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Lawrence Bell

AKA Lawrence Dale Bell

Born: 5-Apr-1894
Birthplace: Mentone, IN
Died: 20-Oct-1956
Location of death: Buffalo, NY
Cause of death: Stroke
Remains: Buried, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Bell Helicopter

Lawrence Bell dropped out of high school, but worked his way up to shop foreman for the Glenn L. Martin Company by the age of 18. Certain he could never rise to the top of Martin while its founder was still alive, he jumped to Consolidated Aircraft, where he became a Vice President, then started his own Bell Aircraft Corporation in 1935. In its early years the company built military and experimental aircraft, most notably the Bell X-1, which on 14 October 1947 with Chuck Yeager in the cockpit reached a speed of 700 mph 43,000 feet above the earth, becoming the first aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight (i.e., without diving). The company's other noteworthy aircraft include the single-engine P-39 (widely used in the Soviet Air Force) and the P-59 Airacomet (the first American jet fighter), and helicopters including the Model 47 (used for medical transport in the Korean War) and UH-1 Iroquois (used extensively in the Vietnam War). Bell suffered a stroke in 1956 and lingered for several months before dying. Later known as Bell Helicopter, the company founded by Bell is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron.

Father: Isaac Bell (lumber mill manager)
Mother: Harriet Sarber Bell (teacher)
Brother: Grover Bell (d. 1913 air crash)
Wife: Lucille Mainwaring Bell (secretary, m. 1915, sep. 1948, div., no children)

    High School: (dropped out)

    Bell Aircraft Corp. Founder & President (1935-56)
    Consolidated Aircraft Corp VP (1928-35)
    Martin Marietta Shop Foreman (Martin Co., 1914-28)
    Daniel Guggenheim Medal 1944
    Colliet Trophy 1947
    Army Aviation Hall of Fame
    International Aerospace Hall of Fame
    National Aviation Hall of Fame
    French Legion of Honor
    Stroke 20-May-1956

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