Eric’s adventures in aviation could easily fill a book and, in fact, they already have, in the form of Eric’s autobiographical memoir “An Aeroplane called FRED.” The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) described Eric this way:
“Eric Clutton was a flying cadet in the Royal Air Force during the tail end of World War II. Not ready to give up the dream of flight after the war, Eric became a glider pilot and flew every chance he could get throughout the 1950s and 1960s. To compensate for the lack of hangar space in the surrounding airports where Eric lived, he designed and built a homebuilt airplane called F.R.E.D. in 1964, making him one of the UK’s pioneer homebuilt aircraft designers. Short for Flying Runabout Experimental Design, F.R.E.D. was a parasol design of traditional wood, tube, and fabric construction, and featured a novel set of folding wings so that Eric could tow the plane to and from his home and store it in the garage. Known as ‘Dr. Diesel’ for the r/c diesel engines he designs, today Eric lives in Tennessee where he is an EAA Technical Counselor and still flies the original F.R.E.D. on a regular basis.” (EAA e-Hotline, May 8, 2009)
[Editor’s note: Eric points out that he does not design the r/c diesels but promotes engines “made by mates…in Macclesfield, England.”]
Click on the video screen shot above to watch Eric’s EAA Timeless Voices interview as he recounts his often hilarious and sometimes poignant memories of RAF service, gliding in the UK after the war and, of course, adventures with “An Aeroplane called FRED.”
Photo: Eric smiles in front of FRED in a tongue-in-cheek WWI “Fred Baron” paint scheme circa 1973. Courtesy of Staffordshire Sentinel News & Media.
Video: Eric Clutton interview for EAA Timeless Voices. Courtesy of EAA.