THE 50th anniversary FRED?
Along with celebrating FRED’s 50th anniversary, the November 2013 issue of Light Aviation also included a special tribute to the newest FRED. Greg and Dianne Shepherd’s G-BWAP first took to the air on October 5th, less than one month before the November 3rd 50th anniversary of FRED’s first flight. Unless I hear of another FRED that first took wing closer to the big day, that makes G-BWAP the official 50th anniversary FRED. Congrats Greg and Dianne! Here is the LAA article and, as a bonus, two nice pics of G-BWAP. Note the tweak to the rudder shape including a slight point reminiscent of several British designs of the 1930s and 1940s.
Article courtesy Light Aviation, photos courtesy Keith Sowter and Martyn Steggalls, used by permission.
Kiwis mark FRED 50th!
After the UK, probably the largest number of flying FREDs per capita can be found in New Zealand with two flying and at least one more awaiting restoration. Thanks to FRED ZK-FRD builder/owner (with his dad Alan) Evan Belworthy and New Zealand Aviation News editor John King, here is Evan’s article celebrating FRED’s 50th.
You can learn more about ZK-FRD and other New Zealand FREDs in these posts:
- ZK-FRD photos from back in the day
- ZK-FRD video clip
- A treasure trove of Kiwi FREDs
- The beating heart of FRED ZK-FRD
- A New Zealand FRED turns 30!
Article courtesy New Zealand Aviation News.
Celebrating 50 years since FRED’s first flight!
"November 3rd, 1963 started off quite foggy, but that did not stop us continuing the taxiing tests. Ernie took FRED up to the top of the hill and drove him off into the fog, returning in a very excited state, vowing he had been airborne, albeit very briefly…. Fortified by the knowledge that it was possible, I really went for it in the clearing conditions and performed the first proper flight. It was just a short hop straight across the field at an altitude of less than a hundred feet."
So Eric Clutton recounts in his memoir “An Aeroplane Called FRED” how the FRED story began 50 years ago today at the former RAF airfield at Chetwynd. FRED looked a little different then—his first of many engines was a converted Triumph motorcycle V-twin, his wings could be removed and strapped to the fuselage but did not yet fold—but Eric still flies that same plane today as N4499Y in Tennessee.
To kick of the 50th anniversary celebrations, I am pleased to share this article, to which I contributed, from the latest issue of the Light Aircraft Association’s magazine Light Aviation. On behalf of Light Aviation editor Brian Hope and myself, happy anniversary to Eric and all FRED owners, builders and pilots from the LAA and Clutton FRED!
Article used by permission of the LAA.
A new look for Clutton FRED
With the 50th anniversary of FRED’s first flight just around the corner, I have done a major overhaul of the Clutton FRED site for easier navigation. Note the new “Gallery” page at left for direct access to the FRED photo and video collections. Please let me know what you think! Cheers, Matthew