PSA: Auster Mk. V - Really Cool Antique/Warbird Project FS

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Victor Bravo

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Posting this on behalf of the seller, because this airplane was once mine and I want to see it go to a good home. I'm not involved financially at all.

1947 Auster Mk. V J-1, being converted back to the wartime AOP V liaison/spotter version

Bob Frederick in the Phoenix area now has my beloved old Auster for sale. This is the post-war civilian "Autocrat" version, which I had begun to retrofit back to the (nearly identical) WW2 AOP version.

Dan Norton of Willcox AZ had bought it in England, imported this back to the US, and restored/recovered it. He got it airworthy, and I bought it, and flew it back to Los Angeles in 1992. The humorous story I wrote of this adventurous ferry flight was published by the Edwards AFB EAA chapter 1000 newsletter, and then subsequently published in US Aviator magazine.

I started the conversion back to the wartime version, using several NOS or refurb parts from England. I removed the Blackburn engine and found the closest thing to the WW2 engine (an O-290 GPU, which was essentially what Lycoming sold the British under lend-lease).

I sold it to a guy in Phoenix, who sat on it for 25+ years

He sold it to another guy in Phoenix who sat on it for 2 years.

That guy is now selling it. Cheap. It has everything but the logbooks, which may or may not be found (by the first Phoenix owner after me)

This has Stits covering (thru silver) which has been stored indoors other than my one-week ferry flight.

Call Bob Frederick at 623-535-7776, leave a message on the answering machine, and he will pick up the phone.

I believe that ten grand will buy this project. This is a 3-4 seat airplane with good performance, and it is a very heavy-duty "utility class" aircraft. 150-160HP will fit in the cowling and give you true STOL performance.

How many airplanes can you paint brown and green British WW2 camouflage on the top and bottom and be historically accurate?
 

TerryM76

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I swear that guy in Phoenix was not me!

This does sound like a rather cool project but I have more than I need right now and divorces are expensive.

O-290 GPU? One magneto or two?

I do know someone that could possibly be interested and I will pass this along.
 

Dana

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Assuming the Auster is a standard category airplane, how can you legally put a GPU engine on it?
 

Victor Bravo

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No, the Auster is not standard category. It is in England, and it could be here in the US (with five grand, a DAR, and a !(#* mountain of paper). But when I went to the FSDO with this in 1992, no experience working with the FAA, they said my life would be easier if it was E-Exhibition and I took it.

However, the engine used in the WW2 version of the Auster Mk. 5 was the "Lycoming O-290-3", which I understand was a lend-lease version of the GPU. I have never seen an actual O-290-3 - it may well have had dual mags.
 

Dana

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Lots of O-290-G conversions, like the one in my Starduster, used an O-290-D accessory case to mount dual mags.
 

TFF

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The G engines accessory case can hold the second mag. It had a cover over the hole, no drive gear installed. That is part of the conversion. Fuel pump mount not machined. I believe the GPU run of engines was in the mid to late 50s. A -3 is pre Lycoming letter model designation. Cool looking finned oil sump and cast valve covers. Case does not fully look like a later engine. It’s the one of first versions of the 290 and looks vintage. G engines had a big flange cast into the front of the case. Without cutting and grinding that off, you can’t mount a starter or alternator or airplane flywheel. The G engines were designated G1 and G4. I believe G1 had all 235 valve parts along with 235 crank that was not nitrided. G4 started using the airplane valves with the bigger stems.
 

Chilton

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The Auster has not been standard category in the UK for a while now, the last organisation to hold the type certificate surrendered it and since the CAA didnt want the support hassle themselves they transfered all of the aircraft to Permit to Fly, the equivalent of Experimental. Over here it does not make any difference how you got to the PtF, homebuilt, Vintage without support, warbird, the limitations and privileges are identical except warbirds have maintenance requirements if they are more sophisticated than the Auster/Chipmunk level.

Is this Auster V early enough to be an ex military mk V converted to civilian V J1 or was it a civilian build? The IV had a Blackburn Cirrus Minor, the Mk V was the saame airfrqme with the Lycoming O-290.
 

Victor Bravo

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Is this Auster V early enough to be an ex military mk V converted to civilian V J1 or was it a civilian build? The IV had a Blackburn Cirrus Minor, the Mk V was the saame airfrqme with the Lycoming O-290.
It's been almost 30 years, but the documentation on this one says it was built in 1947 if I recall, which I suspect would make it a "factory Autocrat", as opposed to an "AOP converted to Autocrat".

It is of course very possible that the factory took a wartime AOP V and took it all apart, then called it a "new" airplane with a new data plate in 1947. I have no way of knowing if they did that, and it is certainly possible.... But if it was originally built as a 1944-45 AOP V, with the 125HP Lycoming engine, why would the factory or anyone else remove a decent 125HP engine, do all of the work to remove sheet metal, the rear canopy, the cowlings, etc. and then put a rather marginal 100HP engine on it?

When I had the aircraft (1992-93), it had the Blackburn engine on it, the narrow inline cowling, and the shorter civilian upper canopy. It had a castering tailwheel, not locking, not steerable. It also had the small rear seat for two children facing forward, not the AOP swiveling observer seat. So if it had been a military aircraft at one time, there was no visible trace of it when I was part of its life.

TerryM76, if you buy this Auster and get it back in the air...
I will forever be in your debt.
I will buy you a bullet proof vest to keep you alive in your own home.
I will get your wife a gift card to Gucci's in Beverly Hills and drive her there personally, complete with several really juicy 'old Hollywood' stories that would make a sailor blush.
I will buy you the first tank of gas for the Auster.
 

Chilton

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The first few J series Austers were converted military airframes, some which never made it to the operating units! They were marketed as Mk V If left lycoming, Mk VD if cinverted to Gipsy power and Mk V J1 if converted to the Cirrus. There is an Air Britain publication which lists all of the airframes and gives the production details. As my J1N was built in 1946 and postdates the military frame conversions a 1947 aircraft will have been built for civil use.

As for the individualaircraft seating and glazing I don't think Auster built any 2 airframes the same, and then add 75 years of owner options.....
 

Victor Bravo

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Yes, he still has the O-290G that I had traded the Blackburn for. But this is an engine that absolutely needs to be disassembled and overhauled. It had dirt in the cylinder fins, looking exactly like an engine removed form an airplane that dead-sticked into a farm field.
 

Glenn Farrant

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I've noticed the Auster is back up on Barnstormers again. I'm on the lookout for a project and as an avid Biggles reader as a kid, and a current Taylorcraft owner, I'm intrigued.

Apart from the likely resulting divorce, the thing that gives me pause is a lack of understanding how Experimental Exhibition works especially with regard to rebuilding an aircraft like this. I understand EAB, so I guess I have a few questions.

According to VB, it sounds like the aircraft was/is in the process of conversion to an AOP V replica. That includes installation of the O-290 once rebuilt.

So a few questions (I've done a bit of a search, but can't really find direct answers):
  • How would the modifications have to be documented and approved? Would they have to be covered by 337s and would they all have to be engineered and/or approved by the local FSDO? OR, being Experimental Exhibition, can modifications be done more similarly to an EAB aircraft?
  • Does all of the work need to be done by an A&P or under the supervision of an A&P? OR can unsupervised amateurs do the work?
  • What is the standard that modifications would be judged by? I assume there is no Type Certificate. How would the FAA or an inspecting IA know if something was a modification or not?
  • Is there some type of process for getting an airworthiness certificate similar to EAB? E.g. getting an inspection by a DAR?
  • Would the annual require an IA, or would it just need to be done by an A&P (like an EAB)?
I guess, if EE gives flexibility more akin to EAB, then it would be viable. But if EE is really just a more restricted version of Certified (especially with regards to approvals around the rebuild, modifications and maintenance) then an EAB project is going to be more viable.

Cheers

Glenn
 

Chilton

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Glenn,

I think any mods back towards the AOP version would be covered by drawings held at the leicester records office, and can be supported by the LAA type data sheets.

If you go for this project you really need to join the International Auster Club About the International Auster Club - The International Auster Club as there will always be someone who knows the answer to any technical questions, and links to the drawing sources.

Great fun aircraft, but if you have a Taylorcraft you already know that!
 

Twodeaddogs

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All Austers are built like a brick outdoor convenience. All Austers are revered in the UK and Australia. Some people who live in other countries even like them. Personally,Id have a Jodel or an Aeronca first but they have their fans and they are tough, grass strip aircraft.
 

Dan Thomas

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All Austers are built like a brick outdoor convenience. All Austers are revered in the UK and Australia. Some people who live in other countries even like them. Personally,Id have a Jodel or an Aeronca first but they have their fans and they are tough, grass strip aircraft.
I had an Auster VI and a Jodel. Prefer the Auster. There's something charming about an inline engine that sounds and vibrates like a tractor, has its unmuffled exhaust outlet right under the cabin belly, and has the handling qualities of a dump truck. Heavy ailerons, primarily. Those Junkers flaps were awesome. Lost some hearing in that airplane in pre-headset days. Landing and taking off in 250 feet was fun, too.
 
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