Aircraft: Low, Slow & Selling

In the jet age, Britten-Norman Ltd. seems almost an anachronism. The airstrip at the company's plant near the resort town of Bembridge on Britain's Isle of Wight is nothing but a sod runway. The one plane that Britten-Norman builds carries ten people in a fuselage that even its designers admit is "just an aluminum rack." It has a high, slablike wing and a top speed of only 168 m.p.h. Yet low and slow as it flies, the Britten-Norman (BN-2) Islander, as it is called, has proved to be a soaring success.

Aimed at local air-taxi outfits, which have sprung up around...