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HomeNewsThe chopper that killed President Raisi: Origins, Uses, and Safety Record

The chopper that killed President Raisi: Origins, Uses, and Safety Record

The chopper that killed President Raisi: Origins, Uses, and Safety Record

According to Iranian state media, a Bell 212 helicopter, transporting Iran’s president and foreign minister, crashed amidst heavy fog while traversing mountains on Sunday. Iranian officials expressed fear on Monday that all aboard may have perished as search teams located the wreckage.

Originally developed by Bell Helicopter, now a division of Textron Inc, in the late 1960s as an enhancement of the UH-1 Iroquois, the Bell 212 is the civilian version of the widely used UH-1N “Twin Huey” from the Vietnam War era. Its design innovation included two turboshaft engines, offering increased carrying capacity. Adopted swiftly by the United States and Canada, it has since found global use among both governmental and private entities.

Primarily designated as a utility helicopter (indicated by the “UH” in its military nomenclature), the Bell 212 boasts adaptability for various tasks, including transporting passengers, deploying firefighting equipment, moving cargo, and weapon installation.

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The crashed Iranian model was configured for governmental passenger transport. Bell Helicopter markets its latest iteration, the Subaru Bell 412, for a diverse range of applications such as police operations, medical evacuation, troop movement, energy sector support, and firefighting. Its certification by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency confirms a capacity of 15 occupants, including crew members.

Non-military users of the Bell 212 include Japan’s Coast Guard, various law enforcement and fire departments in the United States, Thailand’s national police, among others. While the exact number operated by the Iranian government remains unclear, their air force and navy collectively possess 10 units, according to FlightGlobal’s 2024 World Air Forces directory.

Regarding safety records, the most recent fatal crash involving a Bell 212 occurred in September 2023 when a privately operated helicopter went down off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, as reported by the Flight Safety Foundation. The organization’s database also notes an Iranian crash of the same model in 2018, resulting in the loss of four lives.

The chopper that killed President Raisi: Origins, Uses, and Safety Record

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