“Flying Runabout, Experimental Design,” better known as FRED, is an inexpensive, single-seat, open-cockpit, parasol-wing homebuilt designed, built and flown by Eric Clutton in the UK in 1963. Today, Eric and the original FRED (over 2,500 hours TT) are both still flying in Tennessee. Several dozen FREDs have flown around the world, mostly in the UK but also in Ireland, New Zealand and the USA, where FRED can be flown under sport pilot rules. FRED's claim to fame is the quick-folding wing arrangement that allow for compact storage and even towing behind the family car on the rugged landing gear.
Most FREDs are powered by air-cooled Volkswagen conversions (1835cc is the most popular) though other engines are possible and Eric's FRED has sported a Continental A-65 for many years. Regardless of the engine, handling is gentle and performance is a modest 70-80 mph cruise speed.
FRED plans ($50) and Eric's books Propeller Making for the Amateur and An Aeroplane Called FRED ($10 each) are available directly from Eric Clutton.
Photo: FRED G-BISG is pictured above at a rally in Middle Wallop, England just 45 minutes or so after its first flight on May 6, 1984. Test pilot for the occasion Brian Collins was so impressed that he asked if he could take off again and take it to the local fly-in! Photo courtesy of builder Rick Coombe.