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Bell 206B JetRanger
Bell 206L LongRanger
OO-SKE Agusta-Bell AB.206B JetRanger II c/n 8331 - heliport Emmen in Holland - 27 May 2004 helicopters in Emmen

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 then, Bell has delivered five different generations of the commercial 206 with its 206A/B JetRangers and 206L/L1/L3/L4 LongRangers. Production of the Bell 206B3 JetRanger ended in 2011; production of the Bell 206L4 LongRanger IV ended in June 2017. At the end, the Bell 206 aircraft were produced at Bell Helicopter's facility in Mirabel, Canada. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Bell 206B helicopters is B06.

Agusta-Bell 206B Jet Ranger II s/n 8331 was built in 1972 as an AB-206A Jet Ranger and registered OO-SKE in Belgium on 24 October 1972. Since it was modified into an Agusta-Bell AB.206B Jet Ranger II. On 7 June 1993, VLC Helicopters Nederland BV, Eindhoven, reserved registration PH-PAM for the aircraft, but the reservation was not taken up and cancelled in August 1995. On 27 May 2004, Agusta Bell AB206B JetRanger II OO-SKE was photographed at the Heli-Holland heliport in the hamlet Emmer-Erfscheidenveen, near the orbital road of Emmen in the Netherlands. On 25 June 2006, JetRanger OO-SKE crashed during take-off from the d'Herbouvillekaai in Antwerp after a collision with Eurocopter AS355 F1 Ecureuil 2 OO-HSH. Both Heli Service Belgium helicopters were in use for the report of a bicycle race in Antwerp. On 16 November 2006, the OO-SKE was cancelled as sold for spares to the US.

page last updated: 29-07-2017
Photo Copyright © Janet Schuringa, the Netherlands

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