The first appearance of the Batcopter was in the 1966 Batman television film. Unlike the Batmobile, the Batcycle, and the Batboat, it was not intended for use in the 1960s Batman television series, which did not have the budget to create such elaborate vehicles. While the other vehicles were bought by 20th Century Fox, the Batcopter was only leased for the movie. It cost Fox $750 a day for five days from April 7 to April 11, 1966.
The Batcopter was a functional helicopter provided by National Helicopter Service. It was based on the Bell 47, which was designed by Bell Helicopter Textron in 1941. The Batcopter was a G3B-1 model, which had previously been used in Lassie Come Home and ABC News. To make the model look more like a superhero vehicle, it was fitted with canvas-covered tubular frames and was painted red. The head of a bat was painted in the front while the Batman symbol was painted on the side. The most dangerous design change was the wings, which reduced power by nearly fifty percent.
For the scenes at sea, the Batcopter was taped at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes, California. Most of the shots were relatively far away as the pilot was Harry Haus, not Adam West, the actor playing Batman. Hubie Kerns donned the Batman outfit to perform the stunts, namely climbing the rope ladder attached to the helicopter while kicking an exploding shark.
When the Batcopter was returned to National, the wings and tubes were removed. It was repainted to look like all the other helicopters and was used for various purposes over the years, such as covering the 1968 Super Bowl. Eventually National replaced its Bell 47's and sold them. The helicopter which had previously served as the Batcopter was bought by the President of NockAir Helicopter, Inc., Eugene Nock. He repainted it and replaced the tubes so that it could once again be called the Batcopter. The wings, however, were not replaced as they caused so much power reduction. The Batcopter has been retrofitted with new equipment and electronics so that it can now attain altitudes up to 18000 feet, speeds up to 105 miles per hour, and flight times up to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Batcopter will be available for photos all three days.