Celebrating the Iconic Huey’s Roots

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Celebrating the Iconic Huey’s Roots

You can likely ask anyone across generations and they would know about the significance of the Huey helicopter. The name has become synonymous with the term helicopter and the Huey is one of the most widely recognized helicopters ever made.

Sixty years ago, before it would become known as the ‘Huey,’ it would be the XH-40 prototype under development for the U.S. Army. On October 20, 1956 the prototype XH-40 would achieve a successful first fight at our Fort Worth facility. This prototype helicopter was designed to perform medical evacuations, and would become paramount for the military as it increased the amount of patients that could be transported. The platform was increasingly used to quickly transport infantry units in its assault configuration.


Following its first flight, the XH-40 would go through a series of modifications, and was ultimately contracted for inclusion in the U.S. Army inventory. At that point, it was officially designated as the Bell UH-1, the iconic ‘Huey,’ where it would then become the world’s first mass produced turbine powered helicopter.  

The original ”Number 1” ship of the XH-40 prototypes, tail number 54459, has just completed a year-long restoration effort funded by Bell Helicopter, the Aviation Museum Foundation and Blastoff Inc. The restoration was done to bring the prototype aircraft as close to its original Army configuration. To commemorate the special anniversary, the restored aircraft was unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama on October 20, 2016, sixty years to the day from its first flight.

The historical significance of this airframe is without question as it stands as the ultimate source of not only all ‘Hueys’ to come, but also as a predecessor to almost all rotorcraft design seen in today’s world.



About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 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 a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air 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, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. 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.

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