Britten-Norman Celebrates Islander’s 55th Birthday

British aircraft manufacturer Britten-Norman celebrated the 55th anniversary of the BN-2 Islander’s first flight on June 13.

Since 1965, more than 1,200 of the highly versatile type have been delivered to operators all over the world.

The rugged design has proved popular for use in harsh climates ranging from snow-packed mountain strips to sandy beaches. The varying roles the Islander has been used for include passenger, freight, air ambulances, search and rescue, oil spillage operations and much more.

The Islander is one of the best selling commercial aircraft types manufactured in Europe. Britten-Norman

Its continued use is emphasised by the 2,044 different modifications such as the “duck billed platypus” nose-mounted radar installations, geological survey booms and snow skis.

There are also ongoing plans by the company’s research and development team to identify clean power operating concepts – using electric and electric-hybrid – as well as autonomous operations. Current programmes have teamed up with powerplant manufacturer Rolls-Royce as well as Cranfield Aerospace.

William Hynett, Britten-Norman CEO, said: “John Britten and Desmond Norman established a simplicity of design that has endured since 1965. It is a testament to British design and manufacturing that the aircraft still has no like-for-like competitor. However, we are not complacent. British aviation is on the cusp of several exciting technological breakthroughs and we are committed to ensuring the Islander, and our operators, remain at the forefront of these innovations.”

The maiden BN-2A Islander, G-AVCN (c/n 003), first flew in April 1967 and was delivered to Aurigny Air Services the same year.

BN-2 Islander
The Islander has been manufactured continuously since 1965. Britten-Norman

Half-a-century later, this Lycoming O-540-E4C5-powered propliner is concluding a near ten-year restoration by the Isle of Wight-based Britten-Norman Aircraft Preservation Society (BNAPS).