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Britten Norman Islanders [Love em or Hate em?]

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Britten Norman Islanders [Love em or Hate em?]

Old 15th May 2011, 00:49
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ChCh NZ
Posts: 402
Thanks RS, I was firing from the hip and knew I was going to get mixed up with the Piper production. Or perhaps even VW..

I have flown a Philipines one, and I am guessing most of the newer ones were made in Romania and then flown to Bembridge for the remainder of the finishing work.
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Old 15th May 2011, 00:51
  #62 (permalink)  

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Join Date: Jan 1996
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,333
Four actually - one rocket assisted.......

BN-2A Mk III-1
First production version, with short nose.

BN-2A Mk III-2
Lengthened nose and higher operating weight.

BN-2A Mk III-3
Variant certified for operation in the United States. Fitted with 3 blade propellers on the front two engines.

BN-2A Mk III-4
III-2 fitted with 350lb rocket-assisted takeoff equipment.

Trislander M
Proposed military version, not built.
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Old 15th May 2011, 02:20
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: turn L @ Taupo, just past the Niagra Falls...
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Originally Posted by Baron Beeza
I am guessing most of the newer ones were made in Romania and then flown to Bembridge for the remainder of the finishing work...

...and I'm thinking we have probably both flown the tip-tank airframe you refer to also... FLU, if memory serves She climbed like a homesick angel -for an Islander!

Although my favourite was always FWZ... the oldest; MCN in the 200's from memory (269 is the number ringing in my mind?) and reputed to have the highest recorded number of landings of any Islander ever built at that time, c.1996.

EDIT: and now that you mention VW's, was yours the old 1500, blue if memory serves? Mine was the white 1302S, CX 321.
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Old 15th May 2011, 02:32
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ChCh NZ
Posts: 402
Thanks for that.. hmmm. - has anyone actually seen a -3 Trislander with 3 bladed props ?
I have never come across one.

I believe most here that have flown the BN2 will recall the tacho, and it's issues. It derrives it's signal from the reduntant points in the magnetos..... that same signal is used via the 2500rpm speed sensor box to initiate the autofeather on the FAA certified machines. (the -3).
I have never flown one but it sounds scary...... you may have dirty points and all of a sudden the prop is going on you.

I had to fix one Islander that had the prop go into feather during slow cruise. Luckily I remembered that the governors were different on wide deck engines, - sure enough that was the problem.
I only learned that from doing the Trislander course with Aurigny in the Channel Islands. One of those occasions when a little knowledge helped the fault finding immensely.

Going back to the Military variant, I can recall a proposal to have a bigger version with 3 Darts powering it.
I kid you not.


Last edited by baron_beeza; 15th May 2011 at 02:45.
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Old 15th May 2011, 07:11
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Greta
Age: 63
Posts: 184
Wilton Ops

Grahem Hill owned 4 or 5 Islanders during the early '80s. Fixed & Rotary out of camden did a lot of work on them.
I jumped all of them. Thankfully i just missed a slot on ISI when it lost the right engine at about 100' after take off. was climbing and doing OK until the pilot turned back. Written off and only minor injuries to jumpers.
Pilot was ejected thru the door about 20 meters and a statlic line student followed and went between the collasping gear leg and fuse as canopy was deploying. Made for an exciting afternoon. At a later date one failed to become airborne and sailed off the end of the strip and over a dirt road and taking the nose gear off. I later found the parking break still on.
Another sad incident was when the DZ caretaker walked into the prop.
For the day they where a great jumpship. just don't stall them at height with everyone packed up in the door. They will do three or four turns and lose a couple thousand feet before they start to recover. had a chance to do a little flying in them. Liked the 65kts for everything bit. Filled a couple of pages for my SOE.
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Old 15th May 2011, 08:21
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: turn L @ Taupo, just past the Niagra Falls...
Posts: 578
Originally Posted by fencehopper
Another sad incident was when the DZ caretaker walked into the prop...
I doubt there's an Islander pilot (or a good number of pax!) that haven't walked into a horizontal blade!!! That's how you learn the importance of doing a mag dead-cut check before shut-down... so you can pull the props thru to vertical in confidence & safety
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Old 15th May 2011, 09:00
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Around the bend.
Posts: 42
Regarding the Tri-lander issues..

Passengers' mid-air terror - National - NZ Herald News
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Old 16th May 2011, 07:15
  #68 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Posts: 307
Originally Posted by baron_beeza
Thanks for that.. hmmm. - has anyone actually seen a -3 Trislander with 3 bladed props
Got an image of one that has 3 blade on the mains but a 2 blade on the spare. Has the words: aurigny.com and rego G-JOEY on the side.

I got it from Jetphoto.net so I don't think I can post it here due to copyrite. Will need to find the link or you can PM me for more info.
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Old 16th May 2011, 09:29
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: ex everywhere
Age: 67
Posts: 25
Was anyone else " King Of The Jungles " ??

Back in '73/74 I was working for Aerial Tours ( Malarial Spewers ) out of POM
in the loved/hated Broom Broom. We had about 12 of the species at the time.

Fate dictated that I was route endorsed by " Captain Trembles " on five shitty wee strips on the southern side of the Owen Stanleys, known with no affection as " The Jungles " Kagi, Efogi, Manumu, Menari, Naoro.

Trade-store goods in - Mandarins, Natives, and all associated paraphenalia out.

Pilot turn-over was soooo high at the time I got stuck doing these places, mostly every Saturday, for eight months without relief. ( Well that's a lie ... a slab of Carlton Draught for $6 every Friday night after the Dero, set me up quite nicely thanks nurse ).

Taught me a hell of a lot about everything really. Flying, W/X, strips, surviving, fear ( and how to deal with it ), drinking ( yeah man ... still doing that.)

Anyway, at the heart of it all, the ( 260 HP ) Bongo. We did things with that sucker that would have made messrs Britten and Norman send for more drycleaning.

Love it or hate it, The Broom Broom was at least a safe twin to fly in some extremely shitty situations. VMCA below the stall speed. Very good ( loaded) STOL. Very forgiving for a 400 hour CPL.

Noisy, uncomfortable, heavy on the controls ... yeah, all those things.

Would I still be alive in another type of machine ? Yeah well maybe a Tin Otter.

Thanks Biscuit Ears ( No thanks Trevor )

Regards Tpad

This post was chardonnay assisted .... I'll deny everything.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:18
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ChCh NZ
Posts: 402
Got an image of one that has 3 blade on the mains but a 2 blade on the spare. Has the words: aurigny.com and rego G-JOEY on the side
Yes, that will be correct. there are Trislanders about with 3 bladed props on the wing engines. That is just a recent innovation though and was not part of the Type Certification. JOEY is a -2 and not a -3 aircraft... It also had two bladed props back in the early 90's when I last saw it.

I am sure the Wikipedia entry is incorrect, - the FAA certified -3 variant had auto-feather, but the props back then were all two bladed I am pretty sure.

I saw a Wikaya Air Islander in Fiji in the mid 90's with factory fitted 3 bladed props. I think that is about the time the mod or STC would have gained a little popularity.

I think only about 78 Trislanders were produced and for a while there it seemed like every country I went to had them, up through the Pacific, about Africa and even the couple in Aussie.. Aurigny would have been the biggest fleet though.. They must have had close to 10 aircraft there at one point.

I think an outfit down in Florida had a sizeable fleet at one stage, again I am not sure how many would have been -3 models though. I am thinking very few BN2-A Mk III-3 were certified.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:33
  #71 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Greta
Age: 63
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Anyone know what happened to the three Trilander airframes that turned up at Camden. They were partially built and came from Florida. There was also some tooling as well. I believe the factory shut down and the remaining parts and airframes went to a new owner in The USA but they never got off the docks in Florida. They sat there for a few years then ended up at Camden. One was being assembled then i think Fixed and Rotary went bust.
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:37
  #72 (permalink)  

Join Date: Oct 1997
Location: EU
Posts: 690
Love the Islander, great machine. It was my first commercial job, with Aer Arann to Mor Meain or Oirr.
Flew them from Grenada West Indies for a year and abit for a great fun carrier there. Longest sector was 50 minutes, shortest about 5 min 12 i got it down too!
Was on one recently on the lash on Aran. Great memories. Much better fun than a B763.
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Old 16th May 2011, 17:41
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ChCh NZ
Posts: 402
hmmmmm, now you have me thinking....
I have done a very fast sector in an Islander,- one airport to another. I know they are not the fastest of machines but this transit had to be less than 2 minutes.
I am not sure we even raised the flaps... it is literally a pop-up and pop back down.

2.6 miles, even in an Islander, is not far at all.
Fun machines..
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:46
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1998
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Westray-Papa Westray in Orkney is scheduled for 4 mins. I've done it in that time or a bit less when I was doing my line training with Loganair. Out Skerries-Whalsay in Shetland is 6 mins usually. I've done it in 4 with a decent wind.
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Old 16th May 2011, 21:20
  #75 (permalink)  

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Anyone recall the 90 second flight sector in PNG? Think is was in the Kabwum area?
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Old 16th May 2011, 21:46
  #76 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 484
Tinstaafl,there was a story going around that Loganair could land the islander in reverse such is the headwind so strong on landing. Fact or fiction?
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Old 16th May 2011, 22:26
  #77 (permalink)  
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Torres, Kabwum, Pindu, and Mindik be all close to that.
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Old 16th May 2011, 22:56
  #78 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ChCh NZ
Posts: 402
There are certainly some very short sectors about for the Islanders then. I remember the Nadi - Musket Cove trip was only a few minutes... I think it was the region of 5 minutes.. depending.

My one was nothing special, I was doing circuits off 30 at Omaka when I got a message that I was required at Woodbourne, pre cell-phone days... the message was relayed to me via the Tower. A clearance to land Runway 28 was included in the exchange..

By the time I had reached 500 ft on climbout and acquired Runway 28 visually I was in a finals postion. It literally just seemed like seconds.

I can see we will be starting a new thread soon on fastest circuits....
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Old 17th May 2011, 01:38
  #79 (permalink)  
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I can see we will be starting a new thread soon on fastest circuits....
The pointy jet jocks will win
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Old 17th May 2011, 07:23
  #80 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NSW
Age: 60
Posts: 150
Sturdy little aeroplane...

It is wonderful that this sturdy little aeroplane can draw so much attention after more than 45 years of manufacture. Obviously there will always be protagonists and antagonists for any product, the level of positive support impresses me for the Islander.

What antagonists are failing to understand is that the Islander was manufactured to fill a specific niche market. That is, multi-engine short duration legs over water or other inhospitable terrain, into and out of short, poorly prepared strips. The aeroplane design concept was very much in line with that other uniquely British product, the LandRover. Both are designed to be solid, like a brick outhouse, and to carry a tonne where others cannot go.

Over 1200 Islanders have been manufactured since 1965. In that time there have been many thousands of modifications. The aeroplanes have been largely custom built for individual owners, so that means there are effectively over 1200 different model Islanders. Most of the modifications relate to only one aircraft. The way the Type Certificate holder designs each mod means that most of the mods could go onto any aircraft, even as an after market addition. In choosing such a path, the design of the Islander has grown in an evolutionary manner, rather than revolutionary. Mods that pop the design up into another niche have been largely avoided because there are other aircraft already servicing those areas. Progress has meant that whilst every Islander is a little different, any Islander is recognisable and flyable by someone with Islander knowledge and experience. So far, no one has managed a design that better suits the Islanders niche than the original Britten Norman.

Specifically note that BN, as a small manufacturer has chosen the evolutionary design change through modification path because large mod or design changes are simply too expensive to be supported by the small volume of sales.

On different model designations, these are usually a change to the base line mod state. The latest model available is the BN2C-300. It comes with an additional row of passenger windows, 3 bladed scimitar props and some other improvements over the BN2B-20 mod state.

The 3 bladed Hartzell straight props have been available for a long time. These allow much smoother and quieter operations over the traditional 2 bladed props. The scimitar 3 bladed props allow a further reduction of noise levels by enabling the achievement of full power at 70 RPM less than the older models. With either mod now available, I am surprised any Islander has 2 bladed props.

The third row of passenger windows is a recent innovation whereby a properly incorporated and reinforced mod is added in a primary structure area of the fuselage. An older FAA STC third row window is not considered safe by the type certificate holder because the STC designer did not have factory backing or calculations when cutting the holes. IE in all probability, the older STC aircraft have written off fuselages...

The BN2T is a specific model option with an alternative engine. The idea being that not everybody can source avgas easily, and not everybody is happy with piston engine reliability. BN2T fuel flows are around 170 litres per hour versus say 120 litres per hour for a BN2B-20. With the same amount of fuel on board, clearly turbines will have slightly less range than the piston, but in most instances, people will not be using their Islanders outside the above mentioned niche. In that niche, turbine Islanders, due to the much lighter engines and the significantly higher maximum all up weight, can carry more into and out of the destination airfields.

In the surveillance or special mission role, turbine engines offer greater flexibility in terms of speed and altitude, and very long endurance/loiter times coupled with much smoother and quieter operations. IE the turbine engine is magnitudes quieter than the piston models.

On corrosion inspections, when operating at low level over water, or in inhospitable tropical climates, all aeroplanes will suffer from corrosion. BN introduced a service bulletin to ensure proper inspection, detection and treatment every other year for aeroplanes over 5 years old. Not performing the inspection ensures high levels of corrosion and associated expensive repairs. I suppose the point I am making is that the SB 190 was introduced because the aeroplanes live for so long in a corrosive environment. That doesn't mean the design is wrong or the metal is easily corroded, just that all aeroplanes will corrode and BN has an inspection to help minimise the problem and to reduce the cost of repairs. It is an ongoing project to have the SB absorbed into the normal maintenance manual.

I will not comment on ergonomics because custom built aircraft are designed to order, so you can hardly blame a designer for poor ergonomics if it is what the customer wanted.

In this modern day of product liability, whilst many people want to innovate and make suggestions for improvements, people must understand that the type certificate holder has to spend money on any re-design or modification. This can be prohibitively expensive for a small manufacturer. BN prides itself on satisfying the needs of customers, and most new modifications are therefore derived from new aircraft buyers. IE older aircraft owners may usually fit new mods after market, and they often don't have to pay much of the design costs associated. If these owners want something specific, the designers will do it, but they cannot do it for free. NB: the point I made earlier that most mods are specific to a single aircraft, so there is often no way of offsetting development costs by selling the mod on to other operators.

The Trislander is simply 2 Islander fuses joined together with a bigger wing and tail plane. It was considered innovative in its day, but I wonder why people would not add flexibility to their operations by using 2 Islanders. In the latter case, the purchase price would be less and the operating cost of having 3 more undercarriage legs and one more engine could be offset by carrying the 2 more passenger seats...just a thought?

I hope this adds to the conversation? I have enjoyed many an hour in many an Islander. While they are not a jet fighter, they are an aeroplane that serves a purpose. For people who operate Islanders there is usually no other choice. Not even a PAC750XL can go everywhere an Islander goes.

Last edited by DBTW; 17th May 2011 at 07:25. Reason: name change?
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