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Auster III
The Auster II was a re-engined aircraft with an American 130 hp (97 kW) Lycoming O-290 engine. Due to the shortage of American engines that version was not built but led to the two-seat, composite wood and metal structure, fabric covered, Auster III (Model E), which was the same as the Auster I but had a 130 hp (97 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major engine.
Auster Beagle built over 1600 Mark (Mk) I-V's for the British Army, which used all but the Mk II in their Air Observation Post (AOP) squadrons. The Auster's main roles were artillery spotting, supply drops, liaison, casualty evacuation and photographic reconnaissance, for which it was well-suited; its short take-off and landing (STOL) abilities enabled it to operate from small landing fields.
Auster AOP Mk.3

In January 1945 the Dutch Auster squadron RAF became operational. It was equipped with 19 Auster III's which were mainly used for liaison purposes.
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.
Auster III VH-ALS / A11-55 (c/n 293)


In post-war years, Auster continued to operate with No 16 AOP Flight until 24 July 1959 when A11-41 and A11-53 were flown from Canberra to Tocumwal by Captain Doyle and Lieutenant 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.
A small number of these aircraft (23+) were used in Greece by 345, 346 and 347 Reconnaissance Flights from 1945 to 1948, before being replaced by the T-6 Harvard. They were also used as medical transport and liaison airplanes and at least one was used by the Anti-malarial Squadron. They were all withdrawn by 1953.
470 Mk.IIIs were built.
Auster AOP Mk III
Engine: 130-hp/97-kW de Havilland Gipsy Major I
Wingspan: 10.97 m (36 ft)
Length: 7.14 m (23ft 5in)
Height: 2.44 m (8ft).
Empty weight: 476 kg (1100lb)
Loaded weight: 771 kg (1,700lb).
Maximum speed: 209 km/h (113 kt)
Cruising speed: 174 km/h (94 kt)
Initial climb: 213 m (700 ft)/min
Ceiling: 15,000ft (4572 m)
Range: 402 km (217 nm)
Armament: None
Crew: 2
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