t it be technologically inferior to the Robinson?

  • Alan Barnes

    From my understanding, it uses some of the components from the 206 but it’s a clean sheet design. I’m guessing it will probably still be under the 206 type cert (like the 407 is if I’m not mistaken) for cost purposes. Being under the 206 type certificate in no way means it’s technologically inferior.

  • Daniel Lee

    Still has a “blocked” tail rotor. In a strong right crosswind the vertical fin creates vortices that feed right into the tail rotor, making control of the machine difficult to impossible.

  • Alan Barnes

    Easily solved by not flying in conditions that exceed the capabilities of the machine you’re flying?

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  • Michiel Schuitemaker

    It will be interesting indeed to see if the price and hourly operating expenses come in close to the R66. As of now, the R66 is in a league all of its own. Looking at the 205, the machine is substantially more complex than the R66 so unless this was a clean sheet design, much of the 205 will have survived. This would result in much higher costs… I hope this is not so!