Auster Autocrat

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J/1 Autocrat
Auster autocrat 5j1 g-ajee of 1946 arp.jpg
Role Touring aircraft
Manufacturer Auster Aircraft Limited
First flight 1945
Introduction 1945
Produced 1945–1952
Number built 420
Developed from Taylorcraft Auster 5
Variants Auster J/1B Aiglet
Auster Workmaster
Auster Avis

The Auster J/1 Autocrat was a 1940s British single-engined three-seat high-wing touring monoplane built by Auster Aircraft Limited at Rearsby, Leicestershire.


As the end of the Second World War approached the designers at Taylorcraft decided to develop a tourer version of the robust and reliable Taylorcraft Auster Model J AOP.V observation aircraft series. An Auster 5, registered G-AGOH, was modified to take a 100 hp (75 kW) Blackburn Cirrus II engine for trials. At the same time a prototype aircraft was built designated the Taylorcraft Auster V Series J/1 Autocrat. The long name was not used as the company changed name to Auster Aircraft Limited and the aircraft became known as the Auster J/1 Autocrat.[1]

The designation J/1 derived from the progenitor Model J, which was the Auster AOP.V.[2][3]

Production and operation[edit]

J/1 Autocrat in 1966 powered by a Rover TP gas turbine engine
Auster J/1N Alpha in British Eagle colours at Casey Airfield, Berwick, Victoria, Australia in 1988

The first production aircraft, registered G-AGTO, was delivered in December 1945. One of the more spectacular feats of the type was the first visit of a civilian aircraft to an aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious in the English Channel in October 1946.[citation needed] The last Rearsby built J/1s were delivered in 1952.

The Autocrat became one of the most successful post-war British light aircraft with more than 400 built. A small number of variants were built and the aircraft became the basis for a family of light aircraft. The Autocrat was used by individual pilots, aero clubs and by small charter firms for passenger flights, banner towing and photography.

Many J/1s were converted to J/1N Alpha standard with a higher fin and fitted with a 130 h.p. Gipsy Major engine, as used in the J/1B Aiglet. 45 new build J/1N Alphas were completed in 1956/57, mainly for export to Australia.

A single Autocrat G-AGVI was converted by V.H.Bellamy in 1965 to be powered by a Rover TP gas turbine engine. It reverted to normal power in 1968.

Starting in 1946, newly built examples of the Autocrat and Alpha were exported direct from the production line at Rearsby to many countries worldwide including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Ceylon, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iraq, Jordan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Uruguay.[1] Other UK-registered aircraft were later sold overseas on the secondhand market.

Numbers of Autocrats and Alphas continue to fly (2014) with private owners in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.


Data from: British Civil Aviation since 1919 Volume 1[1]

Auster J/1 Autocrat
production version with Blackburn Cirrus Major engine. Several later fitted with engines up to the 150 h.p. Lycoming O-320-A1A.
Auster J/1A Autocrat
additional (fourth-seat) for joyriding.
Auster J/1N Alpha
powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine and with enlarged tail surfaces. Four seater.
Auster J/1S Autocrat
powered by a 145 h.p. de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Mk 2-2 engine.
Kingsford Smith Kingsmith
An Auster J/1 conversion in Australia by Kingsford Smith Aviation Services, fitted with a 150hp (112kW) Avco Lycoming O-320 engine and other improvement (including better seating and sound-proofing).


Civil operators[edit]

 Southern Rhodesia

Royal Pakistan Airforce

Specifications (Auster J/1 Autocrat)[edit]

Data from British Civil Aviation since 1919 Volume 1[1], [4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: 1 or 2 pax
  • Length: 23 ft 5 in (7.14 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) (tail down propeller horizontal)
  • Wing area: 185 sq ft (17.2 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,052 lb (477 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,850 lb (839 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: Fuel: 15 imp gal (18 US gal; 68 l) + optional 13.75 imp gal (16.51 US gal; 62.5 l) auxiliary tank under the fuselage ; Oil: 2 imp gal (2.4 US gal; 9.1 l)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Blackburn Cirrus Minor 2 4-cyl air-cooled inverted in-line piston engine, 100 hp (75 kW) at 2,600 rpm maximum
  • Maximum continuous power: 90 hp (67 kW)
Other engines
Rover TP.90 118 hp (88 kW)
Lycoming O-235-C1 120 hp (89 kW)
Franklin 6AC 120 hp (89 kW)
Lycoming O-290-D2 135 hp (101 kW)
de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C 145 hp (108 kW)
Continental C145 145 hp (108 kW)
Lycoming O-320-A1A / Lycoming O-320-A2A 150 hp (110 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Fairey-Reed metal or Weybridge wooden fixed pitch propeller, 6 ft (1.8 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 120 mph (193 km/h; 104 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 100 mph (161 km/h; 87 kn)
  • Stall speed: 30 mph (48 km/h; 26 kn) 2 crew and flaps down
  • Range: 220 mi (191 nmi; 354 km) in still air
  • Ferry range: 500 mi (434 nmi; 805 km) with auxiliary tank in still air
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 500 ft/min (2.5 m/s) at 1,700 lb (770 kg)
  • Wing loading: 10 lb/sq ft (49 kg/m2) fully loaded
  • Power/mass: 18.5 lb/hp (11.3 kg/kW)
  • Fuel consumption: 5.5 imp gal/h (6.6 gal/h; 25 l/h) at 2,300 rpm
4.75 imp gal/h (5.70 gal/h; 21.6 l/h) at 2,150 rpm
  • Take-off run: 250 yd (230 m) in 5 mph (4.3 kn; 8.0 km/h) wind
  • Landing run: 99 yd (91 m) in 5 mph (4.3 kn; 8.0 km/h) wind

See also[edit]

Related development

In popular culture[edit]

An Auster Autocrat (registration G-AIGD) was featured in Episode 42 of the BBC series Father Brown which first aired in January 2016.

An Auster J/1N featured in Foyle's War Series 8 Episode 3, Elise, airdate January 2015.


  1. ^ a b c d Jackson, A. J. (1973). British Civil Aviation since 1919 Volume 1 (2nd ed.). London: Putnam. pp. 63–68. ISBN 978-0-370-10006-7.
  2. ^ Hitchman, Ambrose (1989). The History of the Auster Aeroplane. International Auster Pilot Club. p. 53. ASIN B0019BV2YM.
  3. ^ Ellison, N.H. (1966). Auster Aircraft – Aircraft Production List. Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p. 72. ASIN B0041OQAEG.
  4. ^ Bridgman, Leonard, ed. (1947). Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1947. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. p. 14c.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing.

External links[edit]