Bell Aircraft Corporation
The Bell Aircraft Corporation
was an aircraft manufacturer
of the United States
, a builder of several types of fighter aircraft
for World War II
but most famous for the Bell X-1
, the first supersonic
aircraft, and for many types of helicopters. The company was purchased in 1960
by Textron, and lives on today as Bell Helicopter Textron.
The company was founded by Lawrence Bell, who was an early employee and later general manager of the Glenn L. Martin Company, then a manager of the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. When Consolidated moved to California in 1935, Bell stayed behind and formed the "Bell Aircraft Corporation" on 10 July 1935, headquartered in Buffalo, New York.
Helicopter development began in 1941, with the company's first, the Bell Model 30 seeing its maiden flight in 1943, and eventually became the most successful part of the company.
Lawrence Bell died in 1956, and for several years afterwards the company was in financial difficulty.
After the Textron purchase, the company was organized as a subsidiary Bell Aerospace Corporation with three divisions. See Bell Helicopter Textron for further history.
Fixed-wing aircraft, in order of development:
See Bell Helicopter for helicopters.
- Alain J. Pelletier, Bell Aircraft Since 1935 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1992)