Auster C.4 Antarctic (T.7) WE600/7602M
Photographed at the RAF Museum, Cosford, on 23 May 2011.
Built by Auster Aircraft Co. at Rearsby, Leics., as a T.7, which was the 2-seat dual control variant of the Auster A.O.P.6, 77 being built for the RAF.
Delivered on 25 May 1951 to No.20 Maintenance Unit, RAF Aston Down, Glos (Aircraft Storage Unit), in glossy silver overall colour scheme with training yellow fuselage and wing bands, matt black anti-glare top panel and black lettering.
Between 19-21 Jul 51, displayed at the Daily Express 50 Years of Flying Exhibition at RAF
On 1 August 1951 to No.663 Air Observation Post (A.O.P.) Squadron at RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire, joining the Auster A.O.P.6 aircraft operated by the Squadron, which was a Territorial Army Unit. Each weekend Royal Artillery personnel came to train, using the aircraft to ‘spot’ for their artillery. Since the army lacked aircraft maintenance personnel, RAF personnel
undertook that work.
To No.1964 AOP Flight, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, based at Yeadon, Yorkshire – part of No 664 Squadron.
8 September 1954 To Auster Aircraft Co. for repair after accident, repair completed by 23 December 1954. Then to No.9 MU, RAF Cosford, Salop (Aircraft Storage Unit) and on 8 July 1955 to Auster Aircraft Co. again, this time for modifications and conversion to a C.4 (Auster
Antarctic) for use in Dr., later Sir, Vivian Fuch’s 1956 Joint Commonwealth U.K/N.Z./Australian/South African) Trans-Antarctic
Expedition. One of two T.7 aircraft used for reconnaissance by the expedition. Operated
from Scott Base by Sir Edmund Hilary’s Ross Sea Party. Painted overall bright orange for high visibility. The aircraft structure was lightened
due to the need to fit floats and extensive radio equipment. An extra belly tank was fitted along with larger tail surfaces and SARAH air-sea rescue
November 1955 Sailed for the Shackleton base, Antarctic via Montevideo and the Falkland
Islands on the new Danish sealer M.V. Theron. The RAF supported the Austers with pilots and maintenance crew. February 1956 fitted with floats (which were interchangeable with skis) for ice
26 March 1958 to No.19 MU, RAF St Athan, ex-Antarctica. Withdrawn from use, then 10 June 1958 to store at No.19 MU, RAF St. Athan.
17 March 1959 Allocated instructional serial 7602M.
14 April 1959 to No 71 MU RAF Bicester and retained for exhibition purposes with the
RAF Exhibition Flight then based at Bicester.
About October 1964 To RAF Colerne, Wilts, and in 1968 repainted in trainer yellow, replacing the Antarctic orange colour scheme.
14 June 1968 Displayed at the RAF 50th Anniversary Royal Review at RAF Abingdon,
Oxon (I was there).
After storage at various RAF stations, and repainting and refurbishing, went in February 1989 to its present location.
Picture added on 25 July 2011 at 10:28