Thanks @Muhammad_Al-Rawi for that information - it is very helpful.
I managed to get the BN-220 connected to u-center - somehow the BN-220 was set to 115,200 baud. Once I connected at 115,200 I was then able to reset the BN-220 to the default settings and it now works hapily with u-center.
It is still very slow (by comparison) to get a 3D lock and to get enough satellites to get the HDOP down to 1.0.
For example, I just did a test outdoors with a clear viw of the sky, of my quad-copter that has a 25 x 25 mm M8N GPS unit and my Bixler plane that has the BN-220 unit.
The quad reported a 3D lock in less than 1 minute and reached a HDOP of 1.1 with 12 satellites within 5 minutes.
The Bixler took 2.5 minutes to report a 3D lock (4 sats) and then took 8 minutes to report a HDOP of 1.1 with just 9 satellites.
I agree that the BN-220 may be slower because of the smaller antenna (18mm vs 25mm), but I suspect that the little silver cell that looks like a battery may be the culprit. From what I have read, some GPS units use a rechargeable lithium cell (~3 volts) to backup the RAM that stores the satellite information to enable quicker starts at power-on. And some GPS units use a “super-capacitor” for the same purpose.
I suspect that the BN-220 uses a tiny “super-capacitor” and it only has enough capacity to save the satellite data for a few minutes. Does that sound plausable?
I am going to try your suggestion of a 40 mm x 40 mm ground plane to see if that helps.
I am also in direct contact with Beitan (the manufacturer) to see if they can help.