Bell 47 Helicopter Overview:
In the early 1940s, while war raged across the world, an engineer named Arthur Young was working on his ideas for a new helicopter for military rescue and civilian utility work. Young ultimately took his designs to the Bell Aircraft Company who hired him and financed prototypes for further work. With a mind on ease of inspection and maintenance, the helicopter uniquely featured an open structure with all primary components visible. A 157 horsepower Franklin engine and two-bladed wooden main rotor system gave respectable performance. Two occupants could be seated in a single row, and both sides had full flight controls allowing the helicopter to be used for training. Certified in March 1946, the Model 47 was geared toward utility operations.
In 1949 the Model 47D would bring the unique large ‘soap bubble’ canopy and the addition of a third seat. The most successful civilian version, the 47G, began production in 1953 and further offered either a 200 horsepower Franklin or 240 horsepower Lycoming. This combination greatly improved the hot weather and high altitude performance as well as increasing the maximum weight the helicopter could lift.
The Model 47’s most famous role would begin with the ordering of 28 modified 47As by the US Army Air Forces (the forerunner to the US Air Force) as the YR-13. Following the separation of the Air Force from the Army in 1948, the Army would order 65 as the H-13 “Sioux”. With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, demand for utility and medevac helicopters skyrocketed and the Army placed orders for gradually improved models from Bell, more or less paralleling the civilian line. The OH-13 would be a militarized version of the 47G and the most numerous type. Though the Sioux was outfitted with a variety of equipment in military uses, by far the most ubiquitous configuration was a medevac configuration with a single stretcher mounted above each skid and large ‘saddle’ fuel tanks located above and behind the cabin. Bringing wounded to Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals, the helicopter would become famous when this was brought to the screen on the television show “M.A.S.H.”. Sioux varieties would serve in the US military through the late 1960s.
The Model 47 set a number of helicopter firsts: to be adopted by all branches of the US military; to carry a sitting President; to cross the Alps; to provide aerial television broadcast; and to spray crops. NASA even adopted the 47 as an initial trainer for potential moon landing astronauts, with one saying “if you didn’t get the helicopter training, you knew you weren’t going.” Over 8400 Model 47s and H-13s were produced and over 1400 remain registered today.
Bell 47 Insurance Cost:
Aviation insurance in general, is a very specialized industry and premiums vary depending on make and model of the aircraft, hull value, use of the aircraft, pilot history and qualifications and aircraft insurance rates even take into account the loss history of each specific make and model and the loss history of the aviation industry as a whole.
Bell 47 insurance, like all aviation insurance, is broken down into 2 specific coverages. The first is Liability Coverage, which is standard on every aircraft insurance policy and the second is optional hull coverage, which covers damage to the aircraft itself.
Bell 47 aviation liability insurance covers damage caused by the aircraft, outside of the aircraft, specifically property damage, bodily injury, and provides for legal defense in the event that the aircraft owner or policyholder is sued.
Aircraft liability insurance is typically offered for Bell 47’s in amounts between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 per occurrence (per incident) and includes coverage for passengers, but typically limits that amount to between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per passenger. Passenger liability coverage is included within the total liability coverage amount.
A real-world example of how this aviation liability coverage would protect you: If, as a result of operating your Bell 47 you damaged property or caused bodily injury outside of the aircraft, you would have the full amount of total liability coverage to pay for damages that occurred, less the liability amount paid for passengers inside the aircraft. If the aircraft crashed and you had passengers inside the aircraft that were injured, your insurance policy would pay up to the policy passenger limit for each passenger.
This liability coverage also applies as a bubble that follows the aircraft around. If the aircraft is hangered, liability coverage extends throughout your hangar and it is this coverage that airports will typically require you to have. It’s not a separate insurance policy, it is actually coverage built into your standards airplane insurance policy.
Other liability options: Higher liability coverage on the Bell 47 is available to qualified pilots with experience in the make and model and a minimum Commercial/RW/IFR license/Ratings and commercial helicopter uses.
The second coverage on a Bell 47 insurance policy is hull coverage and is an optional coverage. Aircraft hull insurance covers damage to the aircraft itself and is an agreed value, not subject to depreciation. Agreed value is decided during the initial insurance quoting process, the aircraft owner requests an insurance quote for his or her Bell 47 and requests a quote including hull coverage in the amount of say $100,000. Once an aviation insurance company provides a quote, they are agreeing with you that your aircraft is worth $100,000
*Insurance companies may place additional stipulations on quotes to prove the value of your aircraft prior to binding, if your agreed value is higher than bluebook.
Most aviation insurance companies do not offer deductibles higher than $0 deductibles, which means in the event of a total loss, if your aircraft was insured for $100,000, you would get a straight check for $100,000.
Bell 47 Insurance Cost Breakdown:
As of January 2021, there are 7 carriers quoting Bell 47 insurance in the U.S. We consider qualified pilots to have at least a Private/Rotor-wing license, with 500 total hours, 250 rotor-wing hours and 50 hours in the make/model.
For an annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability only coverage.
Premium range for qualified pilots: $1,500-$1,750 per year.
Premium range for less than qualified pilots (low-time/etc): $1,750-$2,700 per year.
For an annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability coverage and $100,000 in hull coverage
Premium range for qualified pilots: $2,500-$3,700 per year.
Premium range for less than qualified pilots (low-time/etc): $4,800-$6,400 per year.
BWI is a family-owned, nationwide insurance brokerage specializing in aviation insurance since 1977. Our dedicated Aviation Insurance Professionals are highly trained, hand-picked and experienced in helping Bell 47 owners and operators obtain the very best insurance coverage.
BWI offers comprehensive Bell 47 insurance policies for personal, business, charter, industrial aid, and commercial helicopter uses.
For more information or to get an actual Bell 47 insurance quote, please fill out a quote request online here or call us at 800.666.4359
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*Always consult your insurance policy for exact coverage specifications, exclusions and details.