Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Early Bell helicopter

The Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton has a Bell 47 helicopter on display. This rather primitive looking craft was inspired by the visionary rotor aircraft proponent, Tommy Fox, and made up of scrounged parts.

Tommy built and flew his own plane right after he completed his aviation training in 1930 in Vancouver. In 1942 he became a ferry pilot for RAF Ferry Command. Ferry pilots flew aircraft destined for war across the Atlantic to Britain.

Fox brought the first helicopters to Edmonton in the 1940s. His company, Associated Airways, specialized in oil exploration services and flying in to hard-to-access areas in the Far North. He supplied airlift for the construction of the DEW line.

The name of the company changed to Associated Helicopters, and this eventually merged with Canadian Helicopters, forming one of the largest "chopper" firms in the world.

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