April 23, 2024

Years ago, the Indian Air Force had an Auster on display. That aircraft was moved out in the early 70s and was never spotted again - though numerous sightings reported it to be somewhere in the Artillery Center at Deolali, near Nashik. A recent newsreport reported the unveiling of this aircraft at the Heritage Mess at the School of Artillery. Now photographs of the restored Auster from Deolali - and a brief history of the same have surfaced.

In the early 70s, the Indian Air Force Museum had an Auster V on display – painted in metailic silver with a black band on the rear fuselage, the Auster dissappeared and for years it was rumoured to have been at the School of Artillery in Deolali, near Nashik.  A recent news report confirms that the Auster was infact donated by the IAF to the Artillery Museum in 1972, after which it was moved to the School of Artillery in 1994. 

The Auster Mk V seen in the late 60s (left) and seen today after restoration and display at the Heritage Mess.  Note the flat tyres during its time at the IAF Museum.  The restored Auster now features “Balloon” tyres, but an all green paint scheme.

In September 2013, it was decided to give this “rare aircraft an appropriate facelift befitting its heritage status.” The warbird was restored at the Heritage Mess of the School of Artillery, the abode of gunners, at Deolali. A team of civilian fitters from the Arty Static Workshop led by Col (TEO) Ronny D Vania and Col JN Amin gave the aircraft a facelift. 

The aircraft was put on display in front of ‘Guns through the Ages Park’ created recently. The aircraft was unveiled by Lt Gen PR Shankar, GOC Maharashtra Gujarat & Goa Area and Col Commandant Regiment of Artillery and Lt Gen A K Misra, AVSM Commandant School of Arty in the presence of Maj Gen Rajeev Mishra, VSM. The aircraft bearing registration number IN-959 can be visited during the annual exercise of Topchi – the live demonstration of artillery fire-power that is conducted in firing ranges of the School of Artillery.


IN959 02 IN959 08
Note the plexiglas engine cowlings giving a unique look at the interior of the engine bay where the Lycoming 4 Cylinder Piston engine is installed.

IN-959 is one of the rare WW2 era aircraft that is in preserved status outside of the IAF Museum. It was originally  manufactured in 1942 (Cons No TAY 100A), and was flown both by the Army & Air Force. The Auster V still retains the original “aeromatic” propeller & the original 4 cylinder “lycoming” Avco engine.

IN959 01 IN959 04
IN959 05 IN959 03
IN959 06 Walkaround Photographs of the Auster Mark V IN959 on display.  


Photographs and Information Courtesy of Ronny Vania


1 thought on “Taylorcraft Auster V [IN959] at Artillery Mess

  1. Dear Administrator I would like to point out that Ronny Vania as mentioned in the end is a Colonel it would be appreciated that his Rank is Mentioned which was earned by him not bought in Chandni Chowk. I being his elder brother would like to point it out.
    Jimmy Vania.

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