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  • Raven combinations

    Hello,

    Apologies if this has been covered in other posts, but I am considering a Raven as my first flexwing and wondered if someone can help explain the different trike, wing and engine combinations, at the cheaper end of the market. and the pros and cons of them relative to the likes of an xl Q, flash 2 etc.

    Thanks
    Lee.

  • #2
    Raven combinations

    Hi Lee,

    I've owned and flown several Ravens and can never speak too highly of them.

    The original Southdown Raven X with a 447 was a bit underpowered but I happily flew up to 12 stone passengers with my 11 stone frame without problem. Didn't like going above that though. As a solo machine it was brilliant. When I sold it on, the wing fabric was like an old tea towel - faded yellow, porous and very soft - looked like it would tear like tissue, but passed a Betts perfectly. (It had once been left flat in a field of heifers who managed to break through the temporary electric fence and stomp all over it ;-) ) Fabric used by Southdown used to be good in those days (Bainbridge?).

    The Raven is easy to fly, very light in pitch (sometimes almost neutral) and will fly pretty much as fast as its engine will push it (the Hornet Raven had a Vne of 105mph!). It's also light in roll. Only vice, in my opinion, is landing speed - you need to be reasonably accurate. Too slow and it will drop you hard, too fast and you run the risk of 'wheel-barrowing' - nosewheel contacting the ground before mains - not good and inevitably expensive. Raven Xs had no brakes, but pulling in hard on the landing roll is pretty effective.

    I then went to the Hornet ('Dual-Trainer Raven') side-by-side, and flew several - all excellent. No real difference in performance, and brilliant to be able to look your passenger in the face - particularly useful for training. Trike built like the proverbial outhouse, and almost (but see above) unbreakable. The downside is that the steering arrangement means you and your passenger/student need to knot legs and get rather more intimate than is comfortable ;-). I only flew as a passenger once but will never forget the 'terror' of sitting on the end of a fairly tight benchseat with nothing except the belt (which I couldn't feel) stopping me from falling off. You never have that feeling if you're holding the bar. In a conventional tandem trike, the passenger feels perfectly anchored, of course. Most Hornets had a 462, so power was never a problem.

    Flown solo, it was recommended to sit in the middle of the bench, but it actually felt better to sit in the 'proper' left-hand seat. It made very little difference to the 'hang' of the trike. I still have a Hornet Raven, though it's not flown for over five years - mainly due to my 'hangarage' of a lorry back which requires me to rig. (I fly a Chaser which can be part de-rigged to fit the lorry back.) I've also pinched the 462 for my Chaser... But if the rigging was not an issue, I'd go for the Raven every time - much nicer to fly than the Chaser, or any contemporary (and most modern) wings. Particularly on a thermally or turbulent day.

    They were not popular with instructors, despite the better training 'environment' of sitting at the side of a student, rather than behind. Probably down to the steering 'problem', but see below.

    I've also flown Hybred versions - the trike with the dual 'monopole'. Again, they were hampered with a 447. Again, no big difference. I always thought the trike a bit ugly next to the Southdown trike. I'm not sure if Chris Draper still continued with it after inheriting the rights to the latter.

    I've never flown a 912 Raven.

    I don't believe the Raven 'failed' commercially against the Pegasus and Mainair competition because of any performance issue - quite the contrary. Pegasus and Mainair concentrated on selling to instructors, knowing that new pilots would inevitably buy what they were trained on and were used to. Southdown then Raven International, and Medway always seemed to be emphasising 'value-for-money'. Hornet did try to aim at the training market, but were fighting a prejudice against side-by-side. It used to break my heart to see the regular advert for an impossibly cheap 'budget' Raven from Medway (4500!), yet new pilots (around here at any rate) were buying Flash Alphas and Qs at almost twice the price, because that's what they understood.

    If you're tempted by a Hornet, watch out for people selling Hornet ZAs as Hornet Ravens. A lot of ZAs were sold for next to no money when Hornet went bust. The ZA wing was designed when Hornet were prevented from using Ravens (a long story). It should have been an improved 'copy' of a Raven, and it was a nice wing, but the Raven is so much better. To the uninitiated it looks a little like a Raven - hence the confusion.

    Dave

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    • #3
      Raven combinations

      Dave Smith wrote: Fabric used by Southdown used to be good in those days (Bainbridge?).
      It may have been Toray. Ask CD.

      Comment


      • #4
        Raven combinations

        Hi Dave,

        Many thanks for all the information. I am very tempted by the idea of a Hornet although there dont seem to be many on the register so perhaps unlikely to find one? and can you still get parts for them?

        If anyone has one in the south that I could have a look around or even a flight in I'd be very grateful!

        Thanks

        Lee.

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        • #5
          Raven combinations

          Lee I'm a great fan of the older machines and in my quest for as much information as I can I had a fascinating conversation with Pete Jervis at Sandy about the Hornet. I'm sure he has a Hornet trike hiding in the hanger there. Maybe a polite chat over a cup of tea in their fabulous clubhouse is needed?
          Regards Dom

          Comment


          • #6
            Raven combinations

            No problem on Hornet parts Lee. Obviously, the wing is standard Raven (all except the fore and aft flying wires, but Chris Draper must have the dimensions - if not, I can supply).
            There are lots of trikes languishing at the backs of hangars (unfortunately). Only the chrome plated tube connectors seem to suffer from superficial rusting.
            I even have one that will probably end up being broken now.
            The original alloy slab fuel tank can be easily changed for the later ZA 50l plastic jobby.
            In fact all bits off the later trike can be used.
            There was a guy in Lancashire (IIRC) who bought the parts inventory - I'm sure we could find a contact.

            The only problem you'll have is overcoming prejudice from some folks...

            Dave

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            • #7
              Raven combinations

              Thanks all. I will do some asking around.If anyone knows of one that might be for sale please get in touch.

              Lee.

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              • #8
                Raven combinations

                I own Raven X 447 since year 2009. I have made 350 hours on it mainly flying in midday. It is easy to fly it in any weather conditions and put it in to any spot on the ground.

                I didn't like Hornet (think it was ZA version ...). My friend bought it with intention to hire me as instructor to fly it with students. I've made test flight and found wing very heavy in roll and pitch. The wing is very heavy, didn't weight it, but it must be around 60 kg, comparing with my original Raven wing. The trike design is very strange also - front wheel controls are in the center when crew places are aside It is no way to control front wheel by both - instructor and student at the same time ... kind of weird design according my understanding It would be dangerous to sit in the middle of the bench because your back bone could be broken at the event of an hard landing and there is no way to fasten seat belt in that position.

                I bought new BB Trya now ... I like light flying Very nice, light in control and stable in heavy turbulence wing (it centers in thermals almost by itself ) ... and would recommend it, or something similar - Flylight Dragon Chaser or Chaser, or Ace Aviation Cyclone for instance .

                The Raven is still in use. May be I'd let it go to very good home, to an "Raven mad" kind of person ... I have lots of sentiments to that a/c ... It brought very good friend to me - Alex Williams and lots of others, open minded and true Microlight British pilots such as Chris and Paul

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                • #9
                  Raven combinations

                  All that Kestutis says - my opinion also of the ZA wing. Complete opposite of the Raven.
                  You do get used to steering with that wide bar and the passengers legs intertwined - very intimate!
                  It is good to be able to look the passenger/student in the eye, and as an instructor you do have much more control than in the back seat.
                  But it never caught on for instruction, despite Hornet's original name for it of 'Hornet Dual-Trainer Raven'.

                  Solo is fine from the left-hand seat.

                  Dave

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                  • #10
                    Raven combinations

                    Lee,

                    I've just bought a Raven, and very good it is too. I love the way it handles turbulence in comparison with my Q wing. However, I'm not too enamoured of the trike. I don't fully understand how it all hangs together yet, but that's probably because I've always flown XL's and my Q. So I thought I'd see if I could fit the Raven wing onto either my Q trike or my XL trike. I've SSDR'd them now, and I will SSDR the Raven as soon as all the ownership paperwork is sorted out with the CAA.

                    Please see the attached photo of the Raven wing on my 462 powered XL trike. Looks like it was made for it.

                    Best regards,

                    Bob Hood
                    P.S. Added some more photos from when I put the wing on the XL trike. Once SSDR'd I hope to fly it with either this or my Q trike, whichever is available at the time.

                    Attached files
                    XL's forever! Well, one of them anyway. It's all I can afford, not to mention the Raven and the Mini-Max. Oh, and I almost forgot the Spectrum as well :-)

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                    • #11
                      Raven combinations

                      What a cracking looking combo....nice one Bob. Regards Dom

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                      • #12
                        Raven combinations

                        Dom,

                        I've now added some more pictures of the RavenXL combo.

                        Best regards,

                        Bob
                        XL's forever! Well, one of them anyway. It's all I can afford, not to mention the Raven and the Mini-Max. Oh, and I almost forgot the Spectrum as well :-)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Raven combinations

                          Well that certainly ticks all the right boxes for me. I have had a chat with Chris D at Medway (who i now work for) about these recent developments and he is glad that his creation is seeing the skies on a regular basis after all these years.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Raven combinations

                            Dom, your posts intrigue me. How come you're de-planing to Wingland, yet are working for CD at Medway. Info please...
                            Dave
                            PS: Am still awaiting news from Kirk Sutton on his plan for a Raven-lite.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Raven combinations

                              Well I just happened to be having a chat with CD and next thing I know I'm giving him a hand. In the mean time iv had some personal issues that require me to move - hence Wingland becomes my nearest strip.

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