In 1941 Bell Aircraft Corporation begins development work on its first helicopter, the Bell Model 30.
Floyd Carlson performs the first helicopter rescue in the Bell Model 30. Two ice fishermen, Arthur Johnson and Wally Gillson, are rescued one at a time on Lake Erie. Carlson receives the Treasury Department Silver Medal for this daring feat.
The Bell Model 47B is granted the world’s first commercial helicopter license in 1946. The Bell Model 47 later sets an altitude record of 18,550 feet and a speed record of 133.9 mph.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, reached Mach 1.06 (700 mph) at an altitude of 43,000 feet in the Bell XS-1, aircraft number 1 (later designated as the Bell X-1). This milestone was achieved on the 50th flight of the XS-1.
The inauguration ceremony of the first helicopter airmail service, which includes experimental flights by the Bell Aircraft B-47, occurs in the New York City area. Over 100,000 letters are carried by the helicopter service on the first day of operation alone.