With the Model 47 in production Bell concluded that there was a market for a larger helicopter with seating for five or six people. The Model 42 was a streamlined all-metal helicopter which could carry five people: the pilot's and co-pilot's seat were situated in the front of the cabin, and a bench seat for three passengers was located in the rear. The Model 42 had a completely enclosed fuselage pod and boom and a fixed tricycle undercarriage, and a stabilising bar on the main rotor. It was powered by one 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, mounted horizontally behind the cabin driving a two-blade symmetrical aerofoil wooden rotor. Cooling was assured by a large airscoop located at the root of the main rotor mast. The rotor had a reduction gear ratio of 8.987:1. In addition to the free-wheeling coupling, the transmission included a rotor brake. A three-bladed anti-torque tail rotor, also made of laminated wood, was on the starboard side of the semi-monocoque tail boom.
Access to the cabin was via two car-like doors. The undercarriage was of the fixed tricycle type and fuel capacity was 65 US gal.
The Model 42 design was a monstrous tangle of cables winding around drums and full of unexpected difficulties, and responsibility of the development was transfered to the Gardenville team. After much work and re-design, Arthur Young and Bartram Kelley got most of the bugs out of the prototype (c/n 1, NX33540) and made it fly properly.
In December 1946, the Model 42 was displayed at the Cleveland Air Show. Two more examples were assembled and tested (c/n 2, NX42063; and c/n 3) but no firm orders were placed and the development of the Model 42 came to a halt. Nevertheless, the characteristic silhouette of the Model 42 would re-appear months later with the military Model 48.
None of the Model 42 seem to have survived.
Engine: one 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior
Rotor diameter: 14.48m
Maximum weight: 2315kg
Useful load: 656kg
Maximum speed at sea level: 200km/h
Cruising speed 75% pwr: 160km/h
Service ceiling: 3965m