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 moved back to Bembridge. On 2 August 1980, BN-2T Turbo Islander prototype G‑BCMY,
powered by two Rolls-Royce Allison 250-B17C turboprop engines, flew first. The
first production BN-2T Turbine Islander, G‑BIUJ, flew on 13 May 1981. 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.
The 1984-built Britten-Norman BN-2T Turbo Islander c/n 2139 was registered first in the UK as G-BJYT. The registration was cancelled and
the military markings ZF444 were allotted but n.t.u. On 10 November 1983, the aircraft was registered G-WOTG.
On 28 November 2006, the registration G-WOTG was cancelled and the aircraft was sold in Estonia. The aircraft
was registered in Estonia as ES-PNW with A S Avies on 12 December 2006. Avies Air Company, Estonia, was founded as an air-taxi
service on 11 November 1991. In 2001, Avies begun regular passenger flights to the western island of Estonia - Saaremaa.
This service was extended with flights to the Hiiumaa Island. Both islands in the Baltic Sea are especially
popular during the tourist season. Britten-Norman BN-2T-4R Turbo Islander ES-PNW of A S Avies was photographed
at Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands on 18 April 2007.