The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander

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Background and History:

The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a 1960s British light utility aircraft, main-line airliner and cargo aircraft, designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. The Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe and sold world-wide. Although designed in the 1960s,  over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. The aircraft is also used by the Army and Police forces in the United Kingdom and is a popular light transport with over 30 military aviation operators around the world. Britten-Norman was started in 1953 to convert and operate agricultural aircraft and it also produced hovercraft. Design of the Islander started in 1963 and the first prototype BN-2 first flew on 13 June 1965, with the second prototype on 20 August 1966. Both of these aircraft had engines that were less powerful than the production versions. The Islander is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a rectangular fuselage and two-wing mounted engines. A conventional tail unit and a fixed, tricycle landing gear. The fuselage will usually accommodate one pilot and up to nine passengers. The first production Islander’s maiden flight was on 24 April 1967 and the aircraft was certified in August 1967. Production started at the Britten Norman factory at Bembridge,  Isle of Wight but within a few years, the company could not keep up with demand. A contract was placed with IRMA of Romania, initially to produce aircraft from a kit of parts, but the Romanian factory soon became the main source of Islander production. A military version of the Islander was marketed as the Defender, with under-wing hard-points and fitted out as a light troop transport and support aircraft, it was first flown in 1970.The second prototype was developed into a stretched, Super Islander but the program was stopped and the aircraft was used as a basis of the three-engined version, the Trislander. The company was in financial difficulties and by the end of 1970 went into receivership. In 1972 the company was bought by the Fairey Aviation Group and production of the Islander and Trislander was moved to their factory (Avions Fairey) in Gosselies, Belgium, although the aircraft were flown to Bembridge for final customer preparation. The new company developed the Turbo Islander with Lycoming LTP-101 turboprops, but the engines were too powerful for the aircraft and the design evolved into the Turbine Islander (BN-2T) with Allison 250 turboprops. Fairey then suffered financial problems and called in the receiver and the Fairey Britten Norman Company was sold to Pilatus of Switzerland. An improved version, the BN-2A Islander, first flew in 1969.  It incorporated aerodynamic and flight equipment improvements as well as changes to the baggage arrangements. In 1978 a further improved version, the BN-2B Islander II, was introduced. Improvements included increased carrying capacity and propeller modifications to reduce noise levels. Options included a long-nosed version for increased baggage capacity, raked wing-tip auxiliary fuel tanks and twin Allison 250-B17C turboprop engines. When the latter are installed, the aircraft is designated the BN-2T Turbine Islander. A military conversion of the Islander, the Defender 4000, is capitalising on the Islander’s rugged structure for use in Third World countries. Recent purchases from police and military customers centres around use in surveillance and counter-terrorism operations. The Maritime Defender is another military version of the Islander, intended for search and rescue, coastal patrol and fishery protection.

General:

In my experience, the BN-2 is an aircraft seemingly fairly generally disparaged and disregarded in one Wide Brown land. It labours under the less-than-affectionate nickname of Bongo Van there and those that have flown it seem to be in an awful rush to get out of it –some of them, anyway. Obviously, theirs is not an opinion I personally share. I have spent around 1,000hrs in these wee beasties, in areas as diverse as coastal regions and beaches to the mountainous terrain of Southern New Zealand and metropolitan areas –often in the same day, sometimes in the same flight! There are few aircraft out there –single or twin- that will ever go close to doing what the BN-2 does daily, with aplomb. If you ever get the opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted with this wee lady, take it. Put all the prejudices and tales you have heard so long & often out of mind, get into her and explore her flight envelope, loading, CofG envelope and definitely her low-speed regime. Sure, she’s a bit of a noisy bitch –but show me a similar aircraft that will take whatever fits in the doors, fly it at around 140KIAS (if flown properly) and put it onto unprepared surfaces, in shocking x-winds, in a distance that could only be matched by a fling-wing. Even then, an equivalent fling-wing won’t lift the same load, lift it as far, as fast or come within a bulls-roar of the price! The BN-2 is renowned as ‘an accountant’s aircraft’ due to its consistently good returns on comparatively low operating and maintenance costs. New Islanders are hard to come by today –and even harder to justify. As is often said; “A new Islanders biggest competition –is a used Islander!”  Some pilots may come to the Islander with a handful of hours in smaller GA training twins, but for many pilots, an Islander is their 1st multi-engine aircraft. They could have no finer aircraft to learn the  skills of their trade on. The smart ones pay attention and learn to fly the BN-2 properly, enjoy their GA time, learning new skills almost daily and move onto better things as skilled and well-rounded professional pilots. The others pretty smartly wind-up in 2-pilot crews, where there’s always someone else to keep an eye on them, -and they often find their Captains are ex-Islander drivers…

The Islander is a simple, safe, robust aircraft, originally designed as a short-haul commuter. Its sheer versatility however has seen it shine in many, varied roles world-wide, where it is still in general use in remote locations, island-hopping, tourist work, geo-magnetic survey and ambulance roles amongst others. What those that disparage the Islander are failing to understand is that the Islander was manufactured to fill a specific niche market. That is, multi-engine short-duration legs over water or other inhospitable terrain, into and out of short, poorly prepared strips. The aircraft design concept was very much in line with that other uniquely British product, the Land Rover. Both are designed to be solid, like a brick outhouse, and to carry a tonne where others cannot go.

Production:

A number of companies in addition to Britten-Norman have manufactured the Islander. IRMA from Romania has been building the aircraft since 1969, including the SONACA (Fairey), in Gosselies, Belgium. The aircraft has also been assembled in the Philippines and by Pilatus.

BN-2A/B

Over 1200 Islanders have been manufactured since 1965. In that time there have been many thousands of modifications. The aeroplanes have been largely custom built for individual owners, so that means there are effectively over 1200 different model Islanders. Most of the modifications relate to only one aircraft. The way the Type Certificate holder designs each mod means that most of the mods could go onto any aircraft, even as an after market addition. In choosing such a path, the design of the Islander has grown in an evolutionary manner, rather than revolutionary. Mods that pop the design up into another niche have been largely avoided because there are other aircraft already servicing those areas. Progress has meant that whilst every Islander is a little different, any Islander is recognisable and flyable by someone with Islander knowledge and experience. So far, no one has managed a design that better suits the Islanders niche than the original Britten Norman. Specifically note that BN, as a small manufacturer has chosen the evolutionary design change through modification path because large mod or design changes are simply too expensive to be supported by the small volume of sales. On different model designations, these is usually a change to the base line mod state. The latest model available is the BN2C-300. It comes with an additional row of passenger windows, 3 bladed scimitar props and some other improvements over the BN2B-20 mod state. The 3 bladed Hartzell straight props have been available for a long time. These allow much smoother and quieter operations over the traditional 2 bladed props. The scimitar 3 bladed props allow a further reduction of noise levels by enabling the achievement of full power at 70 RPM less than the older models. With either mod now available, I am surprised any Islander still has 2 bladed props. The third row of passenger windows is a recent innovation whereby a properly incorporated and reinforced mod is added in a primary structure area of the fuselage. An older FAA STC third row window is not considered safe by the type certificate holder because the STC designer did not have factory backing or calculations when cutting the holes. IE: in all probability, the older STC aircraft have written off fuselages…

BN2-T

The BN2T is a specific model option with an alternative engine, early models with the Allison 250 at 320SHP ea and later the Rolls Royce Allison 250-B17F flat-rated at 400SHP . The idea being that not everybody can source avgas easily, and not everybody is happy with piston engine reliability. BN2T fuel flows are around 170 litres per hour versus say 120 litres per hour for a BN2B-20. With the same amount of fuel on board, clearly turbines will have slightly less range than the piston, but in most instances, people will not be using their Islanders outside the above mentioned niche. In that niche, turbine Islanders, due to the much lighter engines and the significantly higher maximum all up weight, can carry more into and out of the destination airfields. In the surveillance or special mission role, turbine engines offer greater flexibility in terms of speed and altitude, and very long endurance/loiter times coupled with much smoother and quieter operations. IE: the turbine engine is orders-of-magnitude quieter than the piston models.

Trislander

A design project to develop an Islander with a larger capacity resulted in the BN-2A Mk. III Trislander. This aircraft has a stretched fuselage, modified landing gear and a third (tail-mounted) engine.The prototype was constructed from the original, second BN-2 prototype and flew on 11 September 1970. Further information can be found here. The Trislander is simply 2 Islander fuses joined together with a bigger wing and tail plane. It was considered innovative in its day, but I wonder why people would not add flexibility to their operations by simply using 2 Islanders? In the latter case, the purchase price would be less and the operating cost of having 3 more undercarriage legs and one more engine could easily be offset by carrying the 2 more passenger seats… In this modern day of product liability, whilst many people want to innovate and make suggestions for improvements, it must be understood that the type certificate holder has to spend money on any re-design or modification. This can be prohibitively expensive for a small manufacturer. BN prides itself on satisfying the needs of customers, and most new modifications are therefore derived from new aircraft buyers. Older aircraft owners may usually fit new mods after-market, and they often don’t have to pay much of the design costs associated. If these owners want something specific, the designers will do it, but they cannot do it for free. I have enjoyed many an hour in many an Islander. While they are not a jet fighter, they are an aircraft that serves a specific purpose. For those who operate Islanders, there is usually no other choice. Not even a PAC750XL can go everywhere an Islander goes.

BN2-XL

A rumoured, secretive, new project is the BN2-XL which seems to be garnering some global interest.

Pre-flight:

As PinC, it is solely your responsibility to ensure the aircraft is in all respects ready for the intended flight. Allow yourself whatever time is necessary to meet that responsibility completely, whether for the 1st flight of the day or any subsequent flight during the course of the day. Never ask someone else to pre-flight your aircraft for you, or even to dip your fuel tanks. It is your responsibility. Never execute a pre-flight or any part of a pre-flight for someone else. If you are asked to do so, best you invite them to remove themselves in short, jerky movements and get out there and do it themselves. In common with most aircraft, its best to start your pre-flight in the cockpit. Open the crew-door and secure it back against the forward fuselage with the clip provided for that purpose. Check your fire-extinguisher, 1st Aid kit and axe, under the pilot seat. It’s the best time to install your personal headset and any other equipment you may require now (GPS, anyone?) and check & secure your flight documents. Take the opportunity now to check your brake master-cylinder fluid-level now too –it is down near the rudder pedals. It is the reservoir for both your toe and parking brake. No fluid in there, no brakes at all. Make sure your:

  • Switches are set,
  • Mags & fuel-pumps off,
  • Parking brake set (make sure it is set properly –not just the lever flicked-down) and
  • Carb-air is selected cold.

A fairly typical BN-2A Islander cockpit layout: Bn2cockpit.jpg

You will want to grab your fuel-stick, fuel-drain tester and a good, clean rag now too. Turn your Master on, check your fuel-gauges (you’ll confirm with a tank-dip shortly), run your flaps out to their full deflection (52º, 2 notches), turn on all your exterior and interior lights and your pitot-heats. Your 1st lap of the aircraft is a real quick one (we don’t want to burn out the pitot-heaters) so just a quick dash along the Port leading edge, a quick touch of the pitot to check it’s heating (don’t grab it or hang onto it –they get fierce hot, fearsome quick -flay the skin right off your hand they will), check the landing light is working on the leading edge and alternating (if PulseLite fitted), then around the wing-tip check the Port (red) nav-light and strobes, a quick dash behind the tail-plane to check the wee white light in the stinger and off to the Starboard wing-tip checking strobes and (green) nav-light, the other landing-light on the leading edge, the Starboard pitot-heater and back to the cockpit to get the switches and Master off. Whew!

OK, you have the aircraft configured now for a thorough walk-around. You can –and should- take your time. The 1st start of the day, when you are doing your pre-flight and run-up, is most likely going to be the best and only opportunity you’ll have during the day to have a really good look around your aircraft, look after her and sort out any minor wee niggles. So get to work early enough that you have plenty of time for a thorough pre-flight and a proper run-up (more on that later), pre-flight planning and paper-work, and be ready to meet & greet your pax, load the aircraft and be comfortably ready for an on-time departure. The hurrieder you go, the behinder you get… OK, given the top of the engines, tanks and associated ports and openings are above your head (well, mine anyway), I generally like to get that area knocked-over next. If you have steps – it’s easy. Just position them outboard but adjacent to your cowling and you can check oil-levels and dip your tanks from there. Do both sides. If no steps are available, the aircraft roof and wing is well strong enough to support your weight whilst you do your over-wing inspections. Climb up from the crew-door and onto the wing. Best to stay on the rivet-line that demarcates the wing-spar, just to be sure. Dip your fuel-tanks and check your oil levels (8 quarts [1]) from there. Whilst you’re there, have a glance at your VHF and HF (if fitted) antennas and their attachment points, and make a visual inspection of your rotating beacon. Back on the ground, start at the cockpit door, checking hinge attachments, latch mechanism, Mag-alarm over-ride switch operation and security. Check the wing-root air-inlet and the wing-root leading-edge for damage. Check the engine cowl is correctly fitted and all fasteners are secure. Open the engine fuel-drain hatch and take & check a fuel-sample from the gascolator. Make sure the fuel-drain closes properly and the hatch is securely closed. Don’t spill the fuel-sample on the ground –apart from being messy and damaging the tarmac, it’s environmentally irresponsible. You’ll need it again shortly anyway, so for the now just pour it into that good, clean rag you have with you. Check your propeller for stone-nicks (get ‘em filed out if necessary) and the spinner for cracks and security. Check the front of the engine, propeller-boss and CSU for fluid leaks and security of linkage arms. Have a look at your front cylinders for any sign of gas-leak staining, which may indicate a cracked head. Visually check plug-leads are secure and in good condition. Check the outboard engine cowl for security –and wipe off any oil or greasy finger-marks. Continue along the wing leading-edge checking for damage. Take a fuel-drain from the wing-sump, check, and –you guessed it- pour it onto your rag. Check the (by now cooler) pitot-head for security, damage and any bugs or debris obstructing the static or dynamic openings. Onto the landing-light which we already know is working, so we just check the security and cleanliness of the perspex cover. Around the wing-tip we’re looking for damage (predominantly hangar-rash), and security of the nav/strobe light assembly. Check your static-wicks as you go past and be sure your aileron horn-balance is there and secure. Manually manipulate your ailerons through their full range, whilst checking the security and movement of the hinges and actuator rods.[2] Same for the flaps: you should get no more than 1-2mm of ‘wriggle’ at the trailing edge of the flap when manipulated. Duck under the flap; wipe your gear-leg and cowling clear of oil-stains. While you’re down at the back of your cowling have a good peer inside looking for major oil-leaks, the general appearance & condition of the engine and attached accessories, leads & lines for security. There’ll always be a bit of oil-staining around your cowls and gear-legs from the mist out of the protruding engine-breather line. It’s a normal part of Islander operation and why Islander pilots always have a rag ready to clean the legs and cowls. Further down, check your landing-gear linkages, tyre pressures and general condition (look for cuts, severe abrasions, any sign of the tyres twisting around the rim, embedded stones etc.) and a thorough inspection of your brake disc (condition) and pads (cracks[3] or needing replacement). Check your aft Passenger door hinges for security and door latches for operation & security. Many Islander (pax) doors don’t fit so well any more –a trait they have in common with many other light aircraft. Over-enthusiastic pax take it upon themselves to slam the doors with all their physical might in the belief that it will enhance their security in-flight. That’s why so many of the older aircraft are a bit noisier and a lot draughtier than they ought to be. Be sure to stress to your pax during their pre-flight briefing that you and only you will operate the doors in any circumstances other than an immediate emergency. Moving aft, check the hinges and security of the baggage hatch. Open-up, make sure everything you might need to be in there is there, and nothing unsecured. You’ll probably have a static-vent aft of the hatch; check it. On some aircraft there is an extra rotating beacon on the belly around here too. Have a good look at your vertical fin and tail-plane leading-edge on the way back to the elevator. You want to check the elevator thoroughly for damage (hangar-rash again) full & free movement, general condition, linkages for security, static wicks, trim-tab hinges & security and very importantly, the trim-tab itself. You should see towards the centre that the trim-tab has been split. Check the plates connecting to both sides of the tab thoroughly for cracks or wear and the control-linkages themselves. Legend has it, in the early days of the Islander’s history the trim-tab was one-piece, with only one plate connecting the linkage to the tab. That plate broke in-flight apparently. The trim-tab was more than strong enough to over power the pilots’ elevator inputs and the aircraft crashed. Check it thoroughly. The split tab would probably allow you sufficient elevator authority to make a safe landing if one side let go. I don’t know of anyone having proven that though…  Pop a finger into the tail-cone hole where the trim linkages are too, especially if you see any debris poking out of it…. birds seem to have a bit of a proclivity for building their nests in there! If that happens, it’s only 5 minutes with a screw-driver to pop the tail-cone off, clean it out & replace it. Whilst you’re down the back, take a moment to look forward –you should be able to visually check that your fuel-caps are in on the wing! Second side, pretty much same as the first. Wander forward checking static vents, flap, cowls, leg, gear, brakes, engine (fuel drain), aileron, wing-tip & lights, leading edge & lights, pitot-head, fuel-sump, prop and engine-front, wing-root, front pax-door, and forward fuselage. Thoroughly check the nose gear, particularly for tyre wear, inflation and condition and the extension of the nose-oleo. An over-extended oleo is as bad as an under-extended oleo.[4]

Back in the drivers-seat, you can turn your Master back on and get the flaps away whilst you get yourself all emotionally prepared for the run-up. A word now on flap-extension/retraction whilst I think of it: the flap-switch is not like the Cessna flap-switches you may (or may not) be used to. A quick flick of the switch will most definitely not do. You need to consciously push the switch down the full extent of its travel and then pause for a count of 1 before you release it. If you do that, the flap will happily motor its way out to 26º on the 1st such activation and 52º on the 2nd activation. Do it in a hurry and just swipe the switch, I guarantee you will wind up with only a momentary, partial extension or retraction of only a few degrees. Always visually check your flap setting is what you expect to see, with no asymmetry. It only takes a second to glance over both shoulders & check for an asymmetric extension. There is also a flap-extension gauge in the overhead. Check it, be sure it’s working and appropriately. With the Master off, it is normal for this gauge to fall to the stops.

Run-up:

I’ve been accused of being a bit anal about my run-up’s (probably well justified), but as stated before, most likely you are going to get only the one opportunity during the day to do it properly and really look after your aircraft, so why not do it thoroughly? I reckon a pretty good rule of thumb (in ISA and ISA+ conditions) is one minute per cylinder plus an extra minute ‘because you can’. So for the Islander in ambient temperatures of 15ºC or above, I warm my engines for a total of 7 minutes at ~1200RPM before making any of the operational checks, other than a magneto dead-cut check immediately after engine start. In very cold ambient temperatures (ISA −25ºC in some cases), I’ll sit there for 20-30 minutes if necessary. Take a cup of coffee and the newspaper or a good book! Remember it’s the whole engine you want thoroughly warmed, not just your CHT! If you do it properly, you can be certain your engine is warm, the oil is up to temp (and thus the viscosity is right) and you are not unnecessarily wearing or damaging your engine due it being cold-soaked. The fuel-cost is a pittance in comparison to a blown engine. I’ve seen some people make a reduced-power take-off (NOT Islander pilots!) in the erroneous belief they’re “saving the engine” from oil-pressures over the red-line high… newsflash kiddies: all you’re doing is putting your aircraft, your pax and yourself at serious risk. If you have done a decent warm-up and run-up, your oil-pressure won’t go anywhere near the red-line. Even if your warm up was lacking, the fact that the oil-pressure goes over the red line for a few seconds on a normal, full-throttle take-off is not going to do your engine any harm at all.

On one memorable occasion, I watched a C-206 with a full load of meat-bombs barely stagger into the air at the far threshold, crossing the boundary-fence at about 10-15ft. This from a runway that the same aircraft, with the same load was usually well airborne on within half to two-thirds of the available distance. Scary, scary stuff. I shudder to think what would have happened had there been any power-loss then. Reduced power take-offs are exclusively the domain of jet aircraft –don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Right. I’m not going to run you through normal/abnormal pre-start drills–that’s why you have an AFM. There are a couple of things that might be useful though: I previously mentioned making sure your parking brake was properly set. If someone has just reached into the cockpit and flicked the park-brake lever down, your brakes are not set. Start the engines, she’ll roll forward 5-10m before the brakes grab, so 1st pre-start check is hold the toe-brakes and set your park-brake lever properly.

Priming:

The best way to prime your engines (on the O-540 anyway) is to simply pump the throttles, full-travel. This activates the carburettor accelerator pump and introduces fuel to the system.

  • Once for a hot or warm engine,
  • Twice for a cold-start on a mild to warm day,
  • 3-5x for a cold-start on a cold to frosty day,
  • In-flight restarts after an engine shut-down will almost certainly require 5-10 pumps of the throttle, full-travel.

Another check I make religiously, 1st start of the day is to start the engines with the fuel-selectors in cross-feed. Like everything else we’re doing at this end of the day, we want to be sure the x-feeds work. If you start in x-feed, you’ll know within 30-seconds or so if it is not working as advertised, when one or other (hopefully not both!) of your engines shuts down. I generally leave them in x-feed until a minute or so before I start doing carb-air/mag/prop-checks. It’s beneficial to exercise the x-feed regularly anyway. It keeps the mechanism free, seals lubricated and everything as it should be. Taxi somewhere clear of buildings, hangar entrances, loose stones, debris and other aircraft for your run-up. Warm your engines thoroughly before your checks. Some outfits, when teaching an initial twin-rating teach pilots to run-up each engine individually, leaving the opposite engine at idle or low-power. I really can’t see the sense in this practice. Effectively all you are achieving is making the whole process a lot slower than it needs be whilst exerting a twisting moment on your airframe. It’s a bizarre practice in my opinion. 1st check is fuel-feeds back to main-tanks: L-tank feeding the L-engine and vice versa. Power between 1000-1200RPM, mag function checks and mag dead-cut (to be sure you don’t have a hot P-lead), then carb-air function checks. Both engines to 1800RPM, mag-drop checks only,[5] Carb-air drop-checks then power to 1500RPM. Cycle your props 3x each engine, which can be done quite quickly -1st L then R and so-on. The 1st cycle may be slow due cold oil in the system, so do it carefully and thoroughly. The idea is to get hot engine-oil through the prop-hub. Once a week or so you might want to do a full feathering-check, although it was not something I personally ever did as a matter of course. Do an idling-speed check, then your run-up is complete and you should have a pretty good idea of where your aircraft is at.

A quick note here: most Islander pilots get into the habit of turning both props to the vertical after shut-down. It’s a truly miserable experience to be working around your aircraft under the wing, only to charge head 1st into a horizontal prop-blade. That’s part of the reason you always do a dead-cut mag-check immediately before shutting down –you don’t want to be swinging on a hot engine that has a live mag! Never swing the engine backwards –you’ll break the wee vanes in your engine vacuum pumps.

Check your clothing for oil-stains (particularly sleeves & back) before going to meet & greet your punters!

Loading:

If you are going to be carrying freight or luggage, it’s pretty usual to get that sorted before rounding up your punters for boarding. Make sure it’s all secured and can’t come free in-flight. If you have a row or more of seats removed for additional freight/luggage space, be certain it’s all tied down properly with cargo-nets. When loading your pax, load the Starboard-side front door pax first –otherwise, if you load the Port-aft door pax, there is a risk of your aircraft falling arse-1st to the ground. That will not impress your boss, and is all-but guaranteed to lead to a “cup of Tea” with the Chief Pilot. The aircraft will be grounded until the longitudinal spars and aft ribs/structure are inspected for damage or possible replacement. The same risk is present when unloading too –de-plane the aft pax 1st. If you are using row 0B (the front-right seat) for pax, be sure to brief them not to touch anything. I once almost lost my fingers in an aileron-hinge when an over-excited punter decided to show-off for her mates down aft by throwing the yoke around whilst I was doing my final walk-around. I had removed my fingers from between aileron and wing only a blink of a moment earlier. That got the ‘ol heart-rate up for a bit. Make sure you demonstrate the full control-yoke throw to the front-seat pax too, so they know what to expect and don’t get knee-capped when you make an unexpected (by them) control input.

Weights:

Take-off weights for most Islanders max-out at 2994Kg, so for the standard Islander, you’ll have somewhere in the range of say 500-1000kg useful payload, depending on what tanks your aircraft has and your fuel-load.

Always do a Golden Walk-around of your aircraft once loading and the pax-briefing is complete, before strapping her on yourself. Make sure the hatches are secure, no obvious damage or leaks since your last check, no pitot-covers or control-locks left in or installed without your knowledge. I was once caught by that last one. I had left the airport vicinity for a brief period, during which time the (turbine-powered) aircraft behind me had backed out of its parking spot to get away quickly due deteriorating wx, likely to close the route home through the mountains. Another pilot (a former CP of the outfit I was working for) knew where my control-locks were stored and popped an aileron-lock in and manually restrained my elevator whilst the turbine blew itself backwards. He didn’t pop the tell-tale on the yoke to let me know he’d done that. So, when I got back to the airport after rounding up my pax, I quickly boarded everyone and got out of there smartly –not least because my aircraft was the cork-in-the-bottle that needed to go so other aircraft could depart. As soon as we were airborne, I knew we had a problem. Says you: “a full & free check should have caught the control lock”. Yup, you’re right –even earlier if I hadn’t allowed the pressure of getting away to drive me, I would have done the Golden Walk-around. I always did so previously and always do so now. Well, I did do a full & free whilst taxiing. I had a child of about 10-12 in the front seat and remember thinking there was no-show of knee-capping him, as I did the check!!! Thing is, I wasn’t in my usual mount but a sister-ship that was much lighter on the controls. Whether that was enough coupled with the pressure and distraction of the wx to not do it completely or to have thought I was feeling what I expected to feel, I don’t know. But I did fly it for 30+ minutes with my ailerons locked. Much more a testament to the abilities of the aircraft than anything else. How, you ask? By very careful, judicious and deliberate use of the rudder and rudder & elevator trim. The aircraft was out of the air for a while until an engineer checked the rigging & control-lines to be sure I hadn’t damaged anything. The last-minute walk-around is absolutely Golden.[6] Make it a part of your routine. Worth noting too that your huge rudder is well capable of picking up a low wing at any time, unassisted.

Taxiing & Ground Handling:

Early models of the Islander have a fully castering nose-wheel, later models a partially steering then castering nose-wheel and others a fully steering nose-wheel. Make sure you know what you’ve got, not only from a taxiing point of view but more especially when ground-manoeuvring your aircraft. Most of your ground-handling of the aircraft will be with the assistance of a tug and steering-bar –she’s a substantial machine and it needs more than a couple of people to do so by hand, which would swiftly become onerous, if that was your only way of shifting her. If your aircraft has partial or full nose-wheel steering, be sure not to turn the nose-wheel beyond around 30º either side of straight or you risk damaging steering components. There should be limit-marks painted on the underside of the nose-cone adjacent to the nose-wheel strut. There was one instance I am aware of, of a semi-castering nose-wheel breaking through its limits (must have been on take-off) and having to land with the nose-wheel at 90º to the direction of travel… that would have been an interesting experience and possibly due to the steering limits being exceeded during ground-handling.

Under its own power, taxiing an Islander is a very straight-forward proposition. From a standing start, little more than releasing the brakes is usually necessary to get her rolling straight ahead. Turns of course are made by use of differential power, assisted by differential brakes when required.

The Lycoming 260HP O-540 engines[7] which the Islander has are particularly susceptible to carb icing, whenever appropriate conditions exist. Those conditions can generally be considered to be: when the outside air temperature is between –10°C and +30°C with high humidity and visible moisture is present. However, it is most likely between +10°C and +15° with a relative humidity above 40%. Under certain, moist atmospheric conditions, when the relative humidity is more than 50%, with air temperatures anywhere up to 35°C, it is possible for refrigeration ice to form in the carburettor. You’re well aware of the implications of induction icing and have no doubt been told countless times not to use carb-air on the ground because it’s unfiltered. True enough, but given the Islanders proclivity towards induction icing and the insidious manner in which icing develops, I always select hot air on both as soon as I am moving. The forward movement of the aircraft is enough to prevent any debris tossed up by the props being ingested and when you reach the threshold, you want every bit of power available to you. Select cold air just before you open the throttles for take-off.

In-Flight:

Engine Handling:

Which brings us to engine handling: and haven’t there been tens of thousands of pages and millions of words uselessly spent on propounding and defending one Old Wives Tale (OWT) or another on this topic alone… I’ll try to keep this as painless as possible.

One of the most persistent OWT’s expounds that manifold pressure (MP) measured in inches must always be less than the RPM in hundreds, or the power-plant will immediately blow to pieces under the strain –or sentiments to that effect  Briefly, horse-hockey. Were this so, turbocharged, turbo-normalised and super-charged reciprocating engines could not exist. Yet, this nonsense is still taught by many instructors for non-boosted, constant-speed engines. Fixed-pitch propeller aircraft usually climb at full throttle with no ill effect. To further (and finally!) illustrate the nonsense of this OWT, consider this: ISA Mean Sea-Level atmospheric pressure is 1013.2Hpa or 29.92” Hg. Under those same conditions with a normally aspirated reciprocating engine, regardless of what RPM you set, you cannot achieve a MP any more than fractionally in excess of 28”. This OWT is based on the premise of the pressure difference between atmospheric and the internal pressure of the engine. Stated simply, the least pressure difference between internal and external pressures occurs when the engine is stopped, and pressures have had time to equalise. Have a look at the MP gauge of a stopped engine sometime –it will be at or very close to the local barometric pressure for your elevation. By the same token, the greatest pressure differential will be seen on an engine running at idle- 20”MP difference or more! So how could running an engine at full-throttle (the minimum pressure differential for an operating engine) cause it to catastrophically self-destruct? It’s just not logical. There is a wealth of worthwhile information to be found in other publications.

So it would seem over-boosting an Islander’s engines is not an issue. Further, engine wear varies with the square of the RPM. This means an engine operated at 2000RPM will have less than half the wear of an engine operated at 3000 RPM, which seems to suggest that higher RPM will only wear the engine unless some boost is available. In an Islander, high RPM also decreases propeller efficiency; indeed much of the noise at take-off is the propeller tips going supersonic. More important than boost is the mixture setting which, if incorrect will cause engine damage within a very few flights. Too lean will burn valves and crack cylinders, while too rich can reduce range and leave you short at the end of the flight, plus the cost of it.

As I mentioned earlier, it is pointless over-filling your sumps. Sure, the O-540 has a sump capacity of 12 quarts (that’s a maximum limit figure not a target as one pilot I flew with seemed to believe) but, if you’re in the practice of filling the sumps to that level, all you’re going to achieve is unnecessary expense and work for yourself. After every flight you will be wiping the excess oil blown out of the engine off the cowls and gear-legs. My sumps run as happy as a sand-boy at a consistent 8 quarts. They’ll run the whole 50 hours between inspections at that level, without need of any additional oil. I still wipe my cowls and gear-legs most flights to remove the mist blown from the breather pipe, but the loss is at most measured in ml’s rather than litres. The engines will run as low as 4 quarts without stress (for a short flight) if necessary, but if you maintain 8 quarts as your sump-level, you will not have any grief. I always carry a couple of spare litre bottles of oil just in case –but to date, I’ve never needed them. They inevitably wind up going into my sumps (usually late in the 50hrs) as a top-up so that I can refill the bottles with clean, fresh oil.

Take-Off:


As you’ve no doubt heard, everything in an Islander happens at 65KIAS. Everything. Except the full-flap stall, which happens at 39KIAS and the clean stall that happens at 50KIAS[8]. But as sure as all hell, everything else happens at 65KIAS. The standard configuration for take-off is one notch of flap (26º) and full-throttle. Really, that’s about it. Once you have the throttles all the way up, pause for a moment to allow the MP to ‘catch-up’ then check your MP gauge. You don’t want to be seeing split-needles of any more than about 1”MP. Any more than that, there’s a problem; you need to abort your take-off and sort it out. One place to look is at your mag switches –if you’ve left one off, that’ll account for your MP loss. If they’re all on, there’s something else not right. Get it sorted. About 1”MP pressure can be accepted for the age of the machine, induction system inefficiencies and gauge inaccuracies. At full power, listen for a bit of a harkle from the props. If you are not hearing that, you’ve left the carb-airs in. Get ‘em off. When you get to 65KIAS, rotate and she’ll fly directly. When you have a positive Rate of Climb and are accelerating, clean up to 0º[8].  I usually just allow the aircraft to accelerate at full-throttle, 2500RPM and mixtures back to top of the R on the quadrant, where she’ll give me a speed of 110-120KIAS at a climb-rate of ~800-900FPM initial. In most conditions you’ll pass through full-throttle height at around 5-6,000’ so really I can’t see any point in busy-work fussing with the throttles. Just leave ‘em up. At TOC, props back to 2400RPM and they can pretty much stay there until you put them back up on finals.

Maximum performance take-offs are where you can really have some fun –especially light. With 20+kts breeze on the nose, it’s awesome. Line-up, hold her on the toe-brakes and run her up to full power with the stick hard back. When she’s ready, slip the brakes –she’ll roll about her own length and be airborne! You’ll want to relax the back-pressure as soon as the nose starts coming up or she’ll over-rotate. You can climb her at 40-odd knots if you wish (looks great from the ground!) but best to get to 65KIAS, clean her up and just start pulling to maintain 65KIAS. I guarantee you’ll be impressed with the results! Even with a load on or in lighter wind conditions, use a similar technique and she’ll generally need only 100-150m. You might want to accelerate in ground effect before climbing out though and blue-line (65KIAS strangely) is a good place to be thinking about that.

Take-off emergencies:

Really about all you’re likely to face is a loss of engine power on one or the other. In an aircraft that can be comfortably airborne in 400m to 50’, you probably won’t fly off a lot of runways which you can’t stop on if one fails. If one fails just after lift-off, you have 2 options: if sufficient runway remains, just land; or clean it up, nail 65KIAS[9], feather the dead-engine, fly a circuit and land. If there is insufficient runway remaining you have no choice: you have to fly it, so run your CAPUFIC[10], nail 65KIAS and get on with it. Remember, your ceiling on one is only 3-4,000’ density altitude (in a young, perfectly straight machine with everything running exactly as intended!), so your options may be quite severely limited.

Cruise:

My usual power-setting in the cruise is full-throttle, 2400RPM and mixtures to the top of the R on the quadrant. If you get your elevator neutral with those power-settings, you should expect to see ~140KIAS in the cruise and a fuel-burn of 52-56lph[11] consistently. The key there of course is: if you get your elevator neutral –many pilots I’ve seen in the Islander using more conservative power-settings, never get their elevator neutral (to the Relative Air-flow) and stagger along in a nose-high attitude, never seeing any more than around 120KIAS on the clock –and think that’s the best they’ll ever get! To get the elevator properly neutral, I usually climb a couple of hundred feet above my intended cruise-level then drift down to the nominated altitude at the power-settings indicated, allowing the aircraft to accelerate to ~140KIAS. Once there, just trim it to maintain and she’ll sit there as happy as a clam. Another advantage you can expect to accrue from running at full-throttle is a much lower likelihood of carburettor icing. Given that your throttle butterfly is fully open, presenting only a blade-like profile to the air-flow through the carb, there is very little opportunity for ice to adhere and develop. Should you experience carb-ice, likely your first indication will be a subtle loss of airspeed –even before you really notice any loss of MP! So if your IAS is creeping down, flick your carb-air on and you should pretty quickly see it back to where you expect.

Turbulence:

The Islander is a very robust aircraft, so turbulence penetration is more likely going to be limited by what you are prepared to tolerate personally or what you are prepared to put your pax through. If at a low AUW, it’s best to slow the aircraft down to prevent over-stressing the airframe. Refer to your POH. Should you find yourself operating an Islander as a member of a 2-pilot crew (usually only necessary if operating Air Transport IFR in an aircraft without an auto-pilot), be sure you have a clear division of responsibility and never work cross-cockpit. I experienced this once when flying in that scenario when the PNF reached across cockpit to manipulate the heater controls, up near my L temple. He wiped my sunglasses off and dislodged my headset whilst rubbing his fore-arm in my face and annoyed the crap outta me! All he needed do was ask, I would have made the change without effort. As it was, the distraction could have lead to an upset had we been in hard IFR or flying an approach at the time. Think about what you are doing.

Heater:

Whilst on the topic of the heater: it is a gas-combustion heater with fan assistance. It is located in the tail of the aircraft and burns 6lph from the R tank when in use. Do not operate the heater on the ground –there is insufficient airflow to prevent a build-up of gas fumes that may lead to an explosion, blowing the arse off your Islander, which is not a good look and fair bloody guaranteed to get the Boss’s undivided attention. Before lighting your heater in-flight, I reckon it’s a good idea to run the fan for 30-60 seconds 1st, just to be sure. The airflow through the heater-vents is bloody awful. The people in the back seats get cooked; the pilot gets frozen, with all the variations of temperature between those 2 extremes throughout the aircraft. When I say the people in the back seats get cooked, I ain’t joking. I’ve inadvertently stewed people using the heater. I had told them during the pax-brief to let me know if they were getting too hot, but irregular checks of their condition and poor hand-signal communication meant I didn’t get the message. More better if they had passed the message forward through the aircraft verbally pax-to-pax until it got to me. As it was, they had no relief until I shut the heater off prior to joining. Use the heater with caution. In all but the most extremely cold conditions, start the heater at full noise for perhaps 5-10 minutes to get things going then reduce to ½-scale or lower as necessary. Maintain communication with your pax and adjust as necessary.

Fuel Management:

Managing your fuel on-board an Islander couldn’t be easier: one-tank, one engine. Simple. Main tanks useable capacity is 240l per-side, or 4 hours useable per-side. 60l per-hour, per-side fuel-burn[12]. Don’t forget to allow for any anticipated additional fuel-burn by the heater (6l per-hour from the R tank) if you think the heater may be required in-flight. The aircraft AFM stipulates: take-offs and landings on main tanks are prohibited when the gauges read less than three gallons (under 14l) –although why anyone would want to commit aviation with a fuel-level that low is beyond me. For sure if it gets any lower, a landing will soon become compulsory. That requirement is to prevent fuel tank feed-lines un-porting as a consequence of aircraft flight attitude. Be certain you have enough on-board for your intended flight, plus reserves and planned diversion fuel (and a bit of Mum & the kids fuel) then feed each engine off its own tank and 99.9% of the time, that’s as much ‘fuel management’ as you’ll ever need to do. If it ain’t bust, don’t fix it. 30-minute tank-changes are neither necessary nor desirable. Leave it alone unless absolutely necessary. I knew one pilot that made a habit of doing 30-minute tank changes in the Islander, a habit carried over from his extensive experience operating single-engine aircraft on agricultural operations. Everyone that flew an Islander after him found a fuel-imbalance in the tanks that had to be corrected and fuel-selectors that had to be put back to where they should be before further flight. It’s unnecessary; don’t do it. That habit bought that particular pilot terminally undone in another light-twin that had fuel-injected engines. He hadn’t allowed for the fact that the fuel-pumps in the new (to him) aircraft type picked up twice as much fuel from the tanks as the FCU delivered to the engine, returning the excess to the tank on the same side as the engine. Effectively, he was transferring fuel from the tank in use to the tank not currently in use. The rest of it’s a long story; suffice to say he suffered a double engine-failure (due fuel starvation rather than fuel exhaustion), didn’t achieve an effective restart, crashed and died.

You may find yourself flying an Islander that has the optional tip-tanks[12] fitted. Expect a significantly better initial climb rate –the extra wing-span definitely makes a difference! They go up like a homesick Angel! Fuel capacity for the tips is 104.5l useable per-side, or 1.7 hours useable. On aircraft so equipped, there is an additional tip-tank control panel and indicator lights located on the R cockpit side wall, adjacent to the co-pilot’s/front seat pax’s head. To access the fuel available in the tip-tanks, your fuel selectors in the overhead must be ON, then select the appropriate toggle switch on the R cockpit sidewall ON. Tip-tank selection will be confirmed by the red light on the tip-tank selector panel. The tip-tank valves are electrically actuated. A handy way of confirming that the valves have actually selected across is to knock the squelch off on one of your VHF Nav boxes; you can then “listen” to the electrical valves making the selected change! For structural reasons, tip-tank fuel should be used last. Unless operationally unavoidable, don’t allow the tip-tank fuel-level to fall below 50l. I’m not aware of any take-off/landing minimum tip-tank fuel-level restrictions, but given the potentially fatal results of a tank un-porting due aircraft attitude at a critical phase of flight, I’d be thinking pretty seriously about my options with less than say 10-15l in the tips.

Descent:

The Islander is a very easy aircraft to descend from altitude. As always,a little planning goes a long way: take your height above your desired level in thousands of feet and multiply by 3 to get TOD distance from destination in nautical miles. So at 6000ft for a sea-level landing, start your descent at 18NM out and an 800 ft per minute rate of descent will bring you in nicely. No hugely pressing need to worry about your power settings, unless you’re in turbulence –just leave ‘em up! Sneak your mixtures up quietly as you descend. Run your speed up into the yellow arc, if conditions are appropriate. If you are empty and need to come down in a hurry, run her right up to the red-line. Use whatever descent-planning rule-of-thumb works for you –there’s plenty of them out there!

Approach:

A thoughtless pilot in an Islander can cause quite a bit of stress and mayhem for other pilots and controllers in the approach phase. If you wanted to, there’s nothing to prevent you joining downwind at 65KIAS and flying your whole approach to touchdown at that speed. You’ll certainly get the controllers’ undivided attention and quite probably see a C-152 go screaming past you looking as much like an F/A-18 in the buzz-and-break as it’s able though! More better you match your initial approach speed as far as possible to the speed range most other aircraft in the airport environment are likely to be using; around 90-120KIAS. When able, I maintain that speed until late on the base-leg which is often where I rail out the 1st stage of flap too, with speed and flap slowly coming down until I reach my target 65KIAS (blue-line) and full-flap on very short-finals. Maintain that 65KIAS until you are within the runway environment and pulling the aircraft into the flare, when your speed should be approaching the 39KIAS stall-speed momentarily before touchdown. There may be occasions when you are requested by ATC to maintain “best speed” until very short finals or the runway threshold. That request most likely means you have something significantly quicker (and larger!) than you, right behind you in the landing sequence. The Islander will slow down very quickly when you pull the throttles off and start lowering flap, so there’s no reason you don’t maintain whatever she’ll give you all the way to the flare if necessary. The major draw-back of this is that it doesn’t allow you any real opportunity to look after your engines, so when you do start to make your power reduction for landing, do not snatch your throttles back; reduce your power smoothly to throttles-closed in one continuous action over as long a period as you are able. Your carb-air should have been previously selected in anticipation and if necessary can be left on all the way to touchdown, or selected cold once the throttles are reduced to idle. Fortunately it’s a fairly infrequent request and if done properly shouldn’t result insignificantly increased risk of engine damage.

On one occasion this request was made of me when on an ambulance flight with a patient suffering a spinal injury. It was a silky-smooth day fortunately, so there was no need to reduce speed at all from an airframe point of view, or to reduce the risk of further injury to the patient. I was slotted into the landing sequence ahead of a 747 on long final and requested to maintain speed until touchdown. Using the technique outlined above, I was able to maintain 150KIAS+ all the way to about 50’, reduce power, touchdown on the threshold and still make the 1st available taxiway from the threshold to clear the runway for the 747.

Touchdown:

If you’ve got your approach right, touchdown is a matter of little drama. Don’t over-rotate for touchdown –it’s just not necessary and can be counter-productive in a gusty cross-wind. The nose attitude in an Islander is quite low –the correct attitude ‘feels’ quite flat. There’s absolutely nothing here that any normally competent pilot can’t handle. The Islander is superb in crosswinds and will handle virtually anything thrown at it with aplomb –within reason, of course.

On all but the shortest runways, it’s quite possible you’ll barely need the brakes for anything beyond taxiing. The low touchdown speed, aerodynamic drag and huge flaps are often enough to pull you up to taxi speed without need of further assistance. As mentioned earlier, don’t taxi through standing water if you can avoid it. Cold water cracks hot brake pads.

Miscellaneous:

  • The strength of the main-gear on an Islander is the stuff of legend. Those gear-legs are all-but indestructible. There are photos out there of an Islander in (I think) PNG after a ‘heavy’ landing. The wing and fuselage are completely separated, with absolutely no apparent damage to the gear legs! She’s a tough wee beastie.
  • There is an interlock on the pilots door that is intended to prevent the door being opened onto a running Left engine. If the L magneto for the L engine is ON, the interlock is active. The interlock is also alarmed via the stall-horn, so if the door is improperly closed and the L mag of the L engine is selected to ON, you’ll know about it! The stall-horn is very loud and persistent!
  • There is also a small switch/lever on the door, adjacent to the door handle which is an interlock over-ride, allowing you to open the door in an emergency with the L mag still on. Best left only for Emergency use: it will allow you to step out into a turning engine!!!
  • The two aft pax doors open onto latches: the L onto a latch on the Port gear leg and the R onto a Starboard engine-cowl latch. They should always be used to prevent the doors flapping in a breeze and I find them handy for marshalling the de-planing pax in a direction that takes them away from hazards under-wing and around the engines.
  • Pax bench-seats can be easily removed or fitted in a forward or aft-facing arrangement. The aft facing seating can be particularly useful for ambulance flights, allowing medical attendants easy, unimpeded access to their patient and equipment.
  • Of some renown is the leaky windscreen “option” fitted to apparently every Islander ever built! When you’re flying in precip, flexing of the fuselage allows water ingress… generally targeting the pilot. Should you have to increase your rate of turn whilst in precip, the dribble turns into a veritable torrent! Forewarned is forearmed…

SB190:

When operating at low level over water, or in inhospitable tropical climates, all aircraft will suffer from corrosion. BN introduced a service bulletin to ensure proper inspection, detection and treatment every other year for aeroplanes over 5 years old. Not performing the inspection ensures high levels of corrosion and associated expensive repairs. I suppose the point I am making is that the SB 190 was introduced because the airframes live for so long in a corrosive environment. That doesn’t mean the design is wrong or the metal is easily corroded, just that all aircraft will corrode and BN has an inspection to help minimise the problem and to reduce the cost of repairs. It is an ongoing project to have the SB absorbed into the normal maintenance manual.

SB190 usually sees the additional of extra wing inspection panels, along the spar line.  The inspections can add considerably to the periodic maintenance costs, particularly if remedial work is necessary.

Finally…

These notes are just a collection of thoughts and observations on operating, handling, owning, maintaining and enjoying the BN-2A. There is very little material available for newly-rated pilots or new owners to study on this aircraft, so I hope these few words are of benefit! It is intended to be a useful guide (as opposed to an Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), which today is written more by lawyers,for lawyers with the sole intention of avoiding legal liability), so may contain advice on some operations that you consider to be ill-advised or outside the normal flight envelope… there really is no substitute for good, common sense –albeit not such a common commodity these days- so don’t read these words as encouragement to go beyond your experience and training, your AFM limitations, or for that matter, the letter of the law as promulgated in your AIP. Sometimes people end up well outside their skills, experience and training, whether intentionally or not. The BN-2A, in common with most other aircraft, will punish laxity, poor planning and ham-fisted mishandling. The only way to learn to fly one is to get in amongst it, as with all motor skills; but it is often useful to have a little information at your disposal before doing so. That’s a lot better than trying to develop your own unique solutions to issues when the situation demands it, and what these notes are intended for –it does not mean you need to try all this stuff on your own! If you must, find a suitably qualified and experienced instructor to guide you. Since the BN-2A is often utilised in short-field and mountain flying operations, these notes are prepared both from that perspective and with that utilisation in mind. That is where my experience was gained -specifically, on commercial operations in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and Stewart Island. Don’t underestimate the benefit of learning from the experiences of others. A thorough training system relies heavily on the skills and experience available in a pilot cadre to turn a new pilot into an operational pilot; turning what many pilots would consider abnormal into safely routine, daily operations for average pilots. Have fun with her; she’ll teach you a lot –if you let her.

Postscript and DISCLAIMER:

If anyone thinks these notes are useful, use them, add to them, pass them on or whatever. I do not pretend to know all there is to know about flying or the BN-2 and my experiences may vary from others. Use these notes at your own risk.

Notes

  1. For convenience sake, 1 Quart (US) can be considered to be 1 Litre.  The conversion (if you care) is 1 Quart (US) = 0.946352946 Litres –or within a bulls-roar of it.  These are US-manufactured engines so it’s appropriate to use the US Quart/Litre conversion in this case.
  2. Probably best not done with any over-enthusiastic pax in the right seat… I once almost lost my fingers when one such pax decided to show off for her friends down the back, by throwing the stick from side-to-side!
  3. Do Not taxi your aircraft through standing water, particularly after landing. Cold water will crack the hot brake pads. Don’t drag your brakes against power when taxiing either for that matter.  If you’re getting too quick, reduce power.
  4. Check the little green Britten-Norman book-of-words (if you can find one) for the appropriate tyre pressures and oleo extension figures.
  5. If you should inadvertently shut both mags off, DO NOT throw them back in –you’ll cause all sorts of stress & mayhem in the induction & exhaust manifolds, potentially blowing something off, not to mention potential mag drive-shaft damage. Allow the engine to STOP completely, then do a normal restart.
  6. Just as an aside to that, never make a change to the physical condition of another pilots’ aircraft without making that pilot aware of the change. Never. No matter how much inconvenience it causes you to find them, make sure you pass the message.
  7. Someone else can write about the IO-540 300HP ones –I have no experience of them.
  8. 8.0 8.1 0º flap is really 2º-3º droop, which I can’t remember for why just now… when I find out I’ll update the document. If I remember correctly, it was one of the earliest mods to the original design, to, I think, improve stall recovery characteristics.
  9. Beware the VMCA roll if operating single-engine!!! She’ll roll on her back before she’ll stall!!!
  10. Control the Yaw, Airspeed to Blue-Line 65KIAS, Power Firewall everything, Undercarriage (Irrelevant in an Islander), Flaps UP, Identify the dead-engine and retard the throttle, Clean-up the dead engine -Feather, Mixture, Fuel, Switches
  11. Your flight-plan fuel-burn is 60lph per side (120lph total) in all cases. There is an additional 6lph fuel-burn from the RIGHT tank if running the heater.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Refer to your AFM Supplement for the aircraft you are flying to confirm tip-tank capacities and useable fuel capacities.