Mystery AC _ Taylorcraft Auster
Submitted by Justin Rowley via Mike Feeney.
Two Taylorcraft Austers, as they were advertised during the 1950s:
The J1/B Aiglet proved to be popular for aerial topdressing in New Zealand for several reasons. They were a USA design, but made in the UK under a US license.
US Dollars were hard to buy but UK Pounds were easier to locate. UK Austers were fairly cheap, could be used from paddocks and were simple to maintain.
Many were made in England for wide use during WWII. Many of them were fitted with 4 cylinder Lycoming engines, but all of the J1/B series used the DeHaviland Gipsy Major inline engine of 130 HP. For ag-flying work some were fitted with the 145 HP model.
Many were fitted with metal propellers, which enhanced thrust, compare with wooden props. I think the static thrust with 130 HP and a wooden prop was approximately 400 pounds.
With 130 BH, the J1/B carried a payload of about 5 to 6 cwt (560-672 pounds) depending on the density of the fertilizer; just a tad more than 50% of a Cessna 180’s maximum load.
The Auster was also quite a handy little spraying machine. I did only a few hundred hours in various Austers and hard-pressed to remember its speeds in MPH, which we used
back then. As a guess at maximum weight, I think the stall speed with zero-flap was about 45 MPH, the climb speed was maybe 70 MPH and the cruise around 90 MPH. I cannot recall that we bothered very much with speeds. We just flew them in the best way we could.
But, apart from the noise, the cold gales, hard seats and funny flaps, it was
actually rather likeable so.