The Korean War made these little mosquitos vastly notorious exactly because they were used as medical evacuation units. Which is why 20th Century Fox, the owner of the franchise and the TV series producer for CBS, made use of the Bell 47 for a starring role. The helicopter is prominently featured at the start of each episode in the opening credits alongside another unit of the same type.
This particular Bell 47 (the company’s first type certified for civilian use, in 1946), serial number 263, became part of the U.S. Navy once it was finished and fulfilled training duties until it was decommissioned in 1958. Afterward, in 1972, the little flyer was acquired by Pathfinder Helicopters in Riverside, California, and the new owner went ahead to a full rebuild.
It was according to Bell standards so it received a completely new “Standard Airworthiness Certificate” the following year. It was then used in various action productions made in Hollywood before landing its most important gig. The show used it 263 times during its decade-long filming schedule, both flying and as a standing prop.
The helicopter even flew away for the final departure scene in the series finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” - the new record holder for the most watched episode in U.S. television history at the time. The 1951 Bell 47 D-1 s/n 263 N5167V has now become available thanks to Platinum Fighter Sales which is offering it on behalf of the current owner, the one who restored it to its former glory.