As a world-renowned helicopter training academy, we share our vast aviation knowledge with customers from all corners of the globe. And now, we’re bringing our operations a little bit closer to home. On Monday, July 9, the Bell Training Academy (BTA) opened the Floyd Carlson Airfield located on the corner of Trinity Boulevard and Greenbelt Road to give BTA pilots and customers quick and easy access to training fields. The airfield offers a raised landing platform and runways for training critical normal and emergency procedures, including full touchdown autorotations – a world-recognized differentiator of Bell’s customer training experience. What better way to start a new chapter in our flight school’s history than to dedicate the field to our very first training pilot.
Every company begins with a pioneer, who takes smart risks to further the advance of science and technology in hopes of changing the world. While Lawrence D. Bell led the new frontier into vertical lift technology, his journey to make the impossible possible required many partners. One of these partners, a true pioneer, was Floyd Carlson, chief helicopter test pilot of Bell.
Floyd took his first flight in Bell aircraft on June 2, 1942 in a Bell P-39D Airacobra. Since then, he performed the first flight of every Bell helicopter designed and built, up to his retirement. Going on to become the most experienced and renowned helicopter pilot in the world at the time, Floyd amassed a total of 3628 flight hours of which 1313 hours were in experimental and production helicopters. His mastery of vertical flight led to the CAA certification of the Bell Model 47, the world’s first commercial helicopter. And the rest, as they say, is Bell history.
Today, our world-renowned academy is eager for new pioneers, from training pilots to customers, to experience the thrill of flying Bell in a new location dedicated to a true aviation innovator. We welcome all guests to come and experience the new airfield by registering for the BTA’s various learning opportunities.