In 1951 John Britten and Desmond Norman designed and built and flew an ultra-light monoplane, their first aircraft, which made its first flight at Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on 16 May 1951. This machine crashed on an early flight, when the petrol supply to the 40 hp Aeronca JAP J-99 twin cylinder air-cooled engine faded out. Modifications were made to the tail unit by adding smll ancillary fins to improve the directional stability, inset ailerons were fitted, the JAP engine was replaced by a 55-hp Lycoming horizontally-opposed twin and the undercarriage was replaced with braced arrangement with rubber bungee springing. It was first flown in this form in May 1951 and was withdrawn from use in 1953. It was then on exhibition in the Solent Sky Museum, Southampton, England, on loan from Michael Short of Austin Texas, USA.
The general arrangement of the BN-1 is similar to that of the Comper Swift in particular G-ABUS, an aircraft that Desmond Norman was associated with along with fellow de Havilland Technical School apprentice, Tony Cole, that they jointly acquired in 1948 and restored to flying condition.
Engine: 1 × Lycoming flat-four, 55 hp (41 kW)
Propeller: two-bladed fixed-pitch
Length: 16 ft 7 in (5.06 m)
Wingspan: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
Height: 10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
Gross weight: 630 lb (286 kg)
Maximum speed: 84 mph (135 km/h)
Cruise speed: 75 mph (120 km/h)