‘Our aim is to construct and renovate a light aircraft (known as a FRED) which dates from around 1970. The plane was never completed at the time and then left to fall into disrepair in a shed for over 40 years. We want to give FRED a chance to fly.’

An ambitious project to return a 1970’s light aircraft to the skies continues to make good progress at Newquay Tretherras. A team of students are attempting to renovate the plane which is based on Eric Clutton’s Flying Runabout Experimental Design, a classic homebuilt aircraft better known as FRED.

The plane was initially housed at Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC) but was moved over the summer holidays to its very own ‘hangar’ located on the school premises. All metal work has been removed from the plane and cleaned, the fuselage has been sanded and repaired and the exhaustive task of completely stripping the paint has almost been completed. The next jobs are to make necessary repairs and reattach all metal work however, the metal work needs powder coating and with limited funds this could prove to be a difficult task!

Huge thanks from the team go to LAS Aerospace Ltd who provided the metal hardware required for the rebuild free of charge and whose logo will feature in the finished design!

Please get in touch if you are able to help our project in any way at fred@tretherras.net

FRED logos


Please find below information on Project ‘FRED’ which will allow you to see what we have achieved so far and what the extra funding will do to help us achieve our goal.

How have we spent the money so far?

We are very grateful for the money given by the PTA last year and this is our main source of funding. Mainly the money that we have had so far has been spent on stripping back the plane and completing repairs to the wooden fuselage. With the plane now fully stripped and ready to go it has taken three tubs of paint stripper to get the plane prepared. Money has also been spent on engine parts and tools.

How we have saved money

We have tried extremely hard to spend as little money as possible. We have been able to get local businesses to donate parts and carry out jobs that we are not able to do for free. We have had free screws and fittings from Light Aircraft Supplies, free sandblasting from Mayzie Engineering (Wadebridge) and free powder coating from Daften Engineering (Wadebridge). LaserMaster (Falmouth) have offered to cut a steel part we need and will be doing this soon. Colorworx (Newquay) have offered to help with any spray painting required. We are also trying to get other companies to help us out. A number of people involved have contacts with electricians so we should be able to get free or reduced prices on any electrical work that has to be carried out. We have also had to move the plane from the airport at the start of the year; we were able to get Ian Thompson, a volunteer from the CAHC (Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre) to help us out by him taking the plane to Tretherras in his trailer. FRED is now housed in and worked on in Goods IN (come pay a visit to NT’s very own hangar!) We decided to move the plane from the airport as time was being wasted travelling to and from the airport in the minibus. Ian has also sourced most of the engine parts required and donated them to the project for free.

Where the project is currently

The most labour intensive part of the project is now over as FRED has been stripped back, so the full condition of the plane is now known so there should be no further surprises. The metal pieces of the plane are currently being powder coated and sandblasted. We will now be focussing on the engine build and repair patches to the canvas. The controls will be the final section of the plane to be repaired/built. Then it’s just a process of putting the plane back together again before the final task of getting the controls put back and it being declared fit to fly.

What we will do with the further money

If we were able to secure extra funding it would go towards getting the resources to repaint the canvas and patches for the canvas, where parts are in a particularly poor condition. We will shortly be building the engine for the plane, a customised VW Beetle air-cooled engine and this will require funds for small parts, oil and testing. The money will also go towards parts for the controls of the plane.

We hope you will consider our request for funding to enable Project ‘FRED’ to be completed in the near future and we can look forward to seeing FRED flying above Newquay Tretherras.