An aircraft that’s as suited to flying regional passenger and freighter services as it is paradropping or serving as a special mission platform – it can only be the Britten-Norman Islander. Dave Unwin puts the venerable workhorse through its paces.
There are very few types that remain in production more than 50 years after they first flew. But Britten-Norman’s (BN) Islander is not only an iconic machine, it’s also one of the most successful British aircraft ever made. Designed by John Britten and Desmond Norman, it was initially intended for short-haul, high-frequency commuter operations but has subsequently been adapted for a wide variety of roles, both civilian and military. The BN-2 has proven itself to be an excellent feeder liner and has long been a favourite with freight companies, parachute schools, air ambulance operators and the military.