• KerrSpectives--The Islander

    KerrSpectives--The Islander

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2

    Coming Very Soon To MSFS

    By Kenneth James Kerr

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Introduction

    In its own way, it’s as utilitarian as a DC-3 and as rugged as a Twin Otter. Like both those venerable aircraft, it’s been operated all around the world, but unlike those North American classics, this aircraft is British. What comes to mind? Some of you might be scratching your head right now, but for others, this aircraft needs no introduction. We’re talking about the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander… and it’s about to land in MSFS.

    I don’t know what it is that appeals to me about the Islander, but it’s one of those aircraft that I’ve liked since I was about 12 years old. I remember making the Airfix kit for it in the 1970s, and although I painted it in civil colours initially, It somehow ended up in British Army camouflage.

    The Islander was designed as a light utility aircraft and regional airliner in the early 1960s. It made its first flight on June 13, 1965, and was initially built at the Britten-Norman factory on the Isle of Wight. Later, it would be built in Romania, and many variants came from that initial design, including the military Defender, and the three-engined Trislander. The type, including variants, has been operated by more than 85 nations around the world and is still in production. If you have a favorite country from which to fly in MSFS, the chances are high that an Islander has been there in real life.

    The Islander for MSFS

    I was delighted to become a beta tester for the Islander you see in the header image. I’ve been flying it for about five weeks now, and have worked very closely with the developer, sometimes texting him at all hours of the day, and right up to midnight! I’ve provided critical feedback, suggested liveries, even introduced him to a real-world Islander pilot with 1600 hours on type, and have watched the aircraft go from strength to strength as the developer has worked and reworked the product with total dedication. And even as I’m preparing this article, a new revision has landed in dropbox! But, it’s now getting very close to release, and probably within days of this article going out, the Islander for MSFS will be available to purchase.

    This example does have a long pedigree because the designer has released versions of the aircraft for previous sim platforms. But that does not indicate that this is a mere “copy and paste” job for the new sim. Your new Chevrolet includes items from the parts bucket of previous vehicles, and such re-use does not invalidate the appeal or advances of the new model. Same here. While it may look similar to previous incarnations, the work under the hood has been enormous. I know this because I’ve personally witnessed it, seeing the product change significantly several times during my own testing. So let’s confidently give you a preview of coming attractions.

    The Islander is shipping with 16 different liveries. It includes civil examples and at least one military variant. There are different panel options, and also multiple upholstery choices, with changes in fabric, colour, etc. There will be a paint kit, and I suspect that the community will have a field day with it since the aircraft has been so universally operated.

    The best way to show you is… well… to show you. Let’s start with the interiors. Here’s a selection of images taken on May 3rd. Please remember there may be changes in the release version.

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    Britten-Norman Islander BN-2 for MSFS 2020

    The Panels

    At the current late stage of testing, almost all the buttons on the panel are clickable, although some are INOP due to sim or coding limitations. Again, this may change in the future, but for now, I can tell you that this is a very immersive cockpit to sit in, and very enjoyable to fly from.


    31 Comments
    1. squiremel's Avatar
      squiremel -
      I'm definitely looking forward to it's release. Looks like loads of fun.
    1. JohnnyJohnJohn's Avatar
      JohnnyJohnJohn -
      Can't wait! We have to rely on add-on aircraft as most of Asobos (Thank goodness not all) Are terrible with bugs still
    1. thomass's Avatar
      thomass -
      I have the FSX,P3D version which is very good in my opinion so this one will be a must purchase for me
    1. piet06273's Avatar
      piet06273 -
      I'm low on fuel so I doubt that I will be able to actually buy the product. But the pictures indicate a highest quality aircraft. When seeing these new releases there's allways one question that comes to my mind. A 100% representation is what developers are striving for. 100% accuracy in cockpit/panel view is allways the goal. But our sim experience is more than that, the available out of the window view to me is maybe more important. Pict. 2: 20% of the outside view is blocked by sun-visors, compass and mic-cable. Even if th're there in the real plane, to me they take away much of the immersion in approach and landing, maybe cause I have 1080p only. Still I would love to have this 'Island' because I like small twin turbo's and their STOL capabilities.
    1. croudson's Avatar
      croudson -
      This is an agonized review and does not instill confidence. The Islander is an appealing plane. With the difficulties with the Microsoft SKD, I hope the developer is able to produce some convincing aerodynamics as well as a good-looking plane. I would certainly buy it particularly in the absence of a Twin Otter in MSFS. Michael.
    1. johnbduffy's Avatar
      johnbduffy -
      I look forward to this release as I frequently fly the Islander in Xplane. Images look very good and hoping the price is not too expensive. Updates and bug fixes of course will be important. Best of luck on the launch
    1. sky44's Avatar
      sky44 -
      Be very skeptical with these two guys, like so many others I jumped at this guy's previous models, Airbus, Islander and lately the MSFS Cessna and they All had one problem or other, support=0
    1. thomass's Avatar
      thomass -
      Michael,
      Aerosoft is already working on Twin Otter so we will have two STOL Planes in future
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by squiremel View Post
      I'm definitely looking forward to it's release. Looks like loads of fun.
      Thank you for responding. Can't speak for others as fun is always (like beauty) in the eye of the beholder. But I am enjoying it!
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnJohn View Post
      Can't wait! We have to rely on add-on aircraft as most of Asobos (Thank goodness not all) Are terrible with bugs still

      The wait will be over soon. However, I don't think we will find perfection in any aircraft, Asobo or addon, until the base product stops evolving and becomes stable. Until then, it is an aircraft-by-aircraft experience with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. That's how I personally view it.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by thomass View Post
      I have the FSX,P3D version which is very good in my opinion so this one will be a must purchase for me
      I'm sure the developer will enjoy reading that. Thanks for commenting.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by piet06273 View Post
      I'm low on fuel so I doubt that I will be able to actually buy the product. But the pictures indicate a highest quality aircraft. When seeing these new releases there's allways one question that comes to my mind. A 100% representation is what developers are striving for. 100% accuracy in cockpit/panel view is allways the goal. But our sim experience is more than that, the available out of the window view to me is maybe more important. Pict. 2: 20% of the outside view is blocked by sun-visors, compass and mic-cable. Even if th're there in the real plane, to me they take away much of the immersion in approach and landing, maybe cause I have 1080p only. Still I would love to have this 'Island' because I like small twin turbo's and their STOL capabilities.
      I use 1080p as well. I actually have found the view to be very good for most operations in flight. Hope you do too when your situation allows it. Thanks for commenting.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by croudson View Post
      This is an agonized review and does not instill confidence. The Islander is an appealing plane. With the difficulties with the Microsoft SKD, I hope the developer is able to produce some convincing aerodynamics as well as a good-looking plane. I would certainly buy it particularly in the absence of a Twin Otter in MSFS. Michael.
      Interesting comment Michael. I certainly did not write it to create agony. Instead, I wanted to be honest with my enthusiasm, but not over-promising on claims of perfection. Even when my final testing was done, I went back to it yesterday and flew it for an hour just for my own enjoyment. That says a lot considering I already have a large collection of aircraft addons to choose from. I will also pick up the Twin Otter when it releases (if the price is not outrageous). British born, I enjoy the Islander. Canadian-located, I love the Twotter too. On the flight dynamics, the Islander pilot gave positive feedback, but I am sure there will be further refinement as time and software allow.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnbduffy View Post
      I look forward to this release as I frequently fly the Islander in Xplane. Images look very good and hoping the price is not too expensive. Updates and bug fixes of course will be important. Best of luck on the launch
      I will pass on your comment to the developer. Thanks.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by sky44 View Post
      Be very skeptical with these two guys, like so many others I jumped at this guy's previous models, Airbus, Islander and lately the MSFS Cessna and they All had one problem or other, support=0
      1. Which two guys are you suggesting people be skeptical of? There is one designer, so are you suggesting people be skeptical of me as the writer?

      2. I cannot speak for the pre-msfs products, but the msfs Cessna Bird Dog has had constant improvement since launch, with many upgrades over the past six months. Also, the developer has been on the msfs forum regularly to give feedback. That does not qualify as zero support in my experience.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by thomass View Post
      Michael,
      Aerosoft is already working on Twin Otter so we will have two STOL Planes in future
      And, many of the airlines depicted in the Islander product have since moved on to the Twin Otter in real life. It will be fun to fly in both with certain routes, for example St. Maarten to St. Barths!
    1. mbismail's Avatar
      mbismail -
      will it be nice to have the GTN 750 Mod on this aircraft
    1. Archer74's Avatar
      Archer74 -
      I don't have the L-19 but I read a lot about it and most of it was positive in general, so I have confidence in the developer to release a decent product. To me the Islander looks very promising and I'm still missing a commercial STOL aircraft. Definitely a first day purchase for me.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by mbismail View Post
      will it be nice to have the GTN 750 Mod on this aircraft
      I will have to ask the developer about this.
    1. KennethKerr's Avatar
      KennethKerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Archer74 View Post
      I don't have the L-19 but I read a lot about it and most of it was positive in general, so I have confidence in the developer to release a decent product. To me the Islander looks very promising and I'm still missing a commercial STOL aircraft. Definitely a first day purchase for me.
      If you are the "Archer374" on the "other" flightsim.xx site, I am looking forward already to your possible Islander re-paints!
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