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Agusta-Bell 204B (I)UH-1
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N98049 Bell UH-1B-BF c/n 315 - `220 \ V MLD` - Den Helder-de Kooy in Holland - 6 July 1995 Den Helder-de Kooy (EHKD)

The Bell 204B (UH-1B Iroquois) is a 9-seats medium lift utility helicopter powered by a single 1.100 shp Lycoming T53-L-11 turboshaft engine. The single, two-blade rotor gives the helicopter a distinctive whomp-whomp sound that could be heard miles away. The Model 204 was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet a 1952 US Army requirement for a military helicopter suitable for front-line casualty evacuation. In November 1953, revised military requirements were submitted to the Department of the Army. Bell was with Model 204 one of twenty companies that submitted design proposals to meet the U.S. Army requirements in their bid for the contract. On 23 February 1955, after choosing the Model 204, the Army ordered Bell to build three airframes of the Model 204 for evaluation with the designation XH-40. Powered by a 700 shp Lycoming YT53-L-1 engine, the XH-40 first flew on 22 October 1956. Two more prototypes were built in 1957. Before the first XH-40 prototype had flown, the Army had ordered six YH-40 aircraft with 300 mm cabin stretch and other modifications for evaluation. The nine prototype / pre-production models were followed by the initial production model for the U.S. Army, the HU-1A with a 770 shp T53-L-1A. After September 1962, the designation for all models was changed to UH-1 under a unified Department of Defense (DOD) designation system. In 1962, the UH-1A model was succeeded by the more powerful UH-1B, with various external and rotor improvements. More than a thousand model UH-1B helicopters were built plus four prototypes designated YUH-1B. Manufacturing licences for the UH-1B were acquired by Agusta in Italy and Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan. Out of the Bell Model 204, or UH-1B, the Bell 205 was developed. The Model 205, or UH-1D divers primarily from the model 204 in having a longer cabin capable of accommodating twelve troops or six casualty stretchers. The prototype of the Model 205 flew first on 16 August 1961. Series production of the UH-1D commenced during 1963. Due to the Vietnam War the Bell UH-1 series Iroquois was mass-produced for the U.S. Army. The Bell UH-1D Iroquois, better known as the "Huey", began arriving in Vietnam in 1967. Ultimately more than 600 UH-1Ds were transferred to South Vietnam. More than 12,000 Model 205s were built by Bell and its licensees up to the early 1980s of which 344 UH-1Ds were built under license by Dornier in Germany.

Bell UH-1B-BF s/n 351 was built as a HU-1B-BF by Bell at Forth Worth, Texas, USA. In 1961, the helicopter was delivered to the U.S. Army as 61-0771. In September 1962, the designation HU-1B-BF changed according to the unified Department of Defense (DOD) designation system to UH-1B-BF. After the Iroquois 61-0771 was withdrawn from military service, it was sold and registered N98049 in the USA with Bogco Aviation Inc., Wilmington, Delaware. In January 1989, the Bell helicopter arrived on delivery to Helicsa at Madrid-Cuatro Vientos in Spain. On 24 May 1989, the Bell 204B (UH-1B-BF) was registered EC-EOG in Spain with Helicsa Helicópteros. In 1993, the Bell UH-1B-BF helicopter was sold to Ronald Vreugdenburg en Ruud Heinen in the Netherlands. In April 1994, registration EC-EOG was cancelled and as before the helicopter was registered N98049 in the USA with Bogco Aviation Inc., Wilmington, Delaware. However registered in the USA, the Bell UH-1B-BF was owned by Ronald Vreugdenburg en Ruud Heinen in the Netherland and based at Den Helder-de Kooy, where it was restored to flying condition. The N98049 was painted in the MLD '220 / V' colors, like the colors of the original Agusta-Bell UH-1B that was operated by the Dutch Navy from 8 June 1962 to 27 September 1977. The restored Bell N98049 flew several years from Naval Air Station De Kooy as ex-MLD AB 204B ´220 / V'. In 1997, the Bell was sold in Chile where the helicopter would serve as a fire-fighting aircraft. On 9 February 1998, registration N98049 was cancelled as exported to Chile. In Chile, the Bell was registered CC-CZH with Helicópteros del Pacifico. After the CC-CZH was transfered to Consorcio Patagonia del Pacifico the helicopter was re-registered CC-PMH.
On 6 July 1995, Bell UH-1B-BF N98049 was seen as MLD `220 \ V` at Den Helder-de Kooy in the Netherlands.

page last updated 05-12-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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