XV-3, World’s First Tiltrotor to be Restored
Bell Helicopter to restore the Bell XV-3, the world s first successful tiltrotor aircraft, to museum quality display condition
Bell Helicopter, January 22, 2004 - Arlington, TEXAS - History rolled into Bell Helicopter s Flight Research Center at Arlington Municipal Airport today when a tractor trailer loaded with ancient aircraft parts and pieces was eagerly greeted by Bell employees and retirees.
The precious cargo contained the parts of the Bell XV-3, the world s first successful tiltrotor aircraft. Over the next two years Bell employees and volunteers will restore the aircraft to museum quality display condition.
Bell Helicopter will keep the XV-3 in Fort Worth, until 2008, when the historic plane goes on permanent display at the U.S. Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson A.F.B., Ohio. Bell officials pointed out while the XV-3 will never fly again; it remains an important part of America s aviation heritage.
Built by Bell in 1954 in Fort Worth under a joint Army/Air Force contract, the XV-3 successfully demonstrated the concept that by rotating its outboard prop-rotors up or down, the aircraft could take off and land vertically like a traditional helicopter as well as fly with the high-speed and range of a fixed wing airplane.
From 1955 through 1959, the Bell XV-3 graced the skies over Dallas and Fort Worth, proving conclusively the value of tiltrotor technology. Following the flight test program, the XV-3 was turned over to the Army, which has stored the dis-assembled aircraft at the Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Bell s follow-on tiltrotor aircraft after the XV-3, was the twin-engine turbine powered XV-15, which is on permanent display at The National Air and Space Museum s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia.
The XV-3 restoration project will take place near where the first V-22 tiltrotor aircraft were built and test flown as well as where the newest and first civil tiltrotor, the BA609, is being developed.
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