Construction of the aircraft started on 5th February 1923, at English Electric’s Dick, Kerr Works in Preston, and was completed exactly two months later. It was designated as the ‘English Electric Wren’ and given the serial J6973. It had a wooden fuselage and wing structure with a traditional fabric covering, powered by a 3 hp 398cc ABC motor-cycle engine adapted for aircraft use.
The prototype appeared at the RAF Pageant at Hendon in June 1923, and again it flew very well, creating a great amount of interest. It was retained at RAF Hendon for a further week, before being handed over for its official handling trials to the Aeroplane Experimental Establishment (AEE) at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Their report, dated 4th September 1923, noted a maximum level speed of 49 mph with a landing speed of approximately 25 mph. this confirmed the manufacturer’s figures, lending credence to the company’s claims.
It did, however, note that in banks of over 15 degrees, and when correcting large wing ‘bumps’, the ailerons became very stiff. This gave the impression that further pressure would break some part, possibly due to warping of the main planes near the wing tips.
|Powerplant||One 3 hp (2.25 kW) 398cc flat twin ABC motor-cycle engine|
|Wingspan||37 ft 0 in (11.3 m)|
|Length||24 ft 3 in (7.4 m)|
|Empty Weight||232 lb (105 kg)|
|Maximum Weight||420 lb (191 kg)|
|Maximum Speed||52 mph (83 km/h)|
|Range||87.5 miles (141 km) on one gallon of fuel|
|Fuel capacity||1 gallon (4.5 ltr)|
|Three||Possibly one further aircraft built for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition as a duplicate of Competition winner (not flown).|
Airworthy with The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Beds