About ‘The Auster Diaries’

Welcome to the Auster Diaries – a blog about flying an old aeroplane called an Auster. The word ‘Auster’ means ‘South Wind’ in Latin, which is ironic, because the wind blows mostly from the west in the North East of Scotland. This is where this scruffy 1946 Auster 5J4 and the small but happy group of people who fly it are based. And when the wind is not blowing from the west? Well, then it is invariably from the North and cold with it.

Despite this small incongruity, the meaning of the word itself is sufficient to pique the interest of the romantic in most pilots and help those of us who fly ‘JT’ overcome some of the shortcomings of the machine, including but not limited to: exceptionally poor take-off and climb performance, mushy controls, bad ground handling manners, no flaps, awkward heel brakes and usually a fume filled cockpit.

She is, however, despite these things, a wonderful old machine; full of character: a distant haughtiness and reluctance to fly that becomes, over time, a sort of old nag dependability that you just can’t help but fall in love with. It is without doubt, the worst handling and performing aeroplane I have ever flown, but, she has found her way into my heart and she is, if nothing else, certainly inexpensive.

In the summer months the Auster lives at a little known farm strip, which is tucked away so effectively amongst the rolling Aberdeenshire countryside, that only those fanatics who fly from the often waterlogged and rutted strip of rough turf that constitutes the take-off and landing run, know that it exists at all.

This blog is all about the joys and otherwise of flying ‘JT': mostly around Scotland with its vast areas of wilderness, remote landing strips and stunning scenary.  I hope you enjoy what you find in these pages and I’m always happy to hear from anyone, who, like me, think that flying small and sometimes troublesome old aeroplanes from a rough strip of rutted and mushy grass to be actually good fun.

7 Responses to About ‘The Auster Diaries’

  1. Jon Grosz says:

    Good website

  2. The Landy says:

    I’ve nominated you for the “One Lovely Blogger Award”.

    I read many stories, blogs on WordPress, many I find motivating and inspiring, others insightful, plenty that I get a good laugh out of, and many showcasing their part of the world through photography.

    I certainly enjoy reading yours.

    http://thelandy.com/2012/09/11/the-one-lovely-blog-award/

    Cheers, The Landy

    • austerpilot says:

      Wow! Thank you very much! I certainly get a lot out of your blog and I’m very flattered. Keep pushing on that journey of yours and thanks again for the very kind words and the continuing inspiration.

  3. Bruce White says:

    Enjoyed your article in Pilot. Have flown into North Connel in the past and am a regular visitor to the adjacent caravan park; so am wondering if it is possible to obtain a copy of your photo.

  4. Iain Davidson says:

    Another mention of JT from the ether, courtesy of Wallace Shackelton:
    http://squawking7000.wordpress.com/tag/aircraft/ (some scrolling required!)

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