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It was in 1966 when the second generation Bell 205 civilian version helicopter first flew. It could lift more, was longer, and had bigger doors than earlier series helicopters. The civil helicopter differed from the military version in that it had safety door locks, civilian avionics, and a rear cargo compartment.
A small elevator on the Bell 205 compensates for changes in the helicopter center of gravity. Although standard equipment on the helicopter is skids, it can be equipped with floats or skis. Additional fuel tanks can be fitted into the cabin instead of passenger seats.
Cabin seating can accommodate up to thirteen people on bench seats. The seats are easily removed for search and rescue or medivac transportation when up to six stretchers can be fitted into the cabin.
The glazed panels in the lower cockpit area provided the crew with excellent visibility. The engine location above the fuselage, plus numerous access panels, make maintenance easier than on prior models. The fuselage is of metal construction.
Bell 205 helicopters found a variety of uses in countries throughout the world including oil exploration support, agriculture, and fighting blazes. One Bell 205 was used by New Zealand for Antarctic scientific research expeditions.
Over 12,000 Bell 205 helicopters of all types were built, with most of them going to the military. The helicopter was built under license in various countries and exported throughout the world.