Although not manufactured in comparable quantities to the most successful American GA types, there continues to be great affection for the Auster series of aeroplanes to this day. As the most successful light civilian British post-war design, Austers were familiar training and club types from the late 1940s and continue to fly across the globe as cherished vintage aircraft.
Austers appear in innumerable guises, but all have in common a basic fuselage frame and wing (though varying in length). During WW2 the Auster was known as the Taylorcraft Auster, derived from the American Taylorcraft Model A, and was deployed as an Air Observation Post (AOP) used for artillery spotting. Post-war, it was decided to develop the AOP V as a civilian touring aircraft. The J/1 Autocrat with the 100hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor debuted, with G-AGTO first flying in 1945.
The J/1 body Auster was strictly a 3 seater, with 2 adults snugly accommodated up front and a 3rd seat, somewhat resembling a Victorian tub chair, mounted side on in the rear. With the Autocar Auster sought to make a true 4 seater. The Autocar was developed from the J/5 Adventurer, which was a development of the J/1 body featuring a sloping firewall, a consequently steeper windshield, and taller undercarriage. For the Autocar, a wooden structure was created around the rear to construct a wider and higher rear cross section, making the aircraft appear much bigger. It had a Gipsy Major 1 and wing fuel tanks. Later, the J/5B was developed into the J/5G, with the Cirrus Major 3, and the J/5P, with the Gipsy Major 10.
Autocars were produced by Auster at Rearsby. Auster also developed the D/6, which featured a Lycoming engine and a large vertical fin similar to the Auster D/5 (later Beagle Husky). Whilst Beagle produced the D/5 in quantity, production of the D/6 was cancelled and only 6 Auster built D/6s were made.
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