|Bell D-303, D-326 "Clipper"|
1981 - project
At the 1981 Paris Air Show, Bell officials unveiled a three-engined design which was to be a growth variant of the XV-15. Designated D-303, this tilt-rotor aircraft was proposed in both civil and military versions and offered 16/20-passenger capability. For this project, Bell selected three General Electric T700 engines in order to comply with FAA and CAA one-engine inoperative requirements. Two of these engines were used to drive the three-blade tilting rotors, the third one was on the back of the fuselage in a horizontal position.
Following the successful flight testing of the XV-15, the Bell design team evolved several tilt-rotor aircraft for a large range of missions. The Design D-326 Clipper was aimed at the off-shore oil support market. The large fuselage would have provided accomodation for thirty passengers. The inverted swept-wing would have carried a 5.000shp General Electric CT64 propeller-turbine under streamlined fairings.
A.J.Pelletier "Bell Aircraft since 1935", 1992