The Bell 47J Ranger is a light utility helicopter built by Bell Helicopter. It was an executive version of the Bell 47 designed with a single-engine and a single-rotor and was the first helicopter to transport a president of the United States.
Bell Helicopter developed the 47J Ranger as an improved version of the 47H. The 47J is operated by a single pilot with its seat and controls located forefront of the cabin, situated near the 180-degree visibility clear Lexan bubble canopy.
It also features four seats, with one bench seat at the back of the cabin that extended its full width and enabled a maximum passenger capacity of up to four adults restricted by weight. In March 1957, the United States Air Force acquired two Rangers designated as H-13J, as presidential helicopter.
On July 13, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first United States president and chief executive to be carried by the H-13J when he took off from the White House. In March 1962, the two 47J Rangers were changed from presidential responsibilities and were utilized as transports for VIP passengers for five years until its retirement in July 1967.
In 1966, the film production of Paradise, Hawaiian Style starred by Elvis Presley used two 47J-2 helicopters where the Ranger was flown by Presley’s character over the Hawaiian Islands.
The 47J Ranger has an external length of 9.87 meters, a height of 2.8 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 1.5 meters. The main rotor diameter is 11.33 meters while the main rotor area is 100.8 square meters.
The 47J is powered by a Lycoming VO-435-A1B piston engine. It is a six-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine with two overhead valves per cylinder, a fuel injection system, and produces a maximum thrust of 260 horsepower.
The helicopter has a maximum speed of 91 knots at sea level, a cruise speed of 79 knots, and a travel range of 224 nautical miles with no reserves. It can fly up to 11,000 feet and can climb at a rate of 870 feet per minute. The empty weight is 831 kg, the maximum takeoff weight is 1,270 kg, and the maximum payload is 283 kg. It has a fuel capacity of 48 gallons.