Light support aircraft
© Richard Vernon
The Auster AOP Mk.V TJ600 of 659 Squadron at RAF Matlask, a Satellite airfield of Coltishall, 1945.
Taylorcraft Auster - Two-seat (side-by-side) lightplane, developed from Plus C and Plus D to meet Army requirements for an Air Observation Post (AOP).
In the USA in the late 1930s, the Taylorcraft company enjoyed considerable success with its Models B, C, and D lightplanes, which were built for private use. They were so successful that the designs were licensed for constuction in England by the British Taylorcraft Company.
Initial contracts placed 1941 for 101 Taylorcraft Auster Mk Is and subsequent contracts for later marks kept the type in production throughout the war, as below; Mks 7 to 9 appeared post-war. Used by at least 19 AOP squadrons, and other Army formations.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk I: Similar to Taylorcraft Plus D, with 90 hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor I. First flown early 1942 and entered service with No 651 Sqn, August 1952. Normally flown solo in service; 101 built.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk II: Two prototypes with 130 hp Lycoming O-290-3 engines; otherwise as Mk I.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk III: Improved AOP with 130 hp DH Gipsy Major I engine. Fitted with wing flaps. Deliveries began early 1943 and total of 470 built. Used initially by Nos 655, 656 and 657 AOP Squadrons.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk IV: Similar to Mk III but with 130 hp Lycoming O-290-3 engine, third seat in rear of cabin and enlarged window area. Entered service in 1944 and 254 built.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk V: Similar to Mk IV but fitted with blind-flying panel. Total of 788 built, of which two fitted with floats for evaluation at the MAEE. Production ended January 1946.
Taylorcraft Auster AOP Mk VI: Based on Mk V, but with 145 hp DH Gipsy Major VII, new undercarriage and auxiliary aerofoil flaps. Prototype flown on May 1, 1945; production and service use post-war.
In 1945 Auster Aircraft ltd was formed when the original Taylorcraft license expired. The company continued with development and production of the Auster.
|Wing span||10.98 m (36 ft 0 in)|
|Wing area||15.51 m2 (167 ft2)|
|Length||6.84 m (22 ft 5 in)|
|Lycoming O-290-3||130 hp (97kW)|
|Empty weight||499 kg (1,100 Ib)|
|Loaded weight||839 kg (1,850 Ib)|
|Maximum takeoff weight||903 kg (1,990 Ib)|
|Maximum speed at sea level||209 km/h (130 mph)|
|Cruising speed||177 km/h (110 mph)|
|Service ceiling||4,575 m (15,010 ft)|
|Range||483 km (300 mis)|
- "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
- "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/