|BN-2A Mk III-2|
|First flight||11 September 1970|
|Status||Out of production, in service|
|Primary user||Aurigny Air Services|
|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.
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 492 yards 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 Air Services 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. As of January 2008, Britten-Norman was preparing a second production run of the Trislander.
- 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.
Note: Aurigny Air Services has fitted all Trislanders in its fleet with 3 blade propellers (Hartzell HC-C3YR-2UF/FC8468-8R) on the front two engines so as to increase maximum take-off weight.
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- Air Queensland - Former operator
- Botswana Defence Force Air Wing - Former operator.
- Cayman Airways - Former operator
- Aurigny Air Services At its peak, Aurigny operated 16 Trislanders, the largest operator of the type. Three remain in use as of October 2015, with operations planned to continue until 2016.
- Manx Airlines - Former operator
- Trans Jamaican Airlines - Former operator
- Air Liberia - Former operator
- Sierra Leone Airways - Former operator
- Air Ecosse - Former operator
- Emerald Airways - Former operator
- Lydd Air - Former operator
- Loganair - Former operator
- Vanair - Former operator
- Sol America - Former operator
Accidents and incidents
The most recent crash was 15 December 2008 by LAP in Puerto Rico. The aircraft crashed somewhere near the Turks and Caicos. This was the first crash since 2005. The aircraft probably crashed into the sea 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.
Specifications (BN-2A Mk III-2)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77
- 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; 156 kn) at sea level
- Cruise speed: 155 mph (135 kn; 249 km/h) (59% power) at 13,000 ft (4,000 m)
- Range: 1,000 mi (869 nmi; 1,609 km)
- Service ceiling: 13,156 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)
- Britten-Norman Historians website
- Taylor 1976, p. 176.
- Cunliffe Air International October 2015, p. 123.
- Taylor 1982, pp. 268, 392.
- Trevett, John. "Commuter Aircraft Directory: International Aviation Corp (USA)". Flight International, 11 May 1985, p. 47.
- "Britten-Norman Trislander." britten-norman.com. Retrieved: 13 November 2011.
- Cunliffe Air International October 2015, p. 125.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network, Flight Safety Foundation, 16 December 2008. Retrieved: 28 February 2009.
- "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." New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) via taic.org. Retrieved: 11 May 2011.
- Taylor 1976 pp. 176–177.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1985.
- Cunliffe, Charles. "Trislander Sunset". Air International. October 2015, Vol. 89, No. 4. pp. 122–125. ISSN 0306-5634.
- Stroud, John. "Post War Propliners: Islander and Trislander". Aeroplane Monthly. Vol. 22, No. 8. August 1994. pp. 44–49. ISSN 0143-7240.
- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.
- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2
- Trislander Patents: Patent number: 3807665
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