I don't have the Auster book (yet...) There was an article in Air Enthusiast number 68 written by Mario Canonga Lopes
He only lists 147 built by OGMA (c/n 1 to 147) The contract between OGMA and Auster was for a total of 170 aircraft (20 from Britain plus 150 sets of components to be delivered to OGMA) This contract was amended twice, but only for more British built aircraft (eight plus three)
I would be very interested to know, what c/n 148 to 150 were and also why the book lists even further c/ns, 151 - 154. Since Portuguese sources frequently continue to state 148 were built, I would especially like to know what was c/n 148?
Mike, Rod...With a history as complex as Auster production I guess there'll never be a satisfactory total. Re the photos at Lydda, Palestine it was pointed out on ABIX the Taylorcrafts in the photos were direct imports from the USA so only indirectly connected to the new book....I just love the way the Matsons got the whole air display and parade in one photo!..... Micky
I have issues with information on both the conversion of G-AVHT, where the book differs from the information on GINFO and images on A-Bpics, which suggest that the Lycoming was fitted by Mike Somerton-Rayner because he could not get approval for the Bombadier engine at the time. G-ASCC is supposed to have had the engine changed from an IO-470-D to an IO-470-M whilst at BEAGLE, although when I purchased it it had an IO-470-D, GINFO says it now has an IO-470-M so was the engine changed and so where, why and by whom ?
Firstly, in answer to Stig and the number of OGMA Austers built, every source I have looked at so far seems to have something different. But, seemingly CR-LPA has (had?) c/n 154. I hope that I might be able to get some greater clarity before we publish the second book giving detailed histories of each Auster. If anyone thinks they may be able to help with individual histories which might not be readily available, please contact be at firstname.lastname@example.org
Secondly, I am in discussion with Bill over G-AVHT and hopefully will get it right in the detailed histories. But there is, as always, conflicting information previously published and it is always difficult to separate fact from fiction. But - we are trying! Bill expresses some doubt that the Auster was ever sold to Beagle, given Somerton-Rayner's close contact with the aircraft at Middle Wallop. Also this throws doubt on the use of the designation Beagle E.3.
I do tend to agree that it is difficult to ascertain a true figure for Auster production - but not impossible, I would suggest. Separating fact from fiction, ie original source material against previously published information, has always been difficult but then isn't that the very essence of the kind of research that Air-Britain inspires towards. Denis Fox, in one of his magnificent editorials, once professed not to believe anything until he'd walked away from it. (That's my kind of man!) How long, for example, was Auster AOP.I LB310 quoted as "an extra aircraft built" and why shouldn't it be - Impressments Log says so. But eventually, I went back to the original card index held(then) at MoD/AHB, studied the card carefully, and realised that the wartime scribe wrote with such appalling hand-writing that his LB380 looked just like LB310.
The OGMA aspect is equally confusing, not helped by one certain author who admitted to me that his listing was based very much on guesswork, assuming that any gap must be a military example. The "mutter from the gutter" suggests that some other listings are based purely on guesswork. I'm fairly sure that back in the old BARG days, Paul Wigley was fairly close to OGMA and one original listing that I saw had been extracted from an OGMA Maintenance Manual 'purloined' at either Bissau or Luanda - memory fails me which.
To answer Stig's question of post-147 airframes, the Auster book has 148 - FAP3599, CR-AIV; 149 - CR-SAI; 150 - CR-SAJ; 151 - CR-LOT; 152 - CR-LOY; 153 - CR-LOZ and finally 154 - CR-LPA. Some years back, John Wegg sent me a number of nice shots of civilian OGMA D5s (CR-LFH, CR-LFJ, CR-LOT, CR-LOW, CR-LOY and CR-LOZ), all of which he believed were former FAP examples. I believe John photographed them just after the colonies achieved independence in 1975.
So, my apologies, I do not think for one minute that I have added a positive strand to this thread.
Micky, you raise an interesting question which gives rise to an equally interesting answer from Rod Simpson. The oft-quoted production of 149 Auster B3s is at odds with the similarly oft-quoted sequence of fuselage numbers, ie AUS100FF to AUS249FF - which equates, of course, to 150 airframes. When I was researching for my book on British military drones/targets ("Sitting Ducks & Peeping Toms") I continuously came across references to 150 Auster B3s built. So, where does the 149 come from? Did somebody make an elementary mathematical error of subtracting 100 from 249 and coming up with 149?
Similarly, Rod quotes 148 OGMA-built D4/D5s. I have for a long while held a fleeting interest in Austers but never really took time out to explore OGMA records which probably explains why my (unreliable) notes only reaches 147. (I am quite content to accept the figure of 148, as Rod suggests). However, what confuses me on this is that the Auster book lists a run from c/ns 001 to 154 suggesting 154 aircraft built. Conversely, when I spent some time on Sao Tome island back in 1968, I took the opportunity to study the two locally-based D5s CR-SAI and CR-SAJ and noted c/ns 141 and 142 although their airframe log-books (which showed first flight dates in late-1966) will have it in the reverse order. The Auster book lists these as I recorded them but also duplicates them as 149 and 150. That, I find puzzling, unless the two Sao-Tome examples were succeeded by two more with the same identities. I am unsure whether your question, therefore, has been fully answered.
Further to my point on oft-quoted facts regarding Austers, I seem to recall several years ago, the late Fred Kirby putting forward a convincing argument that the Taylorcraft Plus C G-AFVU (c/n 116) was not, as often recorded, lost in the Maylands fire of 7.2.40 and that the background to this centred around a possible insurance scam. The story was published in Air-Britain Archive at the time. Has this argument been discounted or has more emerged? Fred was never one to pursue lost causes.
Mike Thanks. With regard to G-AFVU, this crashed at Maylands on 26 August 1939 shortly after its delivery to Romford Flying Club. Whether it was still in the hangar at the time of the fire is something I need to see what Fred said in Archive.
As regards CR-SAI/SAJ, I agree that these are shown as both 141/149 and 142/150. The OGMA listing proved a nightmare since there has been so much conflicting information published in the past. Does anyone have any CR- official registers which might help resolve matters?
Two more books will be coming shortly - "Lancaster to York" and "Bomber Losses in the Middle East vol 2". They should be available to order on the website in the next few weeks, once we have confirmed details of delivery to the warehouse.
Still sorting out piles of old notes this afternoon for tomorrow's recycling collection and had the need to quickly look for an answer on an Auster AOP.V. The listing on page 173 shows TW362 as being civilianised in India as VT-CSI yet I have a note (copied from the MoD Accident Cards) that suggests TW362 was written-off on 17.1.47 whilst on the strength of the Lev Communications Flight. Ray Sturtivant (inFT&SUs1912) includes TW362 as being on the strength of AHQ Levant Communications Flight and I have a photograph somewhere of it with a large Union Jack flag on the fuselage to dissuade Army snipers from chalking up a 'blue-on-blue'. Bearing in mind the lack of knowledge of VT-CSI's after-life, do we have a source for the Indian details?.
Mike. The RAF Record card shows that TW362 was sold through DGD India 31.7.47 - most such disposals turned up on the Indian civil register. I don't have any entry for a write-off on 17.1.47 (on, indeed any Austers).
This is what I have on TW362. Would an Auster with this history have been likely to have got to the Levant? Seems a tad unlikely?
1725 Auster Mk.V TW362. To 222 MU 3.8.45; to Birkenhead 30.8.45 & shipped to Calcutta 12.9.45 on SS Terborch; arr Sandheads 6.10.45. Sold through DGD India 31.7.47. Regd VT-CSI 2.48 to Bihar Flying Club, Patna.
Could your one perhaps be TJ362? This was soc in the right area not long after the date you have.
1432 Auster Mk.V TJ362. To 222 MU 10.1.45; to Glasgow 18.1.45 & shipped to Brindisi 29.1.45 on SS Drammersfjord; arr 15.2.45. Soc 29.5.47.
Malcolm. On the basis of your information, yes, it could well be TJ362. Interestingly, I believe that TJ362 was struck off charge by Middle East Command on a date which I have long assumed to be a Census date. But then, I'm not so sure if it was a Census. There is a crash report in AHB but it refers to TW362, as does Ray Sturtivant's entry in the Units 'Bible'. Funnily enough, my photograph shows an Auster AOP.V with just '362' on the fuselage so maybe somebody assumed that it was a 'TW' example and not 'TJ'. Who knows? Tracking some of those RAF Austers east of Greenwich can be rather like being in a labyrinth without a thread! Wartime crash reports, especially involving Far East-located Austers are often the only original source available to determine unit allocation. Half the problem is that, I went through the Auster accident cards during the mid-1960s when they were located in central London - Jim Halley was going through them at the same time. In any case, my rough hand-written notes from 60 years ago have faded with time. Jim has probably got the answers. Thankfully, I'm well out of all that these days. Mike
The Auster deserves a book, but: The cover: Logo is not correct for Auster aircraft, the copied drawing is inaccurate as the factory roof was never painted like that & G-AGXN was not in those colours until 21st century. I was told firmly by one of our founder members that as A-B is a historical society we should get things correct. Gathering these articles together under one cover is good but each should have been checked. Military serials or military numbers! depending who edited that particular chapter. Countless aircraft are attributed names that Auster did not give them. The ‘overhanging rudder’ is properly called –aerodynamically/horn balanced. The production listing is well out of date & incorporates errors from other sites. The OGMA listing is nowhere near similar to that provided by OGMA themselves. Three Auster 6 did not crash at Lasham on the same day. The Agricola was not built by Beagle. I am extremely uncomfortable with photographs being credited to the Authors – when the origin is known – Despite the waiver in the preface. Members have previously complained about this occurring in AvWorld. I bought a book of post-its to highlight the errors but I should have bought a box of confetti! ian3430callier (underwhelmed)