Bell CH-139 JET RANGER
Following successful experience with the Bell Kiowa, the CF selected the Bell 206 BIII Jet Ranger improved commercial derivative for basic helicopter training duties. The Jet Rangers were essentially purchased "off the shelf" for delivery to the military.
Primarily employed in this role at CFB Portage La Prairie in Manitoba, the Jet Rangers possessed more powerful engines and consequently better "hot and high" performance than their operational cousins. The performance of the helicopters spawned a helicopter display team flown by instructors who were known as the Dragonflies. As result of a UN mission to central America requiring this better performance, some of the Jet Rangers were rapidly modified for operational UN use and actively deployed.
The entire Jet Ranger fleet was officially retired from the CF in 1992 only to re-emerge as contractor flown and maintained training aircraft in a now civilianized primary flying training facility in support of the CF program.
For initial conversion to rotary wing aircraft, pilot candidates start their training on the Bell 206 helicopter, one of the most successful commercial helicopters ever produced. The Bell 206 is a proven solution for pilot training and used by many training organizations worldwide. its high inertia rotor system is excellent for practice autorotations and its hydraulically assisted flight controls and single turbine engine make it an ideal rotary wing training aircraft.
The aircraft features include air conditioning, crashworthy fuel cells and an avionics and instrumentation setup that make it an ideal rotary wing conversion platform. as well its intuitively designed cockpit layout provides for an excellent introduction to advanced rotary wing exercises including slope landings, engine–out handling, and successfully dealing with emergency situations.
CH-139 Jet Ranger training helicopter in high visibility training colour scheme (CF Photo)