Britten-Norman Trislander

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G-FTSE Trislander Aurigny Air Services (7003405361).jpg
Aurigny Air Services Trislander
Manufacturer Britten-Norman
First flight11 September 1970
StatusOut of production, in service
Primary user Vieques Air Link Roraima Airways
Number built72
Developed from Britten-Norman Islander

The Britten-Norman Trislander (more formally designated the BN-2A Mk III Trislander) is an 18-seat three-engined piston-powered civilian utility aircraft produced in the 1970s and early 1980s by Britten-Norman of Britain. These STOL capable aircraft were produced on the Isle of Wight. They were also produced in Romania, and delivered via Belgium to Britain for their certification. [1] A number of commuter airlines operated the Trislander in scheduled passenger services.


Design and development

Designed by John Britten and Desmond Norman, the Trislander is a further development of Britten-Norman's better-known Islander aircraft in order to give it a larger carrying capacity. In comparison with the Islander, the Trislander has a stretched fuselage, strengthened, fixed tricycle landing gear and a third engine on the fuselage centre line atop the fin. The Trislander has exceptional low speed handling characteristics, extended endurance, increased payload, low noise signature and economical operating costs. Capable of taking off from a 450 metres (492 yd) long landing strip, the Trislander can readily operate from unprepared surfaces.

Operational history

The prototype of the Trislander, which was constructed from the original second Islander prototype, first flew on 11 September 1970. [2] The type entered service with the Guernsey-based Aurigny in July 1971. [3] Initial production ceased in 1982 after 73 had been sold and delivered, with a further seven Trislanders unsold, when Pilatus Britten Norman sold a manufacturing license to the International Aviation Corporation (IAC) of Florida. It was planned for IAC to build 12 Trislanders (to be known as Tri-Commutairs) from parts kits supplied by Britten-Norman before undertaking full production, [4] but these plans came to nothing. [5]


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


Current operators

Flag of Anguilla.svg  Anguilla
Flag of Guyana.svg  Guyana
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico

Former operators

Aurigny Air Services Trislander Aurigny Air Services Britten-Norman BN-2A Mk3-2 Trislander Haafke-1.jpg
Aurigny Air Services Trislander
Blue Islands Trislander G-rhop-esh.jpg
Blue Islands Trislander
Great Barrier Airlines Trislander Great Barrier Aircraft-2219.jpg
Great Barrier Airlines Trislander
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg  Antigua and Barbuda
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Flag of the Bahamas.svg  Bahamas
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Flag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica
Flag of Botswana.svg  Botswana
Flag of the Cayman Islands.svg  Cayman Islands
Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji
Flag of Guernsey.svg  Guernsey
Flag of the Isle of Man.svg  Isle of Man
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica
Flag of Jersey.svg  Jersey
Flag of Liberia.svg  Liberia
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  Sierra Leone
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China
Flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands.svg  Turks and Caicos Islands
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of Vanuatu.svg  Vanuatu
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela

Accidents and incidents

On 5 July 2009, a Trislander belonging to Great Barrier Airlines (now Barrier Air) lost its starboard side prop six minutes into a flight from Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, to Auckland. The prop sheared off and impacted the fuselage, prompting a successful emergency landing. While there were injuries, no deaths were reported. The accident was caused by undetected corrosion of the propeller flange which led to its eventual failure. [17]

On 15 December 2008, a Trislander operated by LAP in Puerto Rico crashed into the sea somewhere near the Turks and Caicos, shortly after a distress call. A spokesman for the Asociación Nacional de Pilotos reported that the pilot had his licence suspended in October 2006. [18]

On 8 October 1977, ZS-JYF, operated by Southern Aviation, impacted the ground while attempting a stall turn during an air display at Lanseria in South Africa. Despite sustaining severe damage (it was damaged beyond repair) the aircraft performed an emergency landing and neither occupant was injured. [19]

Specifications (BN-2A Mk III-2)

Cockpit ZK-LOU BN-2 Trislander Great Barrier Cockpit (8390957633).jpg

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77 [2]

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related Research Articles


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  1. Historians, BN. "Home – BN Historians Website 2014".
  2. 1 2 Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN   0-354-00538-3, pp. 176-177.
  3. 1 2 Cunliffe, Charles. "Trislander Sunset". Air International . October 2015, Vol. 89, No. 4. ISSN   0306-5634, p. 123.
  4. Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1982. ISBN   0-7106-0748-2, pp. 268, 392.
  5. Trevett, John. "Commuter Aircraft Directory: International Aviation Corp (USA)". Flight International , 11 May 1985, p. 47.
  7. "Roraima unveils Britten Norman Trislander". 26 April 2016.
  8. "The Official Web site of Liat The Caribbean Airline – Liat Airline".
  9. " – channel islands". Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  10. "Aurigny Trislander takes final commercial flight".
  11. "Trislander for Solent Sky". Aeroplane . Vol. 45 no. 5. May 2017. p. 10. ISSN   0143-7240.
  13. "Aircraft fleet, Blue Islands aircraft fleet, Blue Islands ATR aircraft - Blue Islands".
  14. "Barrier Air. Fleet".
  15. "Our fleet".
  16. "Loganair :: Aircraft – Loganair". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  17. "Investigation 09-004 Report 09-004, Britten Norman BN2A-Mk III Trislander, ZK-LOU loss of engine propeller assembly, near Claris, Great Barrier Island, 5 July 2009." Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) via Retrieved: 11 May 2011.
  18. "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network, Flight Safety Foundation, 16 December 2008. Retrieved: 28 February 2009.
  19. Entry on

Further reading