Microsoft Flight Simulator celebrates a historic era of rotary wing aviation with this Local Legend release!
BIRTH OF A LEGEND
The single-engine, four-seat Bell 47J Ranger is one of the most important and successful helicopters developed in the early era of rotary wing aviation. Renowned for its versatility, ruggedness, and reliability, the Ranger traces its development to the Golden Age of Flight, the period from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II aeronautical technology enjoyed remarkable strides. In the late 1920s, American Arthur Young, inspired by flight innovations of the time, began independently experimenting with basic helicopter design. In 1941, after more than a decade of work on his own, Young joined the Bell Aircraft Company to develop a full-size, fully functioning helicopter.
His work yielded the Bell 30, a demonstration helicopter that took its maiden flight on June 26, 1943. The successful Bell 30 design provided the basis for Bell’s first commercial helicopter, the Bell 47. The Bell 47 is a “tail rotor helicopter” that uses a 2-blade main rotor and a 2-blade anti-torque tail rotor. The prototype took its maiden flight on December 8, 1945, and Bell introduced the first production variant, the 2-seat 47A, in 1946. The 47A was the first helicopter to be certified for civilian use in the United States and soon became widely adopted for a variety of applications. Many iterations followed, including the H-13 Sioux, used by the U.S. and British military.
YEARS OF SUCCESS AND REFINEMENT
The Bell 47 family of rotorcraft became one of the most successful aircraft lineages, of any type, in history. Bell and other companies under its license manufactured more than 5,000 47s. Many remain airworthy decades after the prototype first flew. In the Fall of 1954, Bell introduced the Bell 47G, a powerful 4-seat general utility version of the 47. The Bell47H, based on the 47G, quickly followed. The 47H was the first helicopter intended for executive use, and Bell sold only 33 models of it. Although the 47H proved a commercial disappointment, Bell remained steadfast in its resolve to introduce a helicopter for the business and executive transport market.
THE BELL 47J RANGER TAKES FLIGHT
In 1956, Bell released the 47J Ranger, a 4-seat version of the 47H. Larger than its predecessor, and fitted with a more powerful engine, it proved a great success. The Ranger was the first helicopter to transport a sitting American president and was featured in a number of popular movies, including the James Bond film “Thunderball.”
The Bell 47J features a single-pilot console that is centered at the forward portion of the cabin. The helicopter’s bubble canopy provides maximum visual situational awareness for the pilot, with a 180-degree unobstructed field of view. The cabin is roomy and has seating for up to three passengers behind the pilot. The helicopter uses standard skids for its landing gear and can be fitted with floats for marine operations.
The 47J Ranger proved to be one of the most successful members of the Bell 47 family. The company manufactured 361 Rangers, with a mix of civil and military subvariants. The helicopter was used worldwide for both commercial applications and in transport for the governments of a dozen nations. In addition to executive transport, the Ranger was used to move people and cargo, air ambulance, commuter flights, aerial surveying, and a variety of military applications, including liaison and reconnaissance.
The U.S. Air Force purchased two 47Js, designated UH-13J Sioux, in March of 1957 for use as the first presidential transport helicopters in American history. On July 12, 1957, American President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to be transported by helicopter when an Air Force Sioux lifted off from the White House lawn. The Bell 47J measures 32 feet, 5 inches in length, stands 9 feet, 3 inches tall, and has a 2-blade main rotor system with a diameter of 37 feet, 2 inches. It is powered by a 6-cylinder Lycoming VO-540-B1B piston engine that delivers up to 260 horsepower to the rotor systems. It has a range of 260 miles, climbs at 870 feet per minute, and has a service ceiling of 11,000 feet above sea level. It cruises at 91 miles per hour and has a top speed of 105 mph.
THE MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR BELL 47J RANGER EXPERIENCE
The Microsoft Flight Simulator Bell 47J Ranger is the 14th aircraft in the franchise’s Local Legend series, and the first time a rotary-wing craft has been featured. Recreated in stunning detail, Microsoft Flight Simulator pilots will savor their time in the 47J Ranger’s cockpit, flying one of rotary wing aviation’s great icons throughout the world.
With two landing gear types—conventional skids and floats—pilots will be able to explore the entire globe through endless flying opportunities. Each variant is available with seven liveries: White; White and Blue; Red, White, and Black; Yellow; Red, White, and Blue; Xbox Aviators Club; and Aviators Club. Buy it today for $14.99. The sky is calling!
Microsoft Flight Simulator is available for Xbox Series X|S and PC with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Windows, and Steam, and on Xbox One and supported mobile phones, tablets, and lower-spec PCs via Xbox Cloud Gaming. For the latest information on Microsoft Flight Simulator, stay tuned to @MSFSOfficial on Twitter.