Britten Sheriff

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Britten Sheriff SA-1 AN0299353.jpg
Role Civil utility aircraft
Status Abandoned project
Number built 1 (incomplete)

The Britten Sheriff was a light twin-piston engine aircraft developed in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. Intended to be produced outside of the UK, the company went into receivership in 1984 and the aircraft was never completed.


Aircraft engineer John Britten, who had been instrumental in founding Britten-Norman, left the company in February 1976.[1] After that, he began development of an economical four-place light twin aircraft, the Sheriff. It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane with twin tails and a tractor engine in a nacelle on each wing. Of all-metal construction (with a fiberglass nose section on the fuselage), it was fitted with fixed tricycle undercarriage and accommodated the pilot and three passengers under a bubble canopy.

Britten planned two versions of the aircraft, a two-place trainer and a four-place touring aircraft. Target price of the trainer was ₤25,000 and of the touring version was ₤29,000.[2] By comparison, at that time the price of the Piper PA-34 Seneca was around £58,000. Development was to be in UK with production licences then sold worldwide.

The project team included Denis Berryman (chief designer for the Sheriff and former chief designer at Britten-Norman), Maurice Brennan (formerly of Hawker, Saro and Vickers), Ken Mills (former production director at B-N, and before that chief production engineer at Vickers)[3]

Sheriff Aerospace went into receivership in 1984 with the aircraft said to be nearly complete. Although Centrul National Aeronautic of Romania was interested in producing the aircraft it could not fund development.[4] The prototype (registered G-FRJB) was never completed, and in 1986, was acquired by East Midlands Aeropark at East Midlands Airport. As of 2009 the prototype is preserved there and has since been restored as the only of its type in the world.[5]

Specifications (4-seater version, as designed)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 22 ft 11 in (6.98 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 0 in (10.06 m)
  • Wing area: 150 ft2 (13.94 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,885 lb (855 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,950 lb (1,338 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming O-320-D1A horizontally-opposed four-cylinder piston engine, 160 hp (119 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 173 mph (278 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 158 mph (254 km/h)
  • Range: 668 miles (1,075 km)
  • Rate of climb: 1,300 ft/min (6.6 m/s)


  1. ^ Britten-Norman History
  2. ^ "Britten launches Sheriff light twin" Flight International 28 May 1977
  3. ^ "Sheriff for Romanian production?", Flight International: 807, 26 March 1983 
  4. ^ "Sheriff: end of the Trail?" (PDF), Flight International, 25 February 1984 
  5. ^ Sheriff page on website Archived 18 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Taylor 1982, p. 242.