As part of the post-war redefinition of the British aircraft industry, Auster and Miles merged along with the Pressed Steel Co. in 1960 forming the Beagle Aircraft Company. Continuing the tradtion of the light aircraft previously produced by Auster, the Airedale was built at Rearsby utilising some of the earlier Auster jigs and tooling. Construction utilised welded steel tube covered by light alloy for the fuselage with fibreglass forward and fabric aft. The wings were metal spared with a metal leading edge, fibreglass tips, and fabric covering. The protype was first flown on April 16, 1961. This was followed by eight pre-production aircraft. The first production version flew on February 24, 1962. In 1963 the A.111 Airedale was introduced which had been reworked to allow a 55kg (120lb) wieght reduction. Further development included modification for a 175hp Continental GO-300 in place of the 180hp Lycoming O-360-A1A which first flew on August 18, 1961. This was intended for Rolls Royce production. Unfortunately sales suffered as the Airedale was in competition with the similar sized Cessna 172. Total production was 43 aircraft. About 30 aircraft survive.
One aircraft of this type, ZK-CCW has been imported into New Zealand. It has spent most of its life operating in the South Island, although from 1995 to 2000 it was based at Coromandel. It recently headed south again to a new home at Ranfurly.
Last Update:- November 8, 2000
© 2000 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved