The English Electric Wren was designed by Mr. W.O. Manning and built to Air Ministry specification. Two Wrens were entered into the Daily Mail light-plane trials at Lympne, Kent in 1923. The Wrens were numbered 3 and 4. One category in the trials was for the longest distance flown on one gallon of petrol and it was in this area that the Wren excelled.
Wren No. 4 achieved a flight of 87.5mpg, only equalled by the ANEC I, both aircraft sharing the prize money. To celebrate Flt. Lt. Longton flew a crazy flying routine in Wren No.4. In April 1926 Wren No. 3 was registered as G-EBNV to Alan Smith of Leeds and later passed to R.H. Grant of Dumfries. Wren No.4 was displayed at the Science Museum in Kensington.
The Shuttleworth Trust was offered Wren No.3 from R.H. Grant of Dumfries. However the airframe was in a very bad condition and it was decided to restore Wren No.4 (removed from the Science Museum in 1945) to airworthy condition, using parts of No.3. Although No.4 was restored it was given Wren No.3's civil registration of G-EBNV. English Electric Deputy Chief Pilot Peter Hillwood took charge of the project and in July 1955, the Wren was ready to fly.
However it refused to get airborne, and it wasn't until September 25th 1956, after fine tuning the engine, that the first flight was made. Peter Hillwood made flights totalling 39 minutes, although lack of power meant that all of them were below 250ft. A larger propeller was fitted and on the next flight the Wren reached 1,200ft. The Wren was officially handed over to the Shuttleworth Collection at the Royal Aeronautical Society's Garden Party on September 15th 1957, there it made an 8 minute flight in front of Dorothy Shuttleworth and it's designer W.O. Manning. The first attempts to bungee launch the Wren were made in April 1968, but were not successful as the elastic broke. However, since then bungee launching has been perfected and the Wren is regularly launched into short flights down the runway.
Height: 4ft 9in
Length: 24ft 3in
Wingspan: 37ft 0in
Engine: one 3hp ABC flat twin
Max. Speed: 50mph