Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Angels and Demons The Mystery of The Bell 222

I have been trying to catalogue all the Bell 222 Helicopters (not the 222B or the 222UT)
I have just been focusing on C/N: 47001 up to C/N 47099.

After gathering just about every photo i can find ranging from a C/N's first tail number to its last, while also logging if its still airworthy, scrapped or destroyed. I then hit upon trying to find the Missing 222's...  Looking at Tv shows, Movies, anything with a 222 that could be one i have yet to find an image for.. and this is where this 222's conundrum begins.

The BOOK  Angels and Demons (AKA Da Vinci Code 2) was written in / was released in 2000

at that time (in 2000) the Italian Air Ambulances were
C/N 49023 belonging to a Bell 430 with the tail number (registration) I-FREF
and they also had...
C/N 49025 also belonging to a Bell 430 with the tail number (registration) I-FREG

both of these helicopters are the Bell 430 UT,  they clearly have landing Skids rather than Retractable Wheels, and if you google the serials they have always been 430 "UT", they've never had retracts.. not at this stage anyway (last seen 2015 and still a UT).

I-FREG moved from Italy back to the USA in 2005 and was re-registered as N430SL in America until 2015 when it moved to Canada and was given the tail number C-GNHX

Now the film adaptation of the book came out in 2009 (the 430 no longer had the I-FREG registration in 2009 as it clearly gave that up in 2005) but even if it did, you couldn't really have an air ambulance stuck on a film set for 5 to 7 hours for a simple 30 second scene. oooo how the industry spends a whole day for 30 seconds of footage lmao..

This is the REAL I-FREG helicopter (2000-2005)  C/N 49025  A Bell 430 UT (with Skids) This is clearly what Dan Brown the writer would have based the helicopter on in 1999/2000 while writing the Book...

Bell 430 IN ITALY (c) Liotti

This is it in America later registered as N430SL

Bell 430 IN AMERICA (c) BERNARDI & Gianfilippo COLASANTO

This is it in Canada even later.. ready to be registered as C-GNHX

Bell 430 IN CANADA (c) Don Hewlins

Now your probably thinking.. just wtf does all this have to do with a Bell 222 ?
Well... clearly as i said you couldn't keep hold of 1 of two ambulances on a film set for hours, regardless of the fact they no longer had them anyway..

So the film director in 2009 Ron Howard, (thats 9 years after the book was written, maybe even 10 depending on when writing started.. ) But the director or someone else on the production, wanted the helicopter to essentially look like I-FREG from 2000, so the film sits in the time line of 2000 (not 2009, i assume) and so...  Insteps the Mystery Bell 222 wearing a Bell 430 Tail Number...

Unidentified Bell 222 Wearing the 430 Tail Registration
I have been unable to identify this helicopter but i had a few theories..

First Theory: i thought
This could have been no 6 off the line, C/N: 47006, because 47006 was used as a prototype for the Bell 222B/222UT and also the 430.. But then i found them real photos of I-FREG (clearly looks nothing like this 222 in the film) then i also found that when 47006 got re-purposed its C/N's where  43901 and 43903. So their is no way at all that This 222 is 47006, 43901, 43903 and it is certainly not 49025 Bell 430UT

So just what is this 222's real Tail Number ?
So just what is this 222's real Construction Number ?

We know the books 2000 (we duno when writing really began, we know what he based the heli scene on though)
We know the movies 2009 (we can assume filming probably began in 2008, maybe even 2007) 
post production can add a year+ to release dates....
we know that 222 was probably their on set from late 2007 to early 2008 and the film came out in 2009

So how can we identify this 222 ? the shadow could be hiding a 222B winglet fin in this video still

Unidentified Bell 222 Wearing the 430 Tail Registration
But then you can clearly see by this shot (below) that their is no 222B winglet fin showing or even casting a shadow on the floor.. this is without a doubt a 222 with no visual signs of modifications at all....

Unidentified Bell 222 Wearing the 430 Tail Registration
No modifications... a 430 tail number clearly on a 222... no modifications mmm.. the screen shots are crap.. but look at the paint job.. it looks like kids painted it with spoons  lmfao... time for theory Two...

Second Theory: I think
Im looking at that crappy paint job.. and.. out of the 250+  Bell 222 photos i have gathered thus far,  i have seen 3 pure white 222's and 2 of the 222's that look just as crap....
Now i need to know were they both "where" in 2007/2008....

Starting with a known location..   IMDB lists a number of filming locations in rome, i assume out of all the locations based in Italy.. that this helicopter scene was filmed at "St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City"    it fits the courtyard and ties in with the steps and the obelisk or what ever you call them in the centre. (so it was in italy at some stage "2007/2008" and not a USA film set or back lot)
IMDB also states in the company credits  Helicopter Film Services (aerial filming services: Italy) That has been of no use at all. Googling that is a farce... and im not giving imdb money for PRO access to get the Italian company name. The films end credits doesn't list anything neither.. tut tut..

So my final theory has THREE contenders..

My First MAYBE

Bell 222 C/N 47040

Mode S (ICAO24) Code: A1DED5.. in-case anyone can find flight data for 2008 to Italy.. ?? 

N22BV was First registered as N22BV (from the french F-GVAN) on 2002-10-29 to Panda Adventures Inc Wilmington, DE 19810 United States, panda adventures re- registered on 2005-10-18 and again on 2008-10-21, they had this ship up until It was De-Registered on 2013-10-28 and exported to Australia.  I think its been re-registered as VH-OSU and is a private owner as of 2014... But the point is This N222BV from October 2008 to October 2013 Looked Like This cheep white heli 

The Photo of C/N 47040 (as white) N22BV was taken at TJIG - Airport Fernando Ribas Dominicci (Isla Grande) In October 2008 maybe before or after filming ? (im unsure if this is the 222 though) 
To fly from their to vatican city looks like this, so who knows right ? shipping / cargo logs ?

My SECOND Maybe (though ber in mind i only have around 280 varied 222 photos to work from) and they only cover 62 (of the 99, 222's) that said 10 of the 99 have always missing and never registered So I am close to having a photo of almost all of them that have been seen out in public (even with varied tail numbers over the years)
So the next best bet could be Bell 222 C/N:  47068   N2057B/N34R/N74RX
I have no idea when 47068 became pure white...

The only other Bell 222 ive seen pure white and grubby looking was C/N: 47052
But that has the SP conversion done to it.. I guess the question is when did it have the conversion done? if it was before 2008 then that probably leaves 47040 or 47068  as the bird seen in the film.

Any Ideas Folks ?

My moneys on N22BV tbh... from all the 222's i have seen thus far

I can't but wonder if they shed any light of the effort they put into this 2000 continuity during a directors commentary ? did they? let us know in the comments below....

Other N22BV Trivia...
(previously F-GVAN in france) was flown by a pilot people called
Jean- Claude " Spring Fellow Hawk " Pruniaux
and here he is Flying f-gvan/n22bv/ 222 C/N: 47040 in france The first Bell 222 in the French register.
and note...   in france LeSuperCopter.. IT IS Spring Fellow.... as in germany its huckleberry hawke

Last but not least..all the websites i used while researching are Listed down the Right of this blog.. if you can't see them.. switch to Web View on ur browsing App rather than Mobile View  :)