Air Enthusiast 2006-03
D.Willis - Military Auster A to Z /Production and industry/ (2)
As the T.Mk.7 was identical to the AOP.6, except for the provision for dual controls, it could be used operationally. WE591 in company with US Army Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs and Bell OH-13 Sioux.
The prototype Auster AOP.9 still flies, as a civil-operated 'warbird' registered as G-BKVK and based in Devon.
Given the role the Auster played in Army aviation, it is appropriate that XR244, following use by the Advanced Fixed Wing Flight, joined the Army Air Corps Historic Aircraft Flight.
AOP.9 XR241 entered the 1969 England to Australia air race in a striking yellow colour scheme.
Believed to be the prototype A0P.9, prior to the adoption on the tail fillet and camouflage.
WZ666, WZ667 and WZ668 were the first AOP.9s delivered to the RAF, flying to St Athan from Rearsby (where they are illustrated) on February 11, 1955.
The Mk.6 (VF484, right) and Mk.9 (WZ679, left) were the main variants transferred from the RAF to the AAC when it took over responsibility for the light aircraft fleet.
Austers landed on aircraft carriers several times, Mk.9s being the most frequent - XK412 landed on HMS 'Albion' sometime in 1960.
In its early form the Beagle E3 XP254 had spats and a large spinner, optimistic ‘Army' titles and the military serial it inherited from its place in the AOP.9 production line.
By the time the Beagle E3 had gained its civil registration G-ASCC the enlarged spinner had been discarded. The aircraft survived to be sold privately, and still occasionally appears at air events in the UK.
Auster AOP.Mk.9 WZ672 was retained by Auster as a test-bed before going to the Aero Flight at RAE Bedford.
One of the more unusual uses of the AOP.9 was spraying a mixture of DDT and paraffin over Christinas Island to suppress insects. WZ698 was one of at least four modified for the role.
AOP.9 WZ730 of 656 Squadron was exhibited at the Seletar Battle of Britain display in September 1958. The squadron was active throughout the State of Emergency in Malaya combating communist terrorists.
Designed as a casualty evacuation aircraft for the Army, the Auster B4 did not enter production.
The sole Auster B4 XA177 undertaking a low-level supply drop at Rearsby. The need to improve directional stability was met by adding a ventral tail and enlarging the rudder.
MA-4, получивший регистрацию VF 665, был переделан из прототипа самолета Auster T.Mk 7. Первый полет машина выполнила в 1958 году, но оказалась очень сложной в пилотировании.
Under Ministry contract, Marshall of Cambridge (Engineering) modified an Auster T Mk 7 to have a suction-type BLC system for high lift, developed at Cambridge University. Its early form is shown, without the built-up rear fuselage, but with smaller spinner, unfaired and unspatted undercarriage and long exhaust pipe.
Little has been released concerning the flight test programme of the Marshall MA.4. It was destroyed in a fatal crash on March 8, 1966.
On a pre-delivery test flight, WE613 was one of the 77 T.7s delivered to the RAF (including two Model C4s).
Auster T.7 WE613 was one of 77 two-seat dual control trainer variants of the AOP6 supplied to the RAF.
The Antarctic T.Mk.7(Mod)s differed externally from the standard aircraft by having a universal undercarriage for wheels, skis or floats, and a radome for direction-finding equipment above the cabin. (WE563 illustrated, later became NZ1707 of the RNZAF).
The majority of the Mk.6s with the regular AOP flights and squadrons carried no code markings, but examples used for communications did. VF620 has a message hook stowed under the rear fuselage. (Or perhaps glider hook? - ed)
VF661 was based at Aldergrove in Northern Ireland and used on anti-terrorist patrols. It was equipped with the modified exhaust system fitted to some Mk.6 and most T.7s.
Alongside the T.7 trainers, AOP.6s (including VF661) were used by 227 (Air Observation Post) Conversion Unit, the successor to 227 OCU, to train future AOP pilots. Later, it served in Northern Ireland.
VX127 was one of two modified Auster AOP.Mk.6s used to support the 1949 British-Scandinavian Antarctic Expedition.
The Auster S was offered as a replacement for the AOP.6, although it is best thought of as a link between the variant and the Mk.9. The obvious difference from the Mk.6 was the Bombardier 702 engine.
The prototype Auster T.7 VF665 on display at the SBAC airshow at Farnborough in 1948. It was later drastically modified as the Marshall MA.4.
The prototype Auster T.7 VF665 was used as a trials aircraft for most of its existence, including assessing the Bonmartini undercarriage.