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Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander
Britten-Norman BN-2T
Cessna RF.172K Hawk XP
G-AVRC Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander c/n 8 - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 19 August 1977 Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ)

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 7 July 1967, Britten-Norman Limited, Bembridge Airport, Isle of Wight, registered the BN-2 Islander s/n 8 as G-AVRC. On 9 October 1967, the aircraft was flown first with test-registration G-51-1. On 6 November 1967, registration G-AVRC was cancelled as exported to Italy. On 11 December 1967, the Islander was registered I-TRAM and delivered to Aertirrena, Florence. In April 1968, BN-2 Islander I-TRAM was seen at the ILA Hannover. In 1970, BN-2 Islander I-TRAM returned to the UK and was stored at Ford airfield. In 1971, the aircraft was modified by F.G. Miles Aviation to BN-2A Islander. In August 1971, registration OO-ARI was reserved for the aircraft by Publi-Air, Brussels, and on 22 October 1971, the Islander was flown with these marks from Shoreham to Brussels. Finally, registration OO-ARI was not taken up for this BN-2A Islander. At Brussels the marks were changed into OO-AST and on 3 November 1971, the aircraft was registered OO-AST with Publi-Air, Brussels. The BN-2A was named 'Astrid' and was operated on behalf of Sabena. (Registration OO-ARI was assigned to the BN-2A Islander s/n 9 G-AVUB, that on 29 October 1971 was flown from Ford to Shoreham as G-4-8, prior delivery to Publi-Air) On 12 May 1975, registration OO-AST was cancelled and the aircraft returned to the UK. On 13 May 1975, the BN-2A Islander was registered again G-AVRC, this time with Fairey Britten-Norman Air Services, Bembridge. At Bembridge, the aircraft was modified to the BN-2A-26 standard. On 6 June 1978, registration G-ARVC was cancelled and the next day, the Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander was regIstered N28BN in the USA with Air Investments, Ft. Lauderdale. The N28BN was delivered to Ft. Lauderdale in the same colours as seen on the G-AVRC at Groningen. The Islander was leased first to Lucaya Beach Air Service, Freeport, Bahamas. In May 1981, the N28BN was leased to Coastal Air Transport and based at the U.S. Virgin Islands. In January 1987, the Islander was leased to LAPSA. On 22 May 1992, the BN-2A-26 Islander N28BN was registered with a privat owner. On 17 August 1994, the N28BN was transferred to a privat owner in Santo Domingo, where the Islander entered service with Caribair. On 17 January 1995, registration N28BN was cancelled as exported to the Domincan Republic, where the plane was registered HI-653. In July 1992, the Islander was re-registered HI-653CA. On 7 February 2008, the Caribair Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander HI-653CA was damaged beyond repair in a forced landing in a sugarcane field near El Prado due to engine troubles caused by lack of fuel on the way to La Romana Airport (the alternate airport) while on route to Punta Cana International Airport, Dominican Republic.
On 19 August 1977, the 1967-built Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander G-AVRC was seen at Groningen Airport Eelde.

page last updated: 31-03-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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