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
In 1975, the Belgian Army ordered twelve Fairy Britten-Norman BN2A-21 Islander aircraft as replacement for the Dornier Do27 with 16 smaldeel
and with the School van het Licht Vliegwezen (Light Aviation School). The aircraft were built at Fairey, Gosselies, Belgium, and completed
at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, UK. Deliveries were made between 25 May 1976 and 11 February 1977. During their Belgian military service,
the aircraft were converted from BN2A-21 to BN2B-21 standards. The last Islanders were withdrawn from military service in late 2004.
The 1975-built FBN BN2A-21 Islander c/n 648 was testflown as G-BDHG before entering service with the Belgian Air Force (Belgische Luchtmacht
- Force Aérienne Belge) 16 smaldeel at Brasschaat as B-02 on 25 May 1976. The aircraft used callsign OT-ALB. In September 1991,
Islander B-02 was modified and equipped with the remote detection and communication facilities required for pollution control.
Since the Islander is operated on behalf of MUMM for polutions controls over the North Sea.
MUMM, the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models and the Scheldt estuary,
is a department of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, a federal scientific establishment that comes under the Federal Science Policy.
From December 1990 until December 2004, MUMM worked closely with the Department of Defence and the School van het Licht Vliegwezen. The School
made available to MUMM its fleet of Britten Norman Islander reconnaissance aircraft. After its modification the job was done with the B-02 until
31 December 2004. After the B-02 was wfu use by the Belgian Army on 31 March 2005, the aircraft was transferred to MUMM.
To enable a certification for the delivery of airworthiness by the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority the aircraft was refurbished.
The work was done at Bembridge by Fly BN, a subsidiary of Britten-Norman. On 27 February 2006, the Islander was registered OO-MMM
to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS). The OO-MMM is operated by MUMM and based Antwerp Airport.
On 29 April 2008, Islander OO-MMM came in at Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands, for fuel on its way from Aalborg in Denmark to Belgium.