Saturday 28 July 2012

Auster J4 Archer ZK-AXC

During World War Two Taylorcraft produced many military Auster 3, 4's and 5's.
For civilian purposes the military Auster 5 was referred to as the Model J from which came the very well known J1, J5's and their many sub variants, eg J5B, J5F, J5G etc.
One of the lesser known post war derivatives was the Auster J4. In 1946 Auster Aircraft (which had been renamed from Taylorcraft) build a lower powered aircraft similar to the pre war Taylorcraft Plus C. This became the Auster J-2 Arrow using either the Continental or Lycoming flat four engines from the States. But with import restriction in force post war, Auster fitted a 90hp Blackburn Cirrus Minor engine to one of these airframes and created the Auster J4 Archer.
One of these came to NZ in 1950.
It had been built as G-AIPK with c/n 2080 and registered with Auster Aircraft Ltd of Rearsby on 17-12-1946 and was delivered to the Cecil Kay Aircraft Ltd for onward sale to the Birmingham Flying Club at Elmdon 28-08-1947. Ownership transferred to the Warwickshire Aero Club Ltd, also at Elmdon, on 26-04-1948 and then to W S Shackleton Ltd of London on 14-08-1950 for sale to New Zealand.

ZK-AXC was registered on 22-09-1950 to W G Bradshaw of Chistchurch with its CofA being issued on 06-10-1950. Twenty years later (28-09-1970) ownership moved to Bruce Bonner of Christchurch.
This top view shows ZK-AXC in its original Cirrus Minor engine powered state. This was taken in   the back of the Canterbury Aero Club hangar on 24-12-1963.

Below we see it outside the Canterbury Aero Club hangar on 26-04-1973. I suspect this was during its engine conversion.

Above - ZK-AXC as seen at Hastings 26-01-1974. From the Allan Wooller collection.
As seen at Queenstown - in magnificent monochrome - on 13-03-1974
It struck a fence whilst taxying at Ohoka on 03-04-1983 and I seem to recall Bruce having difficulty finding replacement wings struts for it at that time.

Next move was in mid March of 1997 to Peter Turvey on 16-03-1997 with whom it became "Clayton" because it had been re-engined with a Lycoming O-320, giving it a complete new front end.
Check out the Claytons meaning at :-

Below we see it at Cust 19-05-1999 taxying out. Note the flaps,( at what stage did it gain these flaps ?), the clear lower door panels and the top of cabin window layout.
Below it is refuelling at Rangiora on 19-01-2000.
It was sold to Byron J Kelly, initially of Kaiapoi on 08-08-2006, and later of Springs Junction.
Below - It was captured departing Rangiora on 27-07-2012 by Allan Bowman.

No comments:

Post a Comment