British two-seat air observation and reconnaissance prototype monoplane
Archive Photos 1
Auster A.2/45, card 7 of 25, from the 1956 “Aeroplanes” series by Barbers Teas, UK (Image via the Skytamer Archive) 1
Auster Aircraft, Ltd., is the successor to Taylorcraft Aeroplanes (England) Ltd., which was formed in 1939 to manufacture cabin monoplane under license from the Taylorcraft Aircraft Corporation of America. The Company assumed its present title on March 7, 1946, and no longer has any connection with the American firm.
The British Taylorcraft was produced in a number of different forms for the RAF and the Army. The Auster I, (Blackburn Cirrus Minor engine), the Auster 3 (D.H. Gypsy Major engine) and the Auster 4 and 5 (130 hp Lycoming engine) were all used on active service. Throughout World War II development of the design continued and although the same basic welded steel-tube structure remained, considerable strengthening was achieved and the performance was improved. In the later models trailing-edge flaps were incorporated. During World War II, the company built 1,604 Austers for the RAF and the Army Air Corps — 100 Mk. 1s; 2 Mk. 2s; 467 Mk. 3s; 225 Mk. 4s and 708 Mk. 5s. In addition to 6 Model H gliders were built.
A civilian version of the Mk. 5 has been produced and is known as the Auster 5 J/1 Autocrat. It is basically the same as a military /Mk. 5, but has upholstered accommodation and other civilian refinements.
The two-seat Arrow followed the Autocrat into production and subsequently several versions of the basic two and three-seat airframes have appeared. These include the J/3 and the J/3A two-seaters with the 65 hp Continental C65 engines; the J/4 and J/5 with Blackburn Cirrus and D.H. Gypsy Major engines respectively; the J/6, a three-seater similar to the Autocrat, but with the 145 hp D.H. Gypsy Major 10 engine. A J/7 two-seater with the 100 hp Blackburn Cirrus-Minor engine was projected. The four-seat Avis made its appearance in 1947 is now available for production. In the military field, the basic series of Auster air-observable posts has been continued with the A.O.P. Mk. 6, T.Mk. 7 and A.O.P. Mk. 8 while a completely new aeroplane to Specification A.2/45 has been built and flown.
The company is now working on the development of a twin-engine aeroplane of which no details were available for publication at the time of the writing.
The Auster A.2/45 Overview 2
This airplane was designed to meet the needs of the British army for an air observation post with a more comprehensive range of equipment and that carried by the standard cluster A.O.P. series. The prototype made its first flight in the summer of 1948, and a second prototype has since been completed.
Specifications and Performance Data ²