This chopper is one of the most unique helicopters out there. Not because of the type but because of what it is. I'm going to show a group of pictures starting with the aircraft in question, which I believe is the only one of it's type in the world.
Those that know the Bell 222 program know that there were 3 unique variants. The 222A with Lycoming LTS-101-650C engines, the B that incorporated a longer tailboom with smaller width vertical tail surfaces along with a taller main rotor mast, uprated LTS 101-750C engines resulting in slightly higher speeds and improved SHP, a larger diameter main rotor, and ventral strakes on the sponsons. Then there was the U (for Utility) or UT (Utility Twin) model, which incorporated all of the improvements of the B model, along with trading retractable gear for fuel storage in the sponsons hence it has fixed skid gear. In the 90's people started removing the standard Lycoming engines and replacing them with Allison 250-C30G engines which were less expensive to maintain, gave improved single engine or engine out performance, and provided yet another slight boost power and made it effectively a cleaner aircraft because of reduced exhausts, as well as the exhaust ports being moved to the top of the cowling as opposed to the standard back rear. A move Bell later made standard with the Bell 230. This aircraft was to be known as the SP or Special Performance.
With all of that said, the first picture I show is of the aircraft I lovingly call the ASPUT. I've never seen another like her and I am going to show you that there are differences you can see. Please pay particular attention to the tailboom length, vertical tail surfaces, and main rotor. The other pics will be the A, B, UT, and SP for comparison. The SP will be the last picture but note the exhaust ports. I have been trying to figure out why this "ASPUT" exists as it does because it is something of an enigma. If anyone can provide knowledge about this aircraft, I'd love to know more. Thank you for your time and consideration. Best regards, Jeremy
P.S. For those that want to talk about the rear window being different, the large square window is the optional emergency pop out window offered by Bell
-- Edited by jrbirdman on Sunday 24th of January 2016 02:58:46 AM
It's just a UT converted to SP standards. Belongs to a private owner in South Africa.
I would agree if it wasn't for the fact that it was actually an A with skids! This below is a UT converted to SP standards, you can tell by the tail. The UT had the B's tail modifications and ventral strakes under the sponsons.
-- Edited by jrbirdman on Sunday 24th of January 2016 02:31:03 AM
Maybe it began its life as one, but if you search up on the registration you'll find both UT and SP assigned to it. It was just a private conversion.
I'm inclined to agree. Some private owners do their own conversions to the point of creating a "morph" basically. You're right, it probably is an A, but it's also everything else because of upgrades here and there.