There will be a chance to view the earliest Britten-Norman (BN) Islander in existence tomorrow (Saturday) at the Wight Military and Heritage Museum, Newport Road, Cowes.
The plane, the third Islander ever built, has been restored over more than 10 years by a team of volunteers for the Britten-Norman Aircraft Preservation Society (BNAPS).
Islander G-AVCN took its first flight from Bembridge Airport, where it was built, on April 24, 1967, appeared at the Paris Air Show the following month, and was awarded its certificate of airworthiness in August of that year. The aircraft entered service with Aurigny Air Services in Guernsey on March 1, 1968. After 32 years in service in the UK and later in the Caribbean, it ended up semi-derelict in Puerto Rico.
Thanks to the work of BN historians, and sponsorship from aircraft resellers, Airstream International, the Islander was returned home in early 2000. The original plan to restore it to flight didn’t work out, so in 2011 BNAP started work to turn it into a high quality static exhibit with help from Bembridge Heritage Society and local volunteers. The finished aircraft, painted in the colours of its first commercial owner, Aurigny Air Services, was moved to the IW Military and Heritage Museum in December 2020.
Tomorrow is BNAP’s spring viewing day, and the museum entry will be free as part of its St George’s Day celebrations. As well as the aircraft and information about the restoration project there will be a model aircraft display and an Islander flight simulator. It will help BNAP with planning if you can register by email in advance of your visit: email@example.com.