Auster T7 Antarctic
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The Auster T7 is a two-seat, dual-control aircraft designed for training of aircrew for the AOP6 artillery spotting and light communications aircraft, from which the T7 was developed.
In the training role the T7 replaced the Auster MkV, preparing crews for air observation post operations and as such was equipped to simulate night and instrument flying conditions. Many were transferred to the Army Air Corps during 1957/58 as the Army took overall responsibility for its aviation requirements.
The T7 prototype (a converted AOP6) first flew in 1947, production beginning in 1949. Seventy-seven T7s were built, while an additional ten AOP6 aircraft were later converted to T7 standard as the T10.
In 1955 Auster Aircraft Limited modified two T7s (WE563 and WE600) for the 1956 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Dr Vivian Fuchs. Known as the Auster Antarctic, changes to the aircraft included extra radio equipment, larger tail surfaces, the ability to be fitted with floats or skis as required and a bright orange finish to aid visibility.