The tragic fate of Airwolf Bell 222: destroyed due to pilot error a few years after the show ended

After Airwolf TV series concluded, the cosmetically modified Bell 222, serial number 47085, was sold and became an ambulance helicopter in Germany.

Aired from Jan. 22, 1984, until Aug. 7, 1987 Airwolf is an American action military drama television series where an enigmatic loner at the behest of a shadowy government organization steals a supersonic military helicopter from its twisted creator and uses it to fight the bad guys around the world.

The flight-capable Airwolf helicopter was a cosmetically modified Bell 222, serial number 47085, sometimes unofficially called a Bell 222A. During filming of the series, the helicopter was owned by Jetcopters, Inc. of Van Nuys, California.

Whatever happened to Airwolf helicopter after the show ended?

‘Destroyed in 1992 due to pilot error during a storm — killing three aboard,’ says Ken Miyamoto, Produced screenwriter, former Sony Pictures script reader/story analyst, former Sony Studios liaison, on his Quora space The Tao of Screenwriting/Movies/TV.

‘The series Airwolf ran from 1984–1987, telling the story of a renegade pilot that goes on missions with an advanced battle helicopter as part of a deal with an intelligence agency to look for his missing brother.

‘In the show, the helicopter was a supersonic prototype (that even had an “evil” twin) attack helicopter that could be disguised as a civilian aircraft — a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” That’s why it’s called Airwolf.

‘Here’s the Airwolf insignia patch.’

Miyamoto continues;

‘After the series concluded, the cosmetically modified Bell 222, serial number 47085, was sold and became an ambulance helicopter in Germany.

‘On June 6th, 1992, it crashed on the side of a mountain during a thunderstorm, killing all three crew members.

‘The helicopter had just saved a little girl suffering from heavy burns on a mercy mission from Berlin to the Cologne University Burns Unit in Köln. After delivering her to safety, it was headed back to Berlin when it and the crew encountered unexpected weather. The visibility was reduced to nearly 100 feet due to fog amidst an oncoming thunderstorm.

‘Pilot error caused the helicopter and its crew to impact near a rock quarry close to Halbeswig at 100 MPH. The rotor blades clipped the tops of several trees, and then crashed on the mountainside.

‘A local farmer heard the explosion and notified emergency services. It took them over an hour to find the crash site.

‘When it was found, the helicopter was broken in half and the engine was destroyed.’

Miyamoto concludes;

‘A replica of Airwolf was created in the early 2000s and from 2007 to 2015 was displayed in a Tennessee museum until it was sold to a collector.

‘The replica is now on top of a $250 million mansion in Bel Air, California.

‘RIP Airwolf — and its onscreen pilot Jan-Michael Vincent (he passed away in 2019).’

Check out The Tao of Screenwriting for more fun Movie/TV discussions, as well as screenwriting and film industry insights.

Photo credit: Tennessee Museum of Aviation and Unknown

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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