Britten Aviation Technical Services
Aircraft Designs (Bembridge) Ltd.
Sheriff Aerospace


In February, 1976, F. R. John Britten, one of the founders of Britten-Norman, resigned from the board of the Fairey Company, who had acquired company in 1972, forming Britten Aviation Technical Services. He developed the all metal Sheriff, a low-wing cantilever monoplane with twin tails but plans to bring the aircraft to market were halted in 1977 upon Britten's death.

Aircraft Designs (Bembridge) Ltd. (ADB) was formed at Bembridge Fort, near Sandown, Isle of Wight, in 1978 to continue development of the Britten Sheriff. Parent company of the Sheriff enterprise was the family concern of Air Bembridge (incorporated on 9 July 1977) which, with Crop Culture (Micronair), owned half of ADB. Chairman was John Britten’s brother Robin Colville Britten (b. 8 May 1932–d. 20 December 1988 in the Isle of Wight), and other directors included Jim McMahon and Frank Mann, fellow founder directors of Britten-Norman. The company assembled an experienced team to lead the design of the Sheriff: Ken Mills, managing director of the Sheriff project, had joined Avro in 1938 on the production side. After the war he was with Saunders-Roe and Vickers, where he became chief production engineer. John Allan, chief designer of ADB, was Handley Page chief designer and original Britten-Norman chief designer. Technical director was Denis Berryman, the initial designer of the Sheriff along with John Britten and former chief project engineer of Britten-Norman, where he was responsible for Islander development and Trislander design. Maurice Brennan, technical director of ADB, was Saunders-Roe's chief designer, Vickers' assistant chief engineer, Folland's chief engineer, Avro's chief engineer and Hawker Siddeley's director of special projects. Ron Dack was chief stressman at F. G. Miles, chief engineer of Miles Aviation and chief engineer of Britten-Norman. James Morton, John Britten's nephew, was general manager and head of technical publications, with Nick Sibley as aerodynamics and structures engineer.

Aircraft Designs expanded to become a consultant in all aspects of light aviation, and a separate company, Sheriff Aerospace, wholly owned by Air Bembridge, commissioned ADB to build the Sheriff prototype at Sandown Airport. It was not intended that Sheriff Aerospace build the aircraft, rather it would be licenced to a larger organisation. In view of Romania's connection with the Islander, discussions were held with CNIAR in Romania. By 1982, orders for 10 aircraft had been received, but eventually funding ran out and the Receivers were appointed in January 1984. The project was cancelled with the aircraft being some 90% completed, the prototype being donated to the East Midlands Air Park in 1986.

Company References
  1. Wessex Aviation Industry, Mike Phipp (Amberley Publishing, 2009)
  2. Janes All The Worlds Aircraft, 1977-78
  3. Janes All The Worlds Aircraft, 1979-80
  4. Janes All The Worlds Aircraft, 1982-83
  5. Flight International, 16 February 1980
  6. Flight International, 26 March 1983

Project Data top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   SA-1  Sheriff    1977    Pro(n)  1  2/4S, 2E light aircraft  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Project References
  1. Wessex Aviation Industry, Mike Phipp (Amberley Publishing, 2009)
  2. Air International October 1977
  3. Air International October 1978
  4. Air International February 1980
  5. Air Pictorial July 1977
  6. Aviation News 7/6
  7. Flight International, 22 May 1977
  8. Flight International, 16 February 1980
  9. Flight International, 5 April 1980

Production Data

One aircraft only, G-FRJB, c/n 0001, some 90% completed and never flew.

   Total Britten Production     1   

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