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Auster AOP Mk9

The first operational Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Observation Post (AOP) Squadron, 651 (AOP) Sqn RAF formed up on 1 August 1941 at RAF Old Sarum and was initially equipped with the original Taylorcraft/Auster Mk1. These aircraft were soon replaced by the Auster Mk3 which possessed much improved rear vision and overall performance. In 1944-45 the Auster Mk3 was replaced by the Auster Mk4 and Mk5, both of which were fitted with the American Lycoming engine. After the war most AOP Squadrons were disbanded and those remaining were re-equipped with Auster Mk6 as the main AOP aircraft and the Auster Mk7 as the training equivalent.

The Auster Mk9 started to replace the Auster Mk6 in 1956 and continued in service for a further ten years during which time the AOP Squadrons had been absorbed into the Army Air Corps.

Auster AOP  Mk9 Specification
Engine:  Bombadier 208
Speed:  140kts (259kph) max, 90kts (167kph) cruise
Endurance:  Six hours - 28 gallon (128 litre) fuel tank
Maximum all up weight:  2350lbs (1066kg)
Display weight:      2242lbs (1017kg)
Dimensions:     Length 22ft (6.7m) Wing Span: 30ft (9.1m)
Capacity:  Pilot plus two
Auster Mk9 in Cyprus circa 1964

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