Air Enthusiast 2006-01
D.Willis - Military Auster A to Z /Production and industry/ (1)
Today Austers are cherished by appreciative owners all over the world. Wearing colours denoting service in the Far East, Europe and in the UK (left to right): AOP.9, Mk.III, Mk.V and Mk.I. Noteworthy are the different cowlings housing different powerplants.
Impressed Taylorcraft Plus Cs were upgraded following to C/2 standard, replacing the original Lycoming with the Cirrus Minor I. HH985, here in June 1942, was struck off charge on February 28, 1943.
Plus D T9120 was the first aircraft delivered to the British military from Taylorcraft Aeroplanes, being used in the original evaluation.
Taylorcraft Plus D G-AFZl was impressed soon after the outbreak of hostilities, becoming W5741.
"Остер" I на аэродроме
Auster Mk.I LB278. The 'stick' in front of the cockpit is the crude fuel level indicator, while visible under the horizontal tailplane is the aerodynamic trim vane.
The new engine for the Mk.II - MZ105 illustrated - required a shorter cowling design.
Like many British prototypes of the era, MZ105 had camouflage upper surfaces and yellow undersides. The lines on the underside of the fuselage are zips in the fabric that gave easy access to the internal structure of the aircraft.
MZ105 was one of two prototype Mk.IIs with a Lycoming O-293-3.
The prototype Auster Mk.III, October 1942, introduced the Gipsy Major I. LB319 lacked other features of the Mk.III, most notable of which was the extension of the glazing to the rear of the fuselage.
Visibility was vital to the AOP mission, and also the survival of the Auster itself. Production Mk.IIIs, such as MT407, had more extensive Perspex glazing at the rear of the cockpit. In addition a rear-view mirror was mounted above the cockpit cabin.
MT454 was the Mk.IV prototype. It was in this aircraft that A L Wykes was killed on May 15,1944.
Production Mk.IVs had a neater engine exhaust than used by the prototype. Another difference was that navigation lights were mounted in fairings on the wingtips.
AOP.IV MS951 carrying a red cross and white undersides to denote its use in the casualty evacuation role with the Netheravon Station Flight in 1947.
The rear visibility of the Auster Mk.IV was further improved by redesigning the rear and upper Perspex units.
Auster Mk.IV MS958 was one of a batch of 254 built as such between March and May 1944. It served with 653 Squadron, surviving the war to be sold in March 1947 as G-ALYA.
The Auster Mk.V was externally identical to the Mk.IV. It was the most widely produced version and the final type to enter service before World War Two ended.
Mk.V TJ537, in December 1945, served throughout its life with the RAE at Farnborough. Can readers explain the rig it is mounted on?
Post-war many Austers abandoned the camouflage scheme and were painted silver overall. AOP.V TJ524 has a glider tug attachment under the tail.
AOP.V TJ651 served with 791 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm at Sembawang in Singapore in 1946. It later went to the Airwork unit.
Between January 1950 and July 1952, AOP.5 TJ688 was flown by 1832 Squadron from St Merryn.
It was useful to the Army that the Auster could be easily dismantled and loaded onto a 3-ton truck. Mk.V TJ465 plus another, served with the Austria Communications Flight.
Three Auster Mk. Vs were converted to operate from floats. TJ207, the first, under test at Beaumaris, Anglesey, in 1944.
Today Austers are cherished by appreciative owners all over the world. Wearing colours denoting service in the Far East, Europe and in the UK (left to right): AOP.9, Mk.III, Mk.V and Mk.I. Noteworthy are the different cowlings housing different powerplants.
The AOP.VI prototype was TJ707, here in August 1945. The variant mated the more powerful Gipsy Major VII powerplant to the Auster Mk. V's airframe with separate aerofoil flaps.
TJ707 was converted from a Mk.V and tested at Boscombe Down in August 1945.
AOP.6 TW562 served with 43 OTU at Andover from new in 1946 until February 1949.
AOP.Mk.6 VF618 was equipped with a modified undercarriage arrangement and skis. What can readers tell us of its ship-borne use?
Floatplane Mk.6 VF517 served only with the MAEE. It was wrecked at Felixstowe on August 7, 1947.
The sole Model H training glider.