In the 1950s, Bell Helicopter developed a turbine-engine powered utility tactical transport helicopter for the U.S. Army. This single-engine helicopter, known as the UH-1B or “Huey,” proved to be very popular with the U.S. Army and was quickly stretched to give a bigger cabin. This stretched version became known as the UH-1D in the Army and as the Bell 205 in the civilian world. In the late 1960s, a twin-engine version of the Bell 205 was developed for the U.S. and Canadian armed forces. This model became the UH-1N for the U.S. military, the CH 134 for the Canadian military and the Bell 212 in the commercial world.
The Bell 212 is a medium twin-engine turbine helicopter. It has a two-bladed teetering rotor similar to the one installed on the Bell 205 but with greater chord for the blades. The blades are made of aluminum alloy. The engines used for this helicopter are the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3B. Two of these engines feed into an integral combining gearbox to form what is known as a “PT 6 Twin-Pac”. The advantage of using a combining gearbox is that it allows use of an upgraded version of the standard Bell 205 main transmission. A two-bladed tail rotor provides directional control. The fuselage is made of conventional aluminum alloys and is mounted on a fixed skid gear. The cabin is the same as that of the Bell 205 and features two pilot seats up front. Behind the pilot seats is the passenger or cargo cabin. It has a flat floor and two very large sliding doors provide ready access to every part of the cabin. When used for passenger transport, it can seat up to 13. When used for cargo, it can carry up to 5,000 pounds internally or externally.
Development of the commercial version was started in 1968 and FAA certification was obtained in 1970. Category A certification was obtained in 1971. The helicopter was also certificated for single-pilot IFR operations in 1973. The Bell 212 was in production from 1971 to 1998. This helicopter proved so popular with the operators that although Bell management tried to stop production numerous times starting about 1985, they had to keep it in production until 1998 to meet the demand. During the 27 years this helicopter was in production, approximately 900 were manufactured.
Eagle Copters Ltd. modifies the Bell 212 to a single-engine helicopter by removing the existing Twin-Pac and installing a single Honeywell T53-17A, B, or BCV.