Auster AOP.9


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Auster AOP.9

The Auster AOP.3 was the first in a series of air observation posts designed by Auster Aircraft Ltd. It saw wartime service from 1943 and evolved into the AOP.6, of which 296 examples were built for the RAF and the Belgian Air Force, together with 36 of a slightly modified version for the RCAF. The AOP.7 was a two-seat dual-control trainer version, while the AOP.8 was intended to combine the features of both Mk.6 and Mk.7, but was not furthered. Last in the series was the AOP.9, a tough and versatile monoplane which first flew on 19 March 1954 and incorporated many lessons learned during the Korean War, in which the AOP.6 was used extensively by the British Army for artillery spotting and other duties. The first AOP.9s were issued to RAF units at the beginning of 1954, and a second order followed in 1959. Austers of various marks were also used by Iraq, Jordan, Rhodesia and South Africa.

Robert Jackson "The Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 2004

 ENGINE1 x 180hp Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier 203 4-cylinder in-line engine
  Take-off weight966 kg2130 lb
  Wingspan11.10 m36 ft 5 in
  Length7.21 m24 ft 8 in
  Height2.56 m8 ft 5 in
  Max. speed204 km/h127 mph
  Ceiling5640 m18500 ft
  Range395 km245 miles

Jack Vevers, e-mail, 24.11.2015 15:08

G'day Simon Morrison,
I just thought you might be interested to know that G-AVYU (VH BGL) WJ 401 AOP6 is still alive and well. I have the privilege to fly her nearly every week down here in Oz.


Herb Brayton, e-mail, 12.08.2015 09:14

Ron Rankin just sold the AOP 9 to myself and it is located in Richland WA and planning on a restoration.


Rowley Hillier, e-mail, 05.02.2015 16:25

The Auster was used in Korea the Liason flight was 1913liason flt RAF


Redherringz, e-mail, 08.02.2014 17:51

I was fortunate enough to meet Hugh Orr who was sent for training on 2lb Anti Tank Guns at the beginning of WW2.
He was very lucky in that he could fly and was whisked away to an Auster AOP squadron. The 2lb Anti Tank gunners were nearly all killed. I know he saw many actions, one being a German Armoured breakthrough where he called down Artillery fire on their formations. He told of the Auster being very high and huge artillery shells reaching apogee along side the little Auster, rotating on their axis just before they continued their ballistic trajectory earthwards.
On the lighter side based in France they had the dope licked
off the aircrafts canvas, by a herd of cows!


george woolley, e-mail, 15.01.2014 22:36

I was a troop sigs nco and a pilot flew onto our gun position on sennerlager and asked me to calabrate his set then he said have you ever been in one of these I no sir he said get in I said no thanks he said that was a order BDR get in .I must admit it was fantastic Brig Joe Sinclair


david tweedale, e-mail, 09.06.2013 17:14

My father served N.Africa between Algiers and Tunis 44-45 I think. A Lancashire fusiller para in signals attached to Monty's 8th. His role to transport a dismantled Auster (probably 6 by the date) on a Bedford truck to various locations where it was put together and flown to pinpoint the hun for shelling. Think dad spent too much time looking after hens that he kept in a tea chest in back of the bedford. When he had enough eggs a cake would be made for the lads. Not sure if he ever flew but as a 'para' he'd done a few drops from various aircraft. I still have his PII compass in mint cond. Were these fitted in the Auster? I know they're standard in the Spitfire and Hurricane. Cheers David


Tony Maxwell, e-mail, 03.05.2013 13:39

I flew a few times in Army AOP 7s and 9s from Idris, Libya in the 1960s, usually with no doors (very hot) and an army pilots anxious to practice their fieldcraft (using the dead ground and all that). Renewed acquaintance at RAF Odiham in the 70s. Some enterprising officer had acquired a couple of AOP Austers use as a station hacks. A parcel of Bombardier engines had come with them and it was rumoured that if anything needed engine work done, it would simply be changed. Happy days!


John Echlin, e-mail, 09.09.2012 19:35

I flew in AOPs 6 or 7?,one may have been a 9 in Hong Kong in the late 1960's as an Aux Police Air Observor with the H K Aux Air Force There were three servicable, said to have come from the Army last used in Malaya emergency? We dropped news papers on to school playgrounds in out lying villages in Sai Kung and the off shore islands.In emergency we were expected to report on ground disturbances back to Pol /Mil HQ to give Police air support. Fun days.
In 1970 one crashed into the harbour taking off from Kai Tak,a fatality ensued.


Adrian Balch, e-mail, 28.08.2020 John Echlin

Hi John,

I am an aviation author and gathering material for a modeller's reference book in the Warpaint series on military Austers. I note you were with the RHKAAF in the late '60s and early 70s and wonder if you took any good quality photos of the RHKAAF Austers there at the time that I could include in my book? Kind regards, Adrian Balch


Hugh Sanders, e-mail, 13.03.2012 07:24

stationed at RAF Manston 52 to 53 control tower op, we had a Auster and Tiger Moth at the flying club,great memories both great planes. flew only as a passanger


Simon Morrison, e-mail, 20.09.2011 14:16

As a 12 year old kid living at Larkhill 1954, I spent summer holidays roaming Salisbury Plain. Army Auster pilots frequently landed on the open grassland for a break. Rare to meet pilot's on a one to one basis and most were pleased to chat for a while about how things worked and with a bit of luck they'd take off with one delighted new observer on board! 30 minutes of airbourne bliss seeing artillery, tanks and troops and abandoned Spitfires used for target practice (sacriledge!). Splendour Stonehenge and of Salisbury Cathederal from above as we flew around them. By 1968 I was a BGA gliding instructor and flew the Auster JIN to receive my PPL licence No 84448. From 1969, towed RAFGSA gliders using ex-army AOP Auster G-AVYU at RAF Cosford. This aircraft is now in Australia registered as VH-BGL.


david frost, e-mail, 23.05.2011 17:43

I remember serving in korea 1952 with the air obsevation
unit as artilary signaler one plane crashed into the imjim river with the loss of the observer one came back with a bullit through the engine wonderfull little planes


Tom Ingle, e-mail, 23.10.2010 05:37

I learned to fly on Austers at Blackpool airport on Autocars and Autocrats. They had to be hand swung to start ie no electric start. I remember some had Cirrus Minor engines and others Gypsey Majors. They were quite noisy but I'm glad I learned on taildraggers as since I've never had a problem landing any othe aircraft. I flare them just like an Auster. My first instructor told me "If you don't get that stick all the way back (during the flare) it's going to go up again". This was the three point landing system of course - NOT a wheel landing. 35 years later I flew a Piper J-3 Cub taildragger with no problems at all thanks to my original Auster training.


James Mutch-Crockett, e-mail, 11.10.2010 00:01

In 1954 While I was studying for my second Mates certificate.
I met a fighter pilot from Britain's Number One fighter squadron and he took me up in the AOP 9 Auster (I think) And he taught me how to fly the plane. I was amazed! in fifteen minutes I was flying the plane. It was totally exhilarating. And we went flying every week end (Weather permitting). Now I was a flyer, I met other air force chaps, and listened to all the war time stories. One American pilot who flew reconnaissance missions over Germany
enthralled all of us with his tale about how a Gerry fighter had spotted him flying at tree-top level counting Gerry troops and tanks, and since the gerry pilot couldn't open fire on him, he flew round in circles over the enemy soldiers till the gerry fighter pilot had to give up because he was burning up all his fuel. The stories flowed in abundance when all the fliers met in the pub. It was a memorable event learning to fly the Auster. Question: How slow could the Auster fly comfortably at tree-top height?


Ron Rankin, e-mail, 02.01.2010 01:21

I now own an AOP-9.
This aircraft had spent the last 20 years in Sarasota, Florida. It is now in Yakima, Washington , USA, undergoing restoration.
Any information and parts would be appreciated!


Bernard Rumbold, e-mail, 28.03.2009 13:35

I remember flying in Auster 6s and 9s at the Army Air Corps base at Middle Wallop as an ATC cadet in the late 50s. It was fun to fly in as it had good forward and side visibility and was readily responsive to controls.


Ray Wheat, e-mail, 01.02.2009 02:31

there were 8 Austers in action in the Korean war . They flew hundreds of hours both in aop and light liason work.
I was an airframe mech servicing these aircraft in very difficult conditions for 18 months. Fort George Airstrip


Ray Wheat, e-mail, 01.02.2009 02:28

there were 8 Austers in action in the Korean war . They flew hundreds of hours both in aop and light liason work.
I was an airframe mech servicing these aircraft in very difficult conditions for 18 months


Joe Hely, e-mail, 02.06.2008 01:19

I comanded the army airfield at Uijongbu ('I' Corps) in 1951. We had the one Auster assigned to support the Commonwealth Division based here. I forget the name of the only pilot, but he was a very personable 'chap', and a pleasure to know and work with.

This comment is being made only to place into perspective the above comment that the Auster "was used extensively in Korea." Extensive in that the sole specimen was well utilized, but how extensive can a single unit sample be?


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