ATTENTION COLLECTORS / MUSEUMS: CIVIL BUILT BELL 204B
Over the last ten years during the course of research
for a book on Hollywood aircraft & helicopters
I had the good fortune to come across the history of a Bell 204B that has a very colorful history.
N1304X is a civil built Bell Model 204B and was the first in a batch of four ordered directly from Bell
for Air America Inc. in 1966. This batch carried registrations: N1304X / N1307X with constructors
numbers: 2196 / 2199. A total of eighty Model 204Bs were built to civil standards from 1962 to 1968.
This colorful history includes it's use in the infamous 1975 US withdraw from Saigon in Vietnam
and it's use a year later in the classic science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Unfortunately this aircraft suffered a crash in Peru on May 21, 2011 and the owners have decided
not to repair and return the chopper to service. They were considering scrapping the airframe when
I found out about it's history. So this web-page was created on my site in the hope of attracting any
interested organisations / individuals with the ability to preserve this piece of aviation history.
Below is a series of photos with additional information along with a written ownership history.
For further questions / enquiries contact Simon Beck: sdbeck AT caverock DOT net DOT nz
Original 1966 Bill of Sale from Bell Helicopters to Air America Inc.
BELL 204B msn: 2196 OWNERSHIP HISTORY
Air America Inc., USA - July 1st 1966 / reg: N1304X
Omni Aircraft Sales Inc., USA - February 2nd 1976 / reg: N1304X
Rocky Mountain Helicopters Inc., USA - February 6th 1976 / reg: N1304X
Bell Helicopter Textron, Div of Textron Inc., USA - August 5th 1977 / reg: N1304X
Rambling Rotors Inc., USA - November 14th 1977 / reg: N1304X
Rogers Helicopters Inc., USA - December 31st 1984 / reg: N1304X
Vancouver Island Helicopters Ltd., Canada - July 1986 / reg: C-GVVI
Eagle Copters, Canada - April 1987 / reg: C-GVVI
Great Slave Helicopters Ltd., Canada - June 1987 / reg: C-GVVI
Eagle Copters, Canada - 2008 / reg: C-GVVI
Servicios Aereos De Los Andes, Peru - date ukn / reg: OB-1891-P
Two stills of N1304X on the US Embassy roof in Saigon during the 1975 withdraw from Vietnam.
Side-view of Bell 204B, N1304X, showing the typical Air America livery.
N1304X while in service with Air America in Vietnam from 1966 to 1976.
Movie star role! N1304X was provided, along with a Bell 214B and two Bell 206B Jet Rangers, for
the Wyoming sequences at Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The film's
poster is above left with a shot above right of N1304X disguised as an unmarked army chopper
lifting supplies to a remote government UFO base - all for the movie of course.
Photo: Harry Wadley.
A fly-by during twilight filming on Close Encounters. N1304X played the part of an
aerial sprayer helicopter trying to capture escaped detainees at Devil's Tower.
The observation blister was added by Rocky Mountain for logging operations.
Photo: Harry Wadley.
In service with Great Slave Helicopters Ltd. in Canada with reg: C-GVVI.
The helicopter suffered an accident in Peru on May 21, 2011. Useable parts were
salvaged and the airframe subsequently stored. I believe it can still be restored
to static condition for museum display.
Photo: Servicios Aereos De Los Andes.
Interested museums / individuals contact Simon Beck at: sdbeck AT caverock DOT net DOT nz
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