This site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's classic Flying Runabout Experimental Design (FRED) was created in consultation with Eric by homebuilt aircraft enthusiast and occasional microlight pilot Matthew Long. Be sure to follow the links at the top of the page to learn more about Eric and FRED and to visit the related Flickr gallery, YouTube channel, Yahoo group and Facebook page.
Please click on "comments" or "share" at the bottom of each post to provide feedback and spread the word about FRED. Submissions to email@example.com are always welcome.
I recently received a note from Allan Woller of New Zealand inquiring whether I might be interested in some FRED photos from back in the day. I said yes, of course! So here are some wonderful shots of FRED ZK-FRD, well-know to FRED fans, at and near Hood aerodrome back in October-November 1979. The ground shot shows builder Allan Belworthy in the cockpit while the air-to-air shots show his son Evan Belworthy piloting ZK-FRD. Just look at that lovely New Zealand countryside! Thanks very much, Allan, for sharing these inspiring pics.
At 35 horsepower, the Verner Motor Scarlett mini 5 is a little weak for a Clutton FRED, but I’d be very tempted to build the lightest FRED possible just to take advantage of this sweet little engine. With the original long-nosed FRED fuselage and careful attention to weight, it might justwork. The Scarlett mini 5 is wonderfully light at under 60 lbs, the price is right at under USD $5,000 from the Czech Republic and just listen to it purr. Plus, my daughter’s name is Scarlett, which must be a sign of something good! Cheers, Matthew
Previously shown engineless in a 2011 photo in the FRED Worldwide Photo Gallery, here is a 1996 pic of G-BNZR in flying trim courtesy of Ken Tilley. This latest addition makes 122 photos in the Fred Worldwide Photo Gallery spanning several decades with contributions from dozens of FRED builders, owners and fans. FREDs pictured include 23 UK registrations, four New Zealand, one Ireland and one USA. Adjusting for duplicate registrations when airframes were re-registered to a new owner and/or in a new country, and adding in Eric Clutton’s own prototype FRED registered first in the UK and now in the USA, that’s 27 individual FREDs documented. More are always welcome!
FRED’s cheeky charm and compact dimensions have long attracted model aircraft builders, which is quite appropriate since Eric Clutton is a well-known aeromodeler and, as “Dr. Diesel,” a longtime promoter of diesel model aircraft engines. The Stevens Aeromodel FredE is not a scale model of FRED, but a balsa-and-tissue, electric-powered, radio-controlled fun flier that manages to capture the mischevious nature of Eric Clutton’s full-size original. To go along with the video clip above, see also this comprehensive and well-illustrated review of the FredE by Napo Monasterio. If you’re biding your time for the chance to build your own FRED, maybe a model will help whet your appetite in the meantime? Cheers, Matthew
Anonymous asked: Hi Matthew,Thank you for your response. I know i am going to sound a complete idiot, but which was long nose version series 2 or 3? The HKS engine saves about 25 to 40lbs over the VW for approx same power! but @ $10,000 IT adds quite a bit to price! I might have to do an Eric and use an old motorcycle engine. Motoguzzi or something. What is average build time and can I build it in a single car concrete garage. Perth is only a couple of hours drive away I must go and see G -OCAS
Sorry, I must have missed this question before. The series numbers refer to a number of modifications over time and are really inventions of the PFA (now LAA) engineering department “freezing” the design at various points over the years. Long and short nose fuselages remain an option depending on the engine used. I agree completely that the HKS is quite expensive, but it would work well to build a light FRED with good performance. Most builders these days seem to stick with the 1835cc VW, and the availability of lightweight cylinders means that you can even go with a big 2180cc VW at essentially the same weight if you keep it simple. A bare bones VW still seems like the most economical and well-proven FRED engine and it’s what I’d use unless I happened to come across a nice old small aircraft engine like a small (under 65 hp) Continental, Lycoming, Aeronca, Salmson, etc. Cheers, Matthew