Fly in our genuine Korean war veteran: We are pleased to announce the arrival of our Korean war veteran AOP 6 Auster aircraft. We now offer introductory flights in the iconic Auster from our base at Fowlmere or Peterborough.
This aircraft was famous for its slow flight to allow artillery spotters in the aircraft to spot the impact of artillery shells and direct fire on artillery ground units. However, this actual Auster did see active service in Korea in the 1950s. We have photos of it below to show it dropping special forces soldiers by parachute in action, and other photos of it on operations with 1913 flights that flew over 9000 missions between them!
If you want an introductory flight in this iconic aircraft, click and book below!
Right: VF516 dropping a special forces soldier in Korea during the Korean War
1913 Flight’s six pilots were from the Glider Pilot Regiment and flew Auster Mark 6’s. In January 1952, they were also given a US Army Cessna L-19A ‘Bird Dog’; in November of that year, they were given an Auster Mark 7.
The Cessna was acquired to ferry around VIPs, especially Major General James Cassels of the GOC Commonwealth Division, who is said to have sworn never to fly in an Auster again after he was involved in a crash landing. The 1913 Flight used the Cessna as their VIP transport for the rest of their time in Korea.
Throughout both Flights’ operations, UN air superiority was maintained. Despite this, both Flights suffered personnel losses as two pilots and two groundcrew were killed. Anti-aircraft fire and artillery shells were the cause of two of these casualties. Two further pilots and a rear observer were shot down and captured. The Commander of 1903 Flight, Major Wilfred Harris MC, was also killed on 2 June 1953, when a damaged American F-84 Thunderjet crashed onto the Fort George airstrip and hit his jeep. On several occasions, US aircraft crashed on the airfield, conveniently located for them to use as an emergency strip.
Nearly two years after the 1903 Flight began operations in Korea, a ceasefire was agreed between both sides. After this came into effect, the role of the 1903 Flight became focused on visual reconnaissance. Some sorties were carried out over the Demilitarised Zone and the Chinese lines. Both flights remained in Korea for another eighteen months. Over the following year, they were still carrying out photographic sorties, practising artillery shoots, and patrolling the Demilitarised Zone.
In January 1955, both flights returned to the UK. The role played by the two Flights was crucial to the campaign’s success. The 1903 Flight carried out almost 3,000 Air OP sorties throughout the war, while the 1913 Flight carried out around 9,000. Their valuable contribution can be seen through the many gallantry awards received compared to their size. These include a Distinguished Service Order and several Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Exhibition created by Henry Whittington, Archive Assistant, 2021
VF516 was in the military silver scheme until April 2023, when she was repainted with her original camouflage and markings that she would have worn in Korea in the 1950s when she was operational. Im sure you would all agree she looks stunning in her new camouflage military colours.
This actual Auster did see active service in Korea in the 1950s. We have photos of it Above showing it in action, dropping special forces soldiers by parachute, and other pictures of operations with 1913 flights that flew over 9000 missions between them. So if you want an introductory flight in this iconic aircraft, click and book above!
Some video footage below of the Auster VF516 before her 2023 restoration and transformation.