The Army procured a Bell Model 47 in December 1946 for operational evaluation. It was soon followed by 17 identical aircraft powered by a single 175 HP Franklin O-335-1 piston engine and had accommodations for a pilot and one passenger. It became the first helicopter produced on a large-scale to enter Army service following the 1947 Army-USAF split. The Army modified 16 H-13B’s in 1952 for service as air ambulances. These aircraft were designated H-13C’s and incorporated the skid landing gear and open -lattice tail boom. They were capable of carrying two stretchers on external racks fitted to the tops of the skids. This model was used in Korea as a medical evacuation aircraft and seen on the TV show M*A*S*H carrying wounded.
The helicopter on display is a TH-13S and was used as an instrument trainer by the Army. The Army accepted the first of eventual 265 examples in 1963. This variant is 16 inches longer than the standard -H model and is powered by a turbocharged 260 HP TVO-435-25 piston engine. The OH-13S can accommodate two passengers in addition to the pilot, and had a gross weight of 2,855 pounds.
This aircraft is on loan from the Aviation Career Education School of Dallas’ Skyline High School.