By Zac YatesOn July 10th, 1999 an anonymous Auster AOP.9 arrived at the Newark Air Museum (NAM) in Nottinghamshire, UK. Nearly 25 years later, on January 25th, 2024, a major milestone was passed in its long-term restoration when an engine was refitted to the airframe for the first time. The last of a line of successful military and civilian light aircraft with their genesis in the original Taylor Cub of the 1930s, the Auster AOP.9 saw active service with the Royal Air Force and later the Army Air Corps as an air observation post (AOP) in Aden and Malaya. The armed forces of India and South Africa also operated the AOP.9, as did the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force. The NAM’s example was placed into deep storage on arrival and brought out for restoration in 2012, however initial efforts were cut short as key members of the team were required to assist on other projects. Restoration work on the Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier engine was carried out by working museum members, who have now successfully completed the installation. The NAM’s Auster AOP.9 has been subject to a long-term identity debate with many different possibilities explored, museum trustee and secretary Howard Heeley told Vintage Aviation News.
The restoration team is seeking photographs of XS238 in service. If you can assist please contact the museum via their website at http://www.newarkairmuseum.org/