March 2014

2014 MarchBell Helicopter 209 Cobra/AH-1G HueyCobra

The Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter is one of the most recognizable shapes in the helicopter world. The design traces its origins to the early Bell Model 207 development prototype. The Model 207 gave way to the Model 209, giving the Cobra the shape we so easily recognize today.

The AH-1 (Model 209) flew for the first time on September 7th, 1965, with test pilot Bill Quinlan at the controls. The following year, the U.S. Army awarded Bell a contract for 110 ships and the rest is history. The Cobra served with distinction in all major conflicts where US troops have been involved and it was an essential part of the U.S. Army arsenal during the Viet Nam War. The Cobra is used today by countries such as Israel, South Korea, Japan, Spain and many others.

Over the years, the Cobra has evolved from a single-engine machine to a twin-engine version. The earlier two-bladed teetering rotor has given way to a four-bladed bearingless and hingeless design in the form of the AH-1Z Viper (better known as the “Zulu”). The Zulu version is undergoing further capability improvements and the Cobra should be serving their U.S. Marine Corps for years to come.

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