Wren 460
Wren 460P at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2023
Role STOL light aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Wren Aircraft Company
Peterson's Performance Plus
Designer Jim Robertson
First flight January 1963
Number built 700+
Developed from Cessna 180 Skywagon
Cessna 182 Skylane
Robertson Skylark SRX-1

The Wren 460 is a STOL conversion of a Cessna 180 or 182 airframe.

Design and development

The Wren 460 traces its history to the Skyshark, a modification of the earlier Robertson Skylark SRX-1, built by James Robertson, son of Robertson Aircraft Corporation founder William B. Robertson, in the late 1950s. The Skyshark incorporated a number of modifications, most notably a canard fitted with elevators in the slipstream behind the propeller. It was a technological success but too expensive to produce.

Robertson incorporated many features of the Skyshark into the Wren Aircraft Company's Wren 460. A conversion of the Cessna 180 or 182 airframe, the Wren 460 featured full-span double-slotted flaps, movable spoilers to assist the ailerons with roll control, and an optional reversible pitch propeller for shorter landing runs. Like the Skyshark, the Wren 460 also featured a set of canards immediately behind the propeller, taking advantage of the propeller's airstream and allowing the nose to pitch up even when the aircraft is motionless.[1][2] The stall angle of the airfoil was also changed from 16 to 20 degrees by the addition of a drooped leading edge cuff, a modification that would later be incorporated in the standard 182.[3]

Operational history

The Wren 460, modified from a Cessna 182A, made its first flight in January 1963, and received FAA certification on June 30, 1964.[3]

Pilots praised the Wren 460 for its STOL performance. Kevin Brown of Popular Mechanics noted that it "lands like a carrier plane", but also noted that such a touchdown was "quite hard".[1] Despite the publicity of its initial release, few were built due in part to its price, which was over twice that of a stock Cessna 182 at the time. Wren Aircraft eventually went bankrupt in 1969 after the United States military rejected its projects.[3]

The type certificate of the Wren 460 was sold to Galen Means, and was again sold to Todd Peterson in 1977. Peterson, the owner of Advanced Lift Systems (later Peterson's Performance Plus), began production of the Wren 460 once again as the Wren 460P, this time modified from used 182 airframes of newer models as opposed to the new, early model airframes of the original. Unlike the original, the Wren 460P did not have the option of a reversible propeller as Peterson believed it offered too little benefit for its cost. By 1986, a Wren 460P cost less than a new 182 by almost $20,000.[3]


Wren 460
Original conversions by Wren Aircraft Company. About 200 modified from new Cessna 180 and 182 airframes.[4]
Wren 460 Beta
Wren 460 with optional reversible propeller.[5]
Wren 460G
Designation of aircraft converted from 182G airframes.[6]
Wren 460H
Designation of aircraft converted from new 182H airframes. Certified June 1965.[6]
Wren 460P
Conversions by Advanced Lift Systems (later Peterson's Performance Plus). Modified from used 182H through 182M airframes, no option for reversible propeller.
Wren 460QB
"Quiet Bird". Modified Wren 460B to compete with the Lockheed YO-3 Quiet Star. Speculated to have been a candidate for the ZO-4A designation, with the United States Air Force proposing to buy 28 aircraft before the O-4 program was canceled in 1970.[7][8]
Peterson 260SE
Simplified conversion with stock wings and a 260 hp Continental IO-470-F engine.[9] Over 500 converted.[10]
Peterson 230SE
Further simplified conversion with only the canard modification.[9]
Super Skylane
Non-STOL conversion of the 182 with the 260 hp IO-470-F.[9]
Version of the 260SE with strengthened landing gear and large tires, intended for bush flying.[9]
Peterson 260 SE with lengthened wings.[10]
King Katmai
Katmai with a 300 hp Continental IO-550 engine.[10]
King Katmai with stock 182 wings.[10]

Specifications (Wren 460)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1988-89 [11]

General characteristics




  1. ^ a b Brown, Kevin (September 1963). "Takeoff at 30" (PDF). Popular Mechanics.
  2. ^ Schiff, Barry (March 1990). "STOLen Moments" (PDF). AOPA Pilot: 109.
  3. ^ a b c d "A New Wren's Nest" (PDF). Sportsman Pilot. Spring 1986.
  4. ^ Downle, Don (May 1993). "Reborn Wren Revives Interest in the Old/New Airplane of the Sixties" (PDF). Cessna Owner Magazine. 19.
  5. ^ Garrison, Kevin; Sakrison, David (May 1993). "Don't You Dare Call a Wren a "182!"" (PDF). Cessna Owner Magazine. 19.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, John W. R., ed. (1971). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1971–1972. The McGraw-Hill Book Company. p. 425. ISBN 0354000942.
  7. ^ Heyman, Jos (1 June 2015). "United States Military Aircraft: O=Observation" (PDF).
  8. ^ ""Missing" USAF/DOD Aircraft Designations". www.designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  9. ^ a b c d Cavanagh, Jim (May 1993). "One Wonderful Wren!" (PDF). Cessna Owner Magazine. 19.
  10. ^ a b c d Worthy, Crista (2015-02-04). "King Katmai: Unbeatable Safety and Performance - Disciples of Flight". Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  11. ^ Taylor 1988, p. 497.