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Auster AOP.6
Auster AOP.6 operational with 663 (AOP) Squadron in 1954
Role observation aircraft
Manufacturer Auster Aircraft Limited
Introduction 1945
Primary users Royal Air Force
Belgian Air Force
Number built approx 400
Developed from Taylorcraft Auster
Variants Beagle A.61 Terrier
Auster Tugmaster

The Auster AOP.6 was a British military air observation aircraft produced by Auster Aircraft Limited to replace the numerous wartime Taylorcraft Auster aircraft then in-service.


The Auster AOP.6 (Auster Model K) was designed as a successor to the Taylorcraft Auster V, it had a strengthened fuselage, increased all-up weight and a 145 hp (108 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major 7 engine. It had a different appearance to the wartime Austers due to the lengthened landing gear struts (due to the larger propeller), and external non-retractable aerofoil flaps.

Auster Antarctic WE600 used by the British Antarctic Survey

An initial production run of 296 were completed for the Royal Air Force in 1949. A second batch was produced from 1952 with a total delivered of around 400. Some aircraft ordered by the Royal Air Force aircraft were diverted to the Belgian Air Force (22) and the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (2). New aircraft were delivered to Royal Canadian Air Force, South African Air Force, and the Arab Legion Air Force (Jordan).

A dual-control training version of the AOP.6 was produced, 77 serving as the Auster T.7 (Auster Model Q). In 1955 two T.7 aircraft were modified for use on the 1956 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, being designated Auster Antarctic (Auster Model C4). The aircraft had extra radio equipment, larger tail surfaces, the ability to be fitted with floats or skis as required and a bright orange finish to aid visibility.

The aircraft was gradually replaced with the Auster AOP.9 from 1955 and surplus aircraft were converted to civilian use, first as the Auster 6A and later as the Beagle A.61 Terrier.


  • Auster AOP.6 - main production version, over 400 built.
  • Auster 6A Tugmaster - former military aircraft converted for civil use
  • Auster T.7 - dual-control training version of the AOP.6, 77 built.
  • Auster T.7 Antarctic - modified aircraft for use in the Antarctic, two conversions.
  • Auster AOP.8 - proposed development, not built.[1]
  • Auster T.10 - AOP.6s converted to T7 standard, 10 conversions.
  • Beagle A.61 Terrier - former military aircraft converted for civil use
  • Auster S - An AOP aircraft based on the Auster 6, with enlarged tail. Prototype only.
  • Marshalls MA.4 - An Auster T7 modified by Marshalls of Cambridge with a new wing and larger tailplane. Perforated holes in the wing, ailerons and flaps were connected to a suction pump driven by an auxiliary gas turbine engine in the fuselage. The aircraft was used for research into boundary layer control. Serial VF665, it lost control and crashed on 8 March 1966 in Suffolk killing both crew.


Military operators


Belgian Air Force Auster AOP.6 exhibited in the Brussels Museum in April 2000

 Hong Kong
 Jordan (Transjordania)

One of the two T.7C Antarctic aircraft with skis on display at the RNZAF Museum, Wigram, near Christchurch in March 1992

 New Zealand
 South Africa
 United Kingdom

Preserved Auster AOP.6 at the Yorkshire Air Museum

Specifications (AOP.6)

Data from Green:[2]

Auster AOP.6

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft (10.97 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 4½ in (2.55 m)
  • Wing area: 184 ft² (17.09 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,413 lb (641 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,160 lb (980 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy Major 7 inline piston, 145 hp (108 kw)


  • Maximum speed: 124 mph (200 km/h)
  • Range: 315 miles (507 km)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,265 m)
  • Rate of climb: 810 ft per minute (4 m/s)

See also




  • Green, William (1964). Macdonald Aircraft Handbook. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd.. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. 
  • Jackson, A.J. (1974). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10006-9. 
  • Halley, J.J., The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918-1988, Air-Britain, Tonbridge, ISBN 0-85130-164-9.

External links

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