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(Agusta) Bell 206B JetRanger
Bell 206L LongRanger
HB-XPA Agusta-Bell AB.206B Jet Ranger II c/n 8364 - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 7 June 2005 Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

The Agusta-Bell AB.206B JetRanger II is a 5-seat light utility helicopter powered by a single Rolls Royce Allison 250-C20 turbine engine. In 1961, twelve companies submitted proposals to meet U.S.Army requirements for a four-seat turbine-powered light observation helicopter. After evaluation, three designs were selected and 5 of each: the Bell OH-4A; the Hiller OH-5 and the Hughes OH-6, were ordered for trials by the U.S.Army Aviation Board. The prototype of this Model 206 made its first flight on 8 December 1962. However the Bell OH-4A didn't win the competition, the helicopter was a success as the Bell 206 Jet Ranger. The prototype of this five-seat commercial model, the Bell 206A JetRanger N8590F, flew on 10 January 1966. Bell received FAA certification for the helicopter on 20 October 1966, and deliveries of the Model 206A powered by a 317 shp Allison C18A engine, started in January 1967. In the early 1970s production switched to the Model 206B JetRanger II with a 400 shp 250-C20 turboshaft. Next to this commercial success the Jet Ranger entered after all also the military scene: the Bell 206 Jet Ranger was ordered in 1962 by the US Navy as the TH-57 Sea Ranger. Due to the higher unit price and significant deliver delays on the original winner of the 1961 U.S.Army competition for a light observation helicopter, the Hughes OH-6, the U.S. Army reopened in 1968 the light observation helicopter (LOH) bidding. This time Bell was the winner and an initial order for 2200 OH-58A Kiowa, a military version of the Model 206A followed. Deliveries of the OH-58A helicopters began in May 1969. The Model 206 was built under license by Agusta in Italy as the AB.206 Jet Ranger. More than 4800 206Bs and 1700 206Ls have been produced since the introduction of the 206A JetRanger on 13 January 1967, when the first two production aircraft were delivered to customers. Since, Bell has delivered five different generations of the commercial 206 with its 206A/B JetRangers and 206L/L1/L3/L4 LongRangers. Bell 206 aircraft are currently produced at Bell Helicopter's facility in Mirabel, Canada. Production of the Bell 206B3 JetRanger ended in 2011. The Bell 206L4 LongRanger IV remained in production. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator with Wake Category used to classify aircraft types for the AB206B helicopters is B06.

The 1972-built Agusta-Bell 206B Jet Ranger s/n 8364 was registered first in Gemany as D-HHRT. On 22 November 1984, the helicopter was registered HB-XPA in Switzerland with Säntis-Heli. On 11 May 1994, the helicopter was sold via an auction to Germany and registration HB-XPA was cancelled on 13 July 1994. In Germany, the helicopter was registered D-HDCS with a private owner/operator and based at Flugplatz Herzogenaurach. In November 2001, the D-HDCS was transferred to a new private owner/operator; re-registered D-HDIX and based at Flugplatz Melle. On 26 May 2005, the JetRanger II was restored as HB-XPA to the Swiss register, this time with Skymedia AG. On 30 April  2013, registration HB-XPA was cancelled as exported to Germany; registered D-HWEC and based at Leverkusen. On 7 June 2005, the helicopter was seen as HB-XPA at Groningen Airport as support for the participants of the Red Bull Air Race in Rotterdam and was also active during the Red Bull Air Race in Rotterdam.

page last updated: 03-07-2017
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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