artwork by Tor Karlsson
text by Martin Waligorski
First announced in September 1973, the Bell 206L Long Ranger was developed to meet a requirement for a turbine-powered general-purpose helicopter in a size and performance range between the five-seat Jet Ranger II and 15-seat Model 205A-1. The original Model 206L Long Ranger flew for the first time in September 1974 and production aircraft were delivered from October 1975. It was updated in 1978 with the new Model 206L-1 Long Ranger, which introduced a new 500shp Allison 250-C28B engine. Detail improvements included also a redesigned aft cabin to provide more headroom for rear seat passengers, new cowlings, firewall, engine mountings and engine deck area structure and other refinements.
The Swedish National Police airborne helicopter unit was established in 1964. The unit, called Polisflyget, has ever since been the only airborne Police unit in Sweden. While it began with only two helicopters, in time the unit expanded its strength to eight rotorcraft divided between four air bases.
Polisflyget has operated Bell helicopters ever since it started helicopter activities back in 1964. The first two were Bell 47s. In 1967 they got their first Jet Rangers and in 1979 they got their first Long Ranger. It served with distinction though many years. However, on February 7th, 2002 the entire Police helicopter base at Tullinge Airport near Stockholm was lost in a huge fire. Among the aircraft lost in the flames were three Long Ranger helicopters. Another Long Ranger was lost in a wire strike in February 2001.
In mid-2000 the Swedish National Police decided to upgrade its current fleet by purchasing the new Eurocopter EC135P2’s. The helicopters arrived and in June 2003 the last of the remaining three Bell 206 helicopters was sold.
Bell 206L-1 Long Ranger II, Ser. no 45533, Polisflyg, Sweden
The profile shows SE-HPO, the last of the Police Jet Rangers, in its initial black-and-white livery which it carried at the time of its commission.
This article was originally published in IPMS Stockholm Magazine in August 2003.