The Bell 206B JetRanger III is a 5-seat light utility helicopter powered
by a single Rolls Royce Allison 250-C20J 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 1991-built Bell 206B JetRanger III c/n 4160 was registered C-GADQ
with Bell Helicopter before it was exported to Germany. However
in Germany registration D-HOBE was reserved, the Bell 206B JetRanger III
entered the German register as D-HOBA with Wiking Helikopter Service
GmbH, Wilhelmshaven, in May 1991. In service with Wiking, JetRanger
III D-HOBA was christened "Girlils". Registration D-HOBA was cancelled in
October 1997, and on 20 November 1997, the Bell 206B3 was registered N18EA in the USA with
Edwards and Associates Inc., Bristol, Tennessee, a company specializing in helicopter sales,
completions, maintenance and aftermarket accessories. On 10 December 1998, the
JetRanger was registered G-BXPN in the UK with R and M International
Ltd., Dereham. On 22 January 1998, the helicopter was re-registered G-ONYX
and registered with D.C. Burgoyne and A.J. Burgoyne t/a Burgoyne Group, Hereford.
First on 13 March 1998, registration N18EA was cancelled as exported to the UK.
On 18 October 2000, Bell 206B JetRanger III G-ONYX was registered with N.C. Wheelright,
Alcester, and on 21 April 2004, the next registered owner became Kenrye Developments Ltd.,
Dundalk, Republic of Ireland. On 11 September 2009, registration G-ONYX was cancelled by CAA after CofA expired on 30 July 2008.