Friday Night Blades: College Football and Helicopters

From saving lives and assisting in the fight to preserve freedom, helicopters serve many important purposes when it comes to human mobility. During the fall season when football hype is at an all time high, another use for Bell helicopters emerged - college football recruiting.

In a SEC Country article published last fall, Louisiana State University head coach, Ed Orgeron shared his ultimate high school football recruiting tactic - using helicopters to attract recruits. In a press conference, he claimed that chartering helicopters allows for fast, convenient travel and skipping traffic in major cities. The coach added that the sight of a helicopter landing near high school football fields does add the “WOW” factor needed to win over recruits.

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Unbeknownst to some, Bell helicopters have played a big role in college football recruiting. Former head coach of Texas A&M University, Kevin Sumlin, gained attention in 2015 for using a “Swagcopter”, or a Bell 429, to fly to recruits’ high school football games. In a New York Times article, Sumlin mentioned that the helicopter was “undefeated with recruits.” Recently, University of Minnesota sports newspaper, Gopher Sports, shared a video of Coach Fleck using a Bell 206 LongRanger to fly to high school football games. Current NCAA National Championship coach, Nick Saban, has often been filmed arriving to high school football practices in a Bell 206 or a Bell 407 . Following this new recruiting trend, University of Texas coach Tom Herman recently took off in a Bell 206 Jet Ranger from the Darrell K. Royal Stadium.

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ABOVE: Bell 429 Interior

The world of college football, much like the sport, is fast-paced and high intensity. While juggling the current demands of producing results on the field every Saturday, a coaching staff also needs to concentrate on the future of their program and how they can improve or sustain their team’s success. Helicopter transportation and chartering services fit perfectly into this environment by providing fast and comfortable transport on command. Since the NCAA football coaches typically charter these helicopters from local aviation companies, they can utilize this form of transportation at a decent cost. The aircraft also offers more privacy than an airplane, allowing coaches to discuss sensitive information. Unlike cars, the open seating in the aircraft provides a more comfortable environment to conduct business in. As Coach Orgeron previously implied, they allow coaching staff to arrive in style when visiting multiple high school football games in one night.

With the end of the college and professional football season, the off-season has arrived. However, the arrival of National Signing Day shows how college football teams are already gearing up for the upcoming season. Starting around next fall, be on the lookout for college football recruiting’s best asset flying to your high school football game.

About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.

We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of on-demand mobility.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.

Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; and risks related to our international business, including establishing and maintaining facilities in locations around the world and relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.