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Britten-Norman BN-1F Ultralight Aircraft (BN-1)

Cy-27

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Desmond Norman was a de Havilland Technical School apprentice and with colleague Tony Cole, jointly acquired post-war a Comper Swift. In 1950 John Britten and Desmond Norman, both former de Havilland Technical School apprentices, decided to build an ultra-light monoplane. During development this was referred to as the BN-1F design. The BN-1F design drew a lot from the Comper design. Britten and Norman saw the aircraft as initial steps in making aviation available economically to all. Plans for the design were going to be made available after the first flights to home-builders.

The sole example of this parasol wing aircraft made its maiden flight at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on 16th May 1951.

This machine was registered G-ALZE on 16th March 1950. It crashed on an early flight, when the petrol supply to the Aeronca-JAP J-99 (40 hp) twin cylinder air-cooled engine stopped and a heavy landing was made. Somewhere along the line the ‘F' suffix was dropped and most modern references are to the BN-1 designation.

Modifications were made to the tail unit by adding small ancillary fins to improve the directional stability. The JAP engine was replaced by a Lycoming O-145 55 horizontally-opposed twin. Inset ailerons were also fitted during the rebuild. The undercarriage was replaced with a braced arrangement with rubber bungee springs.

It was first flown in this form in May 1951 and was withdrawn from use in 1953. Its registration was cancelled by the CAA as withdrawn from use on 12th June 1959 and is now on exhibition in the Solent Sky Museum in Southampton, on loan from Texan owner Michael Short of Austin Texas.

John Britten and Desmond Norman went on to form Britten-Norman Ltd which became well known for the BN-2 Islander and Trislander series of aircraft built at Bembridge.

Attached are two articles by John Britten about the early development of the type from The Sailplane and Glider Magazine in 1950-51.
 

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  • Britten-Norman_BN-1F_(The_Sailplane_&_Glider_Feb_50)_Article[1].png
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  • Britten-Norman_BN-1F_(The_Sailplane_&_Glider_Feb_50)_Article[2].png
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  • Britten-Norman_BN-1F_(The_Sailplane_&_Glider_Mar_1951)_Article.png
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Maveric

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Britten-Norman B.N. 1F with J.A.P.
 

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Maveric

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Britten-Norman B.N. 1F with Lycoming
 

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Maveric

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Upps B) my source: Putnam - British Civil Aircraft Band 1
 

robunos

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Interesting shape to the rudder, and indeed, looks very Comper-like...

cheers,
Robin.
 

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