It’s time to go back 100 years into the early days of aviation. Microsoft Flight Simulator has proved to be a phenomenal platform to bring to *virtual* life many old-time aircraft that are otherwise relegated to museums around the world. Today, we’re bringing your attention to another project that aims to offer MSFS simmers with the opportunity to fly one of these machines: the English Electric Wren.
Rara-Avis has previously graced us with other unique machines such as the “Flying Flea” and the Zippy Sport. The developer continues this trend, now with an aircraft that goes back to the early days of aviation.
The English Electric Wren is a high-wing monoplane originally powered by a 3hp motorcycle engine. With a maximum speed of just 50 mph and a weight of only 232 pounds, the Wren is a testament to the ingenuity and ambition of early aviation pioneers. The aircraft was designed by W.O. Manning and was part of a post-World War I trend to develop light aircraft for personal use.
The English Electric Wren is a fascinating piece of aviation history that often gets overshadowed by more famous aircraft. Built in the 1920s, specifically in 1921, it was one of the smallest aircraft ever constructed. The Wren had a wingspan of just about 26 feet and weighed around 232 pounds when empty. Despite its small size and limited power, the Wren could fly and even set some altitude and distance records for aircraft in its class.
From a design perspective, the Wren was a high-wing monoplane with a conventional tail unit and a fixed tailskid undercarriage. The aircraft was primarily constructed of wood and fabric, typical for aircraft of that era. It had a single open cockpit, which meant that the pilot was exposed to the elements – a far cry from the comfort and technology we’re accustomed to in modern aviation.
What to expect from Wren for MSFS
Rara-Avis is going to great lengths to ensure that the Wren’s virtual incarnation is as authentic as possible. The developer has access to the real-world aircraft that is part of the Shuttleworth Collection and thus can gather the necessary external and internal references to recreate it as accurately as possible.
The package will include:
- Custom engine sounds from the real aircraft
- Custom dirt/grime decals
- Six paints (Two fictional, but in keeping with the era)
- Three different rudder configurations
- Hidden GPS and Radio stack
- Three launch methods (Tow, winch, and standard take-off) winch and tow were never an option but it has been bungeed.
- Fully VR compatible
- Animated clipboard with “pilots notes”
- Full PBR textures
- Engine vibration
- Accurate interior modelling (Access to the real plane, Shuttleworth Collection)
Once it lands in MSFS, the Wren should offer quite a unique flying experience. Its slow speed and light weight should make it a challenging yet rewarding aircraft to master. The option to fly with an 8hp engine upgrade or stick to the original 3hp engine “just for giggles” should be fun, much like Wing42’s Blériot XI.
The Rara-Avis English Electric Wren is still in development but will hopefully soon make its way to Microsoft Flight Simulator.