Auster J5B


The Aircraft On Display

This aircraft, manufacturer's construction number 2894 and of registration number VH-KAV, had several private owners. In 1974 it struck a tree and was severely damaged. It was repaired, only to be written off in a crash in September 1975 in what was described as a "heavy landing after glider launch" (See "References").

The plane was purchased by the Museum in November 1978 and underwent a full restoration before being put on display in November 1985.

Type / History

Type High wing Monoplane
Manufacturer Auster Aircraft Co
Maiden flight Designed in 1939
Primary users Military and civil roles

The Auster Mark IV and V, which were equipped with the Lycoming 0-290-3/1 Horizontally Opposed four-cylinder engine, were issued to several Royal Air Force (RAF) (Air Observation Post)(AOP) Squadrons in Europe including No. 663 in Italy in 1944, manned by Polish personnel. No. 664, 665, and 666 (AOP) Squadrons of the RAF, also with Auster IV and V, were formed in the UK in late 1944 and early 1945. These were manned exclusively by Canadian personnel of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The three squadrons deployed from RAF Andover, England, to the Netherlands and later to occupied Germany.

The Auster's cabin allows for excellent views from all directions and this characteristic combined with its ability to fly at slow speeds, as well as take-off and land on small runways or roads made it an ideal reconnaissance aircraft. The air observation duties, insurgency and casualty evacuation roles performed by Austers and similar light aircraft were generally taken over by light helicopters from the mid 1960s.
Austers were also popular with private and club owners and, despite being designed in 1939, are similar in performance to the Cessna 152. Mining magnate Len Hancock and his first wife used to fly this model of aircraft in the North West of WA.

General Characteristics

General Characteristics

Length: 24 ft (7.24m)
Height: 6.5 ft (1.98m)
Wingspan 36 ft (10.9 m)
Powerplant: 130hp Gipsy Major Engine
Weight: empty 1200lb (545kg), max loaded 1985lb (900kg)


Maximum speed: 125 mph (200km/h)
Service ceiling: 15000 ft (4515 m)