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D-HIDE Brantly B-2B c/n 346 - Ahlhorn Air Force Base in Germany - 14 September 1975 Brantly 305 TF-DIV

The 1964-built Brantly B-2B c/n 346 was registered N2184U in the USA. In April 1964, the Brantley was registered D-HIDE in Germany with Franz Hartmannsberger, Heusenstamm, and based at Flugplatz Egelsbach. In December 1982, the Brantly was withdrawn from use and registration D-HIDE was cancelled in 1983. Brantly B-2B D-HIDE was seen at Fliegerhorst Ahlhorner Heide in Germany during the Tag der offenen Tr on 14 September 1975.

The Brantly B2B is a two-seat light helicopter powered by a single 180 hp Lycoming IVO-360-A1A four-cylinder horizontally-opposed aircooled engine with fuel injection, driving a three-blade main rotor and a two-blade tail rotor. The Brantly B-2 was the second helicopter designed by Newby Odell Brantly. The first Brantly helicopter, Model B-1, was a two-seater with two coaxial rotors powered by a 150 hp Franklin O-335 engine, having been constructed by the Pennsylvania Elastic Company and first flew as NX69125 in 1946. The Brantly B-1 had a fixed tailwheel undercarriage and directional control was achieved through a small rudder on the sternpost and was too complex to operate as a personal helicopter. The Brantly B-2, is a conventional configuration (main and tail rotor) using the B-1 rotor design. Simpler, lighter and more economical. The prototype B-2, registered N9069H, with two main wheels in the front and a small tail-wheel, was powered by a 100 hp Lycoming O-29 engine and first flew on 21 February 1953. A second prototype, registered N545A, improved and with a more powerful Lycoming VO-340-A1A, first flew on 14 August 1956. Brantly decided to introduce a series of modifications on the N9069H, like the new skid landing gear and a raised tail rotor. In the Spring of 1958 the U.S. Department of Defense announced the award of a contract for five helicopters to be used for evaluation purposes by the US Army as candidates to replace the OH-13 and OH-23 in the U.S. Army observation helicopter category. Production was started in 1958 on the five military evaluation models, designated YHO-3BR (s/n 58-1492 to 58-1496). Three of these were evaluated at Fort Rucker and the other two at the Naval Air Test Centre, Patuxent River, Maryland. The YHO-3BR did not complete user testing after engineering evaluations revealed significant deficiencies and all the five units were later returned to the manufacturer because judged to be too small to be of practical military use. Following the military examples, commercial B-2s entered production and the Model B-2 (Military YHO 3BR) received type certificate No. 2H2 from the Federal Aviation Agency on 27 April 1959. The production in series started that same year with a rate of one unit a week. The first two B-2s were delivered to Mid-States Helicopter Corp. and Keystone Helicopter Corp. and before the end of 1959 the company sold 10 units. On 25 May 1961, the company delivered its hundredth B-2. Brantly Model B-2A was a further development, distinguished from the earlier model by cabin redesign, engine accessory refinements, a more comprehensive range of equipment and the recontouring of the transparant cabin hood to provide improved all-round visibility. FAA Type certification for Model B-2A was approved on 21 December 1962, and the B-2 was replaced in production after completing more than 200 B-2s. The Model B-2B was the next development, with as main change the introduction of a fuel-injection engine by adding the Bendix fuel injector RSA-5AD1 with servo regulator. Type certification for Model B-2B was approved on 1 July 1963. A total of over 470 Brantly B-2s were built in the Models B-2 (YHO 3BR); B-2A and B-2B.

On 15 December 1953, the Brantly Helicopter Corporation was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 25 April 1966, Lear Jet Corporation announced the acquisition of Brantly Helicopter Corporation through an exchange of stock giving Lear 97% ownership of Brantly. Lear was interested in Brantly with the intention to develop a new, sleek, fast executive jet helicopter. In 1967, Lear Jet Corporation ran into financial problems and was taken over by Gates. Production of the Brantly B-2B and Model 305 continued, but Gates wasn't realy interested in helicopters and in 1969, Gates Lear Jet sold all the rights of Brantly Helicopters to Aeronautical Research & Development Corporation (ARDC) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Early 1970, ARDC ended production and by the end of 1970, the rights of the Brantly helicopters were acquired by Brantly Operators Inc. of Michael K. Hynes. In 1975, he renamed the company as Brantly-Hynes Helicopter Inc. and later that year, the Franklin Capital Corp, headed by F. Lee Bailey who also owned Enstrom Helicopter Corporation at that time, purchased the company. Brantly-Hynes first was just providing product support but later placed the B-2B and 305 back into production. In 1984, the company was renamed Hynes Helicopter Inc. and in 1987 all assets were offered for sale. In 1989, Brantly Helicopter Industries U.S.A. Co. Ltd. took over manufacturing and marketing rights and production facilities. First new-build B-2B (N25411 c/n 2001) flew 12 April 1991; three (c/n 2001, 2004 and 2006) were built under this name. Production of another four B-2Bs (c/n 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007) were subsequent manufactured by Brantly International Inc., Vernon, Texas, which received FAA production certificate on 19 July 1996. In 2009, Brantly International and Weifang Tianxiang, Qingdao China, set up a joint venture, Weifang Tianxiang Aerospace Industry Co. Ltd., and received approval to set up a production line in Qingdao. In 2011, the engineering and administrative offices of Brantly were relocated into the facilities of their sister company Superior Air Parts in Coppell, Texas. From this new location Brantly provides communication and technical support for their customers and suppliers. All its manufacturing is done at its parent facility in Qingdao, China, but no new helicopters are currently available for sale.

page last updated: 24-02-2013
Copyright Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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