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11 September 1970

The Britten-Norman Trislander (Previously known as the BN-2A Mk III Trislander) made its first flight on this day in 1970! The aircraft was designed by John Britten and Desmond Norman.

The aircraft has accommodation for 18 passengers and is powered by three piston engines, it is STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) capable, 72 aircraft were built between 1970 and 1980. Production sites were the Isle of Wight (United Kingdom) and Romania. The Britten-Norman Trislander is a design development of the Britten-Norman Islander. Compared to its predecessor the Trislander has a similar but extended fuselage. Together with its tail-mounted third engine and fixed landing geat third engine it did not look like a conventional aircraft. The engines were 6 cylinder, air-cooled Lycoming engines, driving two-bladed constant speed propellors. Another less conventional about the Trislander was its performance, to name a few;

  • Excellent low-speed handling

  • Low Vref

  • Low noise signature

  • Long endurance

  • Good Payload

  • Economical operating cost

  • Capable of operating from unpaved runways

  • STOL Capable

The first Trislander, the prototype, was a heavily modified Islander. In fact, it was the second produced Islander that got modified and made the first flight on this day 51 years ago. In 1982, after 73 Islanders had been built, production was stopped with seven Islanders left unsold. Plans to re-start (limited) production (12 aircraft) in the USA never came to be. 6 variants of the Islander were developed over the years, however, only four variants made it into the air; 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. BN-2A Mk III-4

Mk III-2 fitted with 350 lb rocket-assisted takeoff equipment. BN-2A Mk III-5, proposed not built Mk III-2 with sound-proofed cabin, modernised cockpit/interior and new engines Trislander M, Proposed not built. Military version

Specifications for BN-2A MkIII-2:

  • Crew: 1 or 2

  • Capacity: 16 or 17 passengers

  • Length: 49 ft 3 in (15.01 m)

  • Wingspan: 53 ft 0 in (16.15 m)

  • Height: 14 ft 2 in (4.32 m)

  • Wing area: 337.0 sq ft (31.31 m2)

  • Aspect ratio: 7.95:1

  • Airfoil: NACA 23012

  • Empty weight: 5,842 lb (2,650 kg)

  • Max takeoff weight: 10,000 lb (4,536 kg)

  • Fuel capacity: 154 imp gal (185 US gal; 700 L)

  • Powerplant: 3 × Lycoming O-540-E4C5 air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 260 hp (190 kW) each

  • Propellers: 2-bladed Hartzell HC-C2YK-2G/C8477-4 constant speed propellers


  • Maximum speed: 180 mph (290 km/h, 160 kn) at sea level

  • Cruise speed: 155 mph (249 km/h, 135 kn) (59% power) at 13,000 ft (4,000 m)

  • Range: 1,000 mi (1,600 km, 870 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 13,160 ft (4,010 m)

  • Rate of climb: 980 ft/min (5.0 m/s)

  • Take off run to 50 ft (15 m): 1,950 feet (590 m)

  • Landing run from 50 ft (15 m): 1,445 ft (440 m)

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