International Auster Club
The Auster Pilot Club, now the International Auster Club (IAC), was formed by Jim Sime in 1973 following an appeal in Flight magazine. At the time, Austers were considered unremarkable and ten a penny; Jim recalls having seen one aircraft offered in flying condition for £500 (about £5,500 today) and at the time Austers were being purchased and scrapped for spares; it costing more to buy a reconditioned engine than to buy an aircraft for its engine.
The first meeting, on 18 November 1973, saw 15 Austers and more than fifty people gathered at Hemswell, Lincolnshire and further events were held the following year, at Bridlington and Shobdon; the latter seeing 43 Austers in attendance, although one was disqualified on account of being French and of dubious airworthiness!
The club has continued to grow and is extremely active in promoting the various aircraft types built by Taylorcraft and Auster, and the company’s history. A fly-in close to where the Auster factory once stood, in Rearsby, Leicestershire was held in 2013 to mark the 40th anniversary of the IAC.
2018 sees not only 80 years of the Auster Aircraft Company, but 45 years of the International Auster Club.
Jim Sime sadly passed away on 5 May 2017. His important contribution to Auster preservation is to be remembered with a concourse d’elegance trophy which will be presented to the owner of the best presented aircraft at the 80th anniversary event.