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.
With an eye on the important Australasian market, Auster developed the design adding a 130hp Gypsy Major engine and larger tail. The J/1B Aiglet and J/1N Alpha (very similar, the Alpha lacking an oil cooler) resulted. Further developments included the J/1U Workmaster, with a Lycoming engine, a further enlarged tail and low pressure tyres, intended for agricultural work. Auster also developed what was to be known as the D.5, but was ultimately manufactured by Beagle, who acquired Auster in 1960, as the Beagle Husky.
With extensive service, Austers have a particularly colourful history, even post-war. In 1950, a J/1N Alpha was stolen by a 19 year old escaped convict, Brynley Fussell. Without having had a flying lesson, he successfully flew to France before damaging the propeller on landing. Returned to custody in the UK, he ultimately struck up a supportive friendship with the aircraft, G-AHHP’s, owner, and became a successful engineer and amateur aviator. In 1955 in Sydney Australia, an Auster J/4 Arrow took to the sky without a pilot. Fearing a crash into a densely populated area, The RAAF deployed 2 F-86 Sabres, a Wirraway and a Gloster Meteor in attempt to shoot it down, before it was successfully destroyed by a Hawker Sea Fury of the Royal Australian Navy.
Not strictly in scope of this kit are numerous other versions of the Auster, although with modification many should be possible. The distinctive Auster J/5 Autocar is covered in VFR Models kit 7202150.
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