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Britten-Norman BN-2T Islander
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D-IBRA Britten-Norman BN-2A-8 Islander c/n 823 - Dollart - Flugplatz Emden in Germany - 15 April 1979 Flugplatz Emden (EDWE)

The Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander is a twin-engine high-wing light utility transport aircraft for up to nine passengers. Britten-Norman Ltd. started in 1963 with the development of the BN-2, a 10 seat STOL aircraft. The prototype BN-2, G-ATCT s/n 01, flew on 13 June 1965, powered by two 210 hp Lycoming IO-360 engines. A production line for the BN-2 was set up at the Britten-Norman factory at Bembridge, Isle of Wight. The first production BN-2 Islander, G-ATWU s/n 2, flew on 20 August 1966. Deliveries of the production model started on 13 August 1967, after UK CAA certification was awarded on 10 August 1967. The first production BN-2 Islanders were powered by two 260 hp Lycoming IO-540 engines. By 1968, demand for the Islander had outstripped the capacity of the Bembridge factory. A contract was signed with the Romanian IRMA to build "green" Islanders and deliver them to the UK for finishing. The BN-2 Islander was developed further and in 1970, the BN-2 was replaced in production by the improved BN-2A Islander. Despite the succes of the Islander, Britten Norman was in grave financial difficulty by the end of 1970. In October 1971, the new company Britten-Norman (Bembridge) Ltd. was set up. In August 1972, Britten-Norman (Bembridge) Ltd was sold to the Fairey Group and a new holding company, Fairey Britten Norman Ltd. was established. Most of the Islander and Trilander production was moved to the Fairey S.A. factory in Gosselies, Belgium. Islanders and Trislanders were produced in Romania, then shipped to Gosselies in Belgium for finishing and later flow to Bembridge in the UK for the final flight certification. In 1977, the Fairey Group went in deep financial difficulties. As a result, production slowed down and Britten-Norman got a new owner and became Pilatus Britten Norman Ltd. in July 1978. Production of the Islanders returned to Bembridge. In July 1998, the company was renamed Britten-Norman Ltd., and from May 2000 it became part of the B-N Group Limited. Over 1250 BN-2 aircraft are delivered since 1967, including production in the UK and Romania and military Defenders.

On 15 April 1979, Britten-Norman BN-2A-8 Islander D-IBRA was seen at Flugplatz Emden in Germany in service with Dollart.
On 13 January 1977, Britten-Norman (Bembridge) Limited registered BN-2A series Islander s/n 823 as G-BELF. FBN BN-2A-8 Islander c/n 823 was built in Romania and testflown as G-BELF on 18 August 1977. Registration G-BELF was cancelled on 21 December 1977 and the 1977-built aircraft was registered D-IBRA in Germany with Atlas Air Services at Ganderkesee. In 1978, BN-2A-8 Islander D-IBRA was registered with Dollart GmbH & CO. KG. Gesellschaft fr Auto- und Flugcharter, Emden. Since 1976, Dollart was operating with OLT (Ostfriesische Luftttransport) and FLN (Frisia Luftverkehr Norddeich) in a joint platform called OFD to ensure a flexible operation, especially in the charter sector in East Frisia. As OLT and FLN, Dollart was active in the Island hopping business connecting the East Frisian Islands with the German mainland. On 16 March 1979, Islander D-IBRA was involved in a near airmiss in the Eelde circuit with
Cessna 500 Citation PH-CTG, when the pilot of the Citation saw just in time the Islander was flying just 10 meters below the right side of his plane. In 1987, registration D-IBRA was cancelled and on 8 October 1987, the aircraft was restored to the UK registerer as G-BELF as a Fairey Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander with Atlantic Air Transport, Baginton. On 27 February 1990, Islander G-BELF was registered with Janes Aviation, Blackpool. On 18 September 1990, Islander G-BELF was registered with Flying Tigers, Flying Tigers Skydiving Centre at Goodwood airfield. On 11 February 1992, the aircraft was registered with Activity Aviation, Perth. On 8 December 1997, Black Knights Parachute Centre, Preston, was registered as the next owner of Islander G-BELF. On 22 June 2004, FBN BN-2A G-BELF was registered with Cormack (Aircraft Services), Cumbernauld Airport. On 21 March 2007, registration G-BELF was changed to G-HEBZ. The Islander was donated by George Cormack of Cormack Aircraft Services to the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield, East Lothian, Scotland, and painted in the colours of an aircraft operated by the Scottish Air Ambulance Service in recognition of the contribution of this service to life in Scotland. On 8 November 2018, registration G-HEBZ was cancelled as permanently withdrawn from use. Although withdrawn from use in 2018, in 2013 the Islander was already seen in the museum as G-BELF in the Scottish Air Ambulance Service colors.

page last updated: 04-01-2022
Copyright Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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