Constructed of fabric over corrosion proofed steel frame the design featured a large high lift low set monoplane wing, external control cables, fixed tail wheel undercarriage and a somewhat angular fuselage, with an aft cabin that could seat two passengers, a hopper over the centre of the wing which could hold 750 kg of superphosphate in the topdressing role, or 654 litres of spray as a crop duster. The pilot sat forward of the hopper over the wing leading edge, a position which gave a good field of view compared with the American practise of placing the pilot behind the hopper, though this view was somewhat restricted by the extensive canopy joinery and bulky rear decking. The Agricola's handling was generally described favourably, particularly its slow speed performance and controls, while its rugged and simple construction allowed for easy maintenance and repair. The aircraft was utilitarian rather than attractive; one web site has short-listed the Agricola in a competition for the ugliest aircraft of all time. The type was first flown in 1955. It was out competed in its target market by the PAC Fletcher and attempts to sell the type for Aerial application work in Britain, Australia and Europe met with little success. Only 9 were made before production ceased. Of these ZK-BXO, is the sole survivor. Restored by John Stephenson of Whitianga, it was operated for many years by him as both historic aircraft and personal transport. BXO was sold to the UK in 2005.
Specifications (Auster Agricola)
Published in July 2009.
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