Clutton FRED on the Web
Matthew Long has announced the establishment of a website to share and collect information about the Flying Runabout Experimental Design (FRED), a pioneering British homebuilt light plane of the 1960s designed and built by Eric Clutton and E.W. Sherry. In 1963 it first flew at Meir Aerodrome Staffordshire, powered by a Triumph motorcycle engine. About 30 to 40 examples have been built, many powered with a converted Volkswagen engine.
The original prototype wood and fabric parasol monoplane has gone through many changes but is still flying after 49 years of age and so is the builder at 82. In the United States, Eric built a business out of designing model aircraft for radio control, and a line of diesel engines to power them under the name “Doctor Diesel”. He now lives in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and plans are still available for the FRED. Most builders have settled on 1835-cc VW conversions, and Eric’s own FRED has been powered by everything from a vintage Scott Flying Squirrel to a small Franklin and a VW, and it now sports a Continental A-65. Almost any engine in the 50- to 70-hp range and no heavier than an A-65 should work just fine.
FRED easily meets U.S. light-sport aircraft (LSA) rules, and its small overall size and folding wings make it especially suitable for building in small spaces including single-car garages and even apartment living rooms! FRED may also be towed on its own gear behind a small car, tucked into the corner of a hangar, or kept at home when winter weather precludes open-cockpit flying. It has an empty weight around 550 pounds, a wingspan of 22 feet, and a cruising speed of 70 to 75 mph.
Mathew’s new website CluttonFRED.info has a wealth of information about the FRED and its history. It features photos, videos, and links to a FRED Yahoo! discussion group, a FRED Facebook page, and information about Eric’s plans and books. Two articles about FRED in past issues of Sport Aviation are also archived there.