CLUTTON FRED SERIES 3
- Wing span: 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)
- Wing chord: 5 ft (1.52 m)
- Wing area: 111 sq ft (10.32 sq m)
- Length: 16 ft (4.88 m)
- Aspect ratio: 4.5
- Empty weight: 550 lb (249 kg)
- Maximum weight: 800 lb (363 kg)
- Cruising speed: 71 mph (114 kph)
- Maximum speed (Vne): 100 mph (162 kph)
- Stall speed: <40 mph (<64 kph)
- Take off run: <300 ft (<91 m)
These specifications reflect a 1500 cc VW Type 1 engine turning a 56 x 26 inch wooden propeller at 2900 RPM in cruise. Most FRED builders have settled on 1835 cc VW conversions.
Eric’s own FRED first flew on November 3, 1963 with a 500cc Triumph motorcycle engine with a chain-and-sprocket reduction drive. It has since been powered by everything from a vintage Scott Flying Squirrel to a Lawrance APU, small Franklin to a VW. FRED now sports a Continental A-65. Almost any engine in the 50-70 hp range and no heavier than an A-65 should work just fine with appropriate modifications to the engine mount and thrust line.
As you can see from photos of FRED through the years, Eric’s original prototype (originally G-ASZY in the UK, now N4499Y in the USA) has gone through many iterations including changes in engines, props, landing gear, vertical fin and rudder. Nonetheless, both plane and pilot are still going strong after almost 50 years.
FRED easily meets U.S. light sport aircraft (LSA) rules but is too heavy for European microlight rules.
FRED’s 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 his own gear behind a small car, tucked into the corner of a hangar or kept at home when winter weather precludes open-cockpit flying.
By all accounts FRED handles as one would expect from modest power and a draggy wing and airframe—slowly but surely. Eric’s original FRED would not stall, just mushing along with the stick full back, though other FREDs with more power may exhibit a gentle stall if pressed.
FRED plans are available directly from Eric Clutton. If you already have plans but don’t have the supplemental drawings for the A-65 mount, optional fixed vertical fin, simplified fuel tank or cockpit entry/exit door, please contact Eric.
3-view: Courtesy of Eric Clutton.