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J/1 Autocrat
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.

History[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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.[4] 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.

Variants[edit | edit source]


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.
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).

Operators[edit | edit source]

Civil operators[edit | edit source]

 Southern Rhodesia

Royal Pakistan Airforce

Specifications (J/1)[edit | edit source]

Data from Jackson[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 23 ft 5 in (7.1 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
  • Wing area: 185 ft² (17.19 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,052 lb (478 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,850 lb (841 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Blackburn Cirrus Minor 2 piston engine, 100 hp (76 kw)


  • Maximum speed: 120 mph (194 km/h)
  • Range: 320 miles (515 km)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4300 m)

See also[edit | edit source]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

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.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jackson, 1974, p. 63
  2. Hitchman, 1989, p. 53
  3. Ellison, 1966, p. 72
  4. Jackson, 1973, pp. 67–68
  5. Jackson, 1974, p. 67
  6. Jackson, 1974, P. 67
  • Ellison, N.H. (1966). Auster Aircraft – Aircraft Production List. Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ASIN B0041OQAEG. 
  • Hitchman, Ambrose (1989). The History of the Auster Aeroplane. International Auster Pilot Club. ASIN B0019BV2YM. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing. 
  • Jackson, A.J. (1974). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10006-9. 

External links[edit | edit source]

– British Aircraft Directory

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