HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the Research & Development Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the R&D Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 28, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the Research and Development  Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 cockpit view in the Research and Development  Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 cockpit view in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 cockpit view in the Research and Development  Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 cockpit view in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 view in the Research and Development  Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 view in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 5, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Bell Helicopter XV-3 taking off. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 11

Bell Helicopter XV-3 taking off. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Bell Helicopter XV-3 with the proprotors rotated forward for level flight. (Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter Textron)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 11

Bell Helicopter XV-3 with the proprotors rotated forward for level flight. (Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter Textron)

The product of a 1951 joint U.S. Air Force-U.S. Army initiative, the Bell XV-3 became the world's first successful Vertical Short TakeOff and Landing (VSTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft. By combining the takeoff and hovering capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft, the XV-3 offered great military potential.

Bell completed two XV-3s and began hover tests in 1955. The first XV-3 was damaged beyond repair, but testing continued with the second aircraft. The first complete conversion from takeoff to horizontal flight and back -- the first ever for a tilt-rotor aircraft -- took place in December 1958. 

The XV-3 did not go into production, but it paved the way for the modern tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey. After testing ended in 1965, the surviving XV-3 went on display at Fort Rucker, Ala., and later into storage. In 2004, the XV-3 was moved to the Bell Helicopter Textron facility at Arlington, Texas, where a group of current and retired Bell engineers restored the aircraft. It arrived at the museum in 2007.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engine:
Pratt & Whitney R-985
Maximum speed: 184 mph
Wingspan: 31 feet, 4 inches (rotor tip to rotor tip: 52 feet, 6 inches)
Length: 30 feet, 4 inches

Click here to return to the Research & Development Gallery.

 

Find Out More
Line
Cockpit360 Images
View the XV-3 Pilot Station
View the XV-3 Copilot Station
Line
Related Fact Sheets
Pratt & Whitney R-985 Engine
Line
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.


Mask Policy:
In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD) and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will require all visitors to wear face masks indoors effective July 30, 2021 until further notice.

Visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks while indoors at the museum. This policy applies to all visitors, staff and volunteers regardless of vaccination status. Visitors may wear their own masks or a free paper mask will be provided. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
Additional information available here.

Featured Links

Plan Your Visit button
E-newsletter Sign-up button
Explore Museum Exhibits button
Browse Photos button
Visit Press Room button
Become a Volunteer button
Air Force Museum Foundation button
Donate an item button