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Bell Helicopter has rebranded itself as simply “Bell,” officially dropping the “Helicopter” part of the name it had held for almost 60 years.
The new brand, announced on Feb. 22 shortly after the company’s employees were informed, is joined by a new logo, tagline and company values.
In a conference call with media, Mitch Snyder, Bell’s president and CEO, said the changes better reflected the broad scope of the company’s work in aviation, which has recently included the development of an urban air taxi in partnership with Uber, the V-280 Valor tiltrotor achieving first flight, and the testing of new propulsion systems with its HYDRA demonstrator.
“The word helicopter within our name was very confining, and the fact is we’re not a helicopter company, and we’re not a tiltrotor company — we’re a technology company redefining flight,” he said.
“The first thing we did is we dropped the word ‘helicopter,’ so we’re simply ‘Bell.’ That was powerful in [that] it allows us to be open and creative [with] all the kinds of things that we can innovate in terms of flight.”
Bell’s new logo, which utilizes the same red color used by the company previously, is set within a shield shape — to represent Bell’s reputation for safe, reliable and rugged products, said Snyder. “The shield protects you and makes you feel safe, and so that is why the foundational element of the logo is the shield,” he said.
Below the word “Bell” is a silhouette of a dragonfly (which also looks like a four-bladed vertical-facing propeller), which Synder said was a great symbol for the company.
“It is the most amazing flying creature on earth — it can take off and land anywhere, it can fly very quickly and efficiently, it can fly forwards, backwards, sideways, up and down, it can hover, it can see 360-degrees from above, and it catches 95 percent of its prey,” said Snyder. “It has mastered flight, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Bell claims the name change reflects something of a return to its legacy with a focus on innovation in flight, but it’s also echoes the company’s roots with a broader focus on aviation. The manufacturer was founded as Bell Aircraft Corporation by Larry Bell in Buffalo, New York, in 1935, before evolving into three divisions (of which the helicopter business was one) under Bell Aerospace. Following Textron’s purchase of Bell Aerospace in 1960, the helicopter division was renamed the Bell Helicopter Company.
However, despite the name change, Snyder said the company has no plans to stop designing helicopters.
“We can design new helicopters, [and] we can design tiltrotors,” he said. “By dropping ‘helicopter,’ [it] doesn’t mean we’re not building or designing new helicopters, it just means we don’t want to be confined to it.”
Going forward, the company’s website will be found at bellflight.com, and its social media handles are @bellflight.
The new Bell brand will be on show at the upcoming HAI Heli-Expo 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, held Feb. 27 to March 1.