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. A number of commuter airlines operated the Trislander in scheduled passenger services.
|BN-2A Mk III-2|
|First flight||11 September 1970|
|Status||Out of production, in service|
|Primary user||Vieques Air Link,
|Developed from||Britten-Norman Islander|
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 492 yard long landing strip, the Trislander can readily operate from unprepared surfaces.
The prototype of the Trislander, which was constructed from the original second Islander prototype, first flew on 11 September 1970. The type entered service with the Guernsey-based Aurigny in July 1971. 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, but these plans came to nothing.
On 15 December 2008, a Trislander operated by LAP in Puerto Rico, the first crash since 2005. The aircraft crashed into the sea somewhere near the Turks and Caicos, shortly after the distress call. A spokesman for the Asociación Nacional de Pilotos reported that the pilot had his licence suspended in October 2006.
On 5 July 2009 in New Zealand, a Trislander belonging to Great Barrier Airlines lost its starboard side prop six minutes into a flight from Great Barrier Island to Auckland city. 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.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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Britten-Norman and NDN/NAC aircraft