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Above: Members of Bell’s original Gardenville helicopter development team pose with the 1000th Bell Helicopter on April 10, 1953.

Walker, Bart Kelley and Jack Buyers. Photo: Courtesy of the Mashman Aviation History File

47 production, Mashman continued as a test pilot.

became more important, he began flying fewer test flights and more

Carlson and Mashman were considered excellent pilots.

Mashman’s smoothness on the controls and out- going personality made him ideally suited for dealing with potential customers.

However as the need to sell aircraft demonstrations. Both

Carlson was very good as a test pilot and Eventually,

Floyd Carlson became Bell’s chief helicopter test pilot and Joe Mashman became Bell’s chief hel- icopter demonstration pilot. Mashman took on assignments all over the

world demonstrating the helicopter and new uses for it. One day in 1946, he came to work with several bags

of Pillsbury Flower in his car.

Agricultural uses for the helicopter had been suggested and Mashman thought that he could demonstrate the ability of the helicopter’s down-


wash to get pesticide under the plant leaves. Several bins were rigged to the sides of Model 30 Ship 1A (the rebuilt Model 30 Ship 1 fol- lowing an accident) and the flour was loaded in the bins. Joe Mashman commenced to spread the flour around the Niagara Falls airport. It worked so well that Bell made a short movie out of his demonstration to interest potential cus- tomers. Later a Washington state farmer pur- chased a Model 47 to dust his orchards, which led to the Model 47 being the first helicopter certified for crop dusting (Brown, 1995). In 1947, a locust plague swept through Argentina.

In an

effort to combat the locust hordes, 13 Bell Model 47s were purchased and outfitted with pesticide dusting bins. Larry Bell personally sent


Mashman to Argentina to help develop the pro- cedures for dusting the swarms of bugs and train the pilots needed to operate the helicopters.


After the dusting operation was established, Mashman switched from combating the bugs in Argentina to doing helicopter demonstrations all across South America. He ended up staying for a year and returned to the United States in 1948. Around the time of Mashman’s return, Larry Bell received an unusual request.

Stuart Symington, then Secretary of the Air Force, asked him if he could provide a helicopter for the use of Symington’s friend Congressman Lyndon Johnson (Brown, 1995). One of Johnson’s aides had suggested using a helicopter for his senato- rial campaign and Johnson thought it would attract people to his speeches. Larry Bell assigned Mashman to fly Congressman Johnson around Texas in a Model 47D.

Just after July 4, 1948,

Joe Mashman began a three weeklong tour of the state of Texas, flying Lyndon Johnson from rally to rally.

Loudspeakers were installed on the

From left to right, Joe Mashman, Floyd Carlson, Percy

His friend

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