Bell Model 65

The Bell Model 65 Air Test Vehicle (ATV) was an experimental tiltjet VTOL aircraft built by Bell using parts from a number of commercial aircraft.

Two Fairchild J44 missile turbojet engines, producing 1,000 lbf (4.4 kN) thrust each, were mounted one on each side of the aircraft under the wing. These could be tilted from horizontal to vertical. A Turbomeca Palouste turbocompressor was used to provide thrust for reaction jets at the tail and wingtips for control during hover. The aircraft made its first hover on 16 November 1954. This was performed with the aircraft raised on a platform to avoid the reingestion of its exhaust gases. Further development saw a wheeled landing gear being added to the aircraft, which went on to make horizontal flights in 1955. It proved able to make partial conversions at altitude, however it lacked sufficient engine thrust to complete the transition.

The Model 65 programme was ended in 1955 to allow development of the Bell X-14, however the tiltjet experience gained was used to develop the Air Force XF-109 V/STOL fighter concept.

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