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Category: Air support/WW2/Allied

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(Taylorcraft) Auster AOP

AOP stood for Air Observation Post

These aircraft operated with wheel, ski, or float undercarriage.

Although the second A series numbers tentatively commenced in 1935, the prefix A11 of the first A series remained in use until Southampton A11-2 was withdrawn from service in 1939. Eventually, in 1944, A11 was allocated to the British Taylorcraft Auster, Air Observation Post (AOP), series of aircraft. These aircraft originated from the American Taylorcraft sports-plane of 1938, which was built in England under licence. In 1946 the British firm changed its name to Auster Aircraft Ltd., and all English models consequently became known as Auster AOP aircraft.

The RAAF Auster AOP Mk IIIs, of which A11-1 was originally a Mk II, were allotted to Nos 16 and 17 AOP Flights, and the official history "Air War Against Japan" describes these aircraft in operations. Somewhat surprisingly, the volume also pictures A11-5 with aggressive "sharks teeth" markings.

In post war years, Auster continued to operate with No16 AOP Flight until 24 July 1959 when A11-41 and A11-53 were flown from Canberra to Tocumwal by Capt Doyle and Lt Constable, the latter being the last Auster trained pilot before the arrival of the Cessna 180As. In all 56 Mk III and two Mk V Austers appeared on the RAAF register.

In addition, two Auster Mk 6 aircraft A11-200 and A11-201, accompanied the 1953/54 Antarctic Expedition, and Sqn Ldr Leckie again used A11-201 on the 1955/56 voyage. Also, Auster J-5G Autocar aircraft of the Royal Australian Navy carried the RAAF prefix A11 and were numbered from A11-300.

(Auster AOP Mk III)

DESCRIPTION: Two seat, composite wood and metal structure, fabric covered.

POWER PLANT: One 130 hp DH Gypsy Major 1.

DIMENSIONS: Span, 36 ft; length, 23ft 5ins; height, 8ft.

WEIGHTS: Empty, 1100lb; loaded, 1,700lb.

PERFORMANCE: Max speed, 130 mph; cruising speed,108 mph; initial climb, 950 ft/min; ceiling, 15,000ft; range, 250 miles.

ARMAMENT: None carried

details from RAAF Museum


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces