The Aircraft

The Ravens use Van’s RV aircraft with a mix of 1 RV4 and 5 RV8s.  All are self build aircraft, albeit only Ravens 2 and 4 have been self built by the Team.  They are of all aluminium construction and use standard Lycoming io-360, 180hp engines coupled to constant speed propellers, which given their light weight results in an agreeable power to weight ratio.  Performance is very good, especially climb rate when measured against typical flying club aircraft such as the C152 & PA28/38s, but they are not carbon fibre rocket ships such as the Extra 300s and Edge 540s on the display scene and competition circuit.  However, they are fully aerobatic with a decent ‘g’-limit range and aerobatic ability and as such are ideal for the requirements of Team Raven.

The Team have modified their aircraft with smoke systems, to which a big ‘thank you’ must go out to the LAA (of which all the Team are members) for the help and support in making this possible within the tight timelines prior to the 2014 display season.  The aircraft as well as being fully aerobatic are relatively quick and frugal which further adds to their attraction for private ownership.  They are a pilot’s aircraft and a delight to fly, but being tail draggers are always able to keep the unsuspecting pilot on their toes!  We are above all, passionate aviation enthusiasts and consequently are more than happy to discuss our aircraft with anyone who cares to listen at any venue we attend.  The aircraft are all self funded and owned and run by each of their pilots respectively.

G-MAXV – Lead Aircraft

RV 4

The RV-4 is a 2-seat tandem aircraft that holds a moderate, but useable, amount of baggage.  The seating is compact but still comfortable with baggage carried in a bay behind the rear seat; which in the case of MAXV also contains the smoke tank for the display smoke system.  The aircraft is flown from the front seat only but there is a stick and a throttle for the rear-seater should they wish to take control.  MAXV is fitted with a Lycoming IO-360 180HP engine coupled to a metal Hartzell 2 blade constant speed propeller with a fully inverted oil and  fuel system to allow for aerobatics.  Originally built in 2000, Simon bought MAXV in April 2014 as a low-hour example of this fine aircraft which are currently very hard to find in the UK.

Weighing very little (1015 lbs AUW) the 180 hp engine results in a good power to weight ratio which with the very good aerodynamics means a quick cruise speed (circa 150-160 kts) with reasonable fuel burn.  Max fuel capacity is circa 120 litres which allows for a transit of about 3 hours although this can be ‘eeked’ out.  This gives an impressive transit range of around 450-500 miles.  Max speed is limited to 182 kts although this can easily be achieved with MAXV so a beady eye must be kept on the speed, especially during aerobatics.  In fact, owing to the weight advantage over the RV8s, MAXV has to use a very low engine power setting in order to not get away from the rest of the Team during the display.  G-limits are plus 6G to minus 3G although the majority of the routine is flown between 3.5 and 4.5G.

G-CJSM – No 2
(Leaders right hand side)

RV 8

The RV-8 retains the fighter-like feel of centerline seating but the wider fuselage contains larger cockpits that afford more room and a feeling of space over that of the RV4.  The RV8 has a larger fuel capacity than the ‘4’ – around 170 litres – and with its efficient airframe provide long range and high cruise speeds, so long distances can be covered easily.  The speed and the excellent climb rate provide options for dealing with weather and terrain that simply aren’t available to most pilots.  With a single occupant, it would take off in 250’ and climb out at 2600 fpm.

G-CJSM is fitted with a SuperiorXP IO-360 180 hp engine combined with a metal Hartzell 2 blade constant speed propeller and also has a fully inverted fuel and oil system for aerobatics that ensure the noisy bit at the front stays noisy when upside-down!  The aircraft has also been modified with a display smoke system.  Steve started the build of CJSM in 2014 in his garage from a quick build kit (although despite the use of the word ‘quick’, it’s all relative!), completing it just before Christmas 2016.  This is a very rapid build time for a home build aircraft and is purely down to Steve’s work ethic.  Max speed for the RV8 is slightly up on the ‘4’ at 202 kts but the G limits remain the same.  Cruise is the same as the RV4 which means that transits are easily done for all of the Team.

G-EGRV – No 3
(Leaders left hand side)

RV 8

Barry’s ‘8’ was bought from another user and so not built by him.  EGRV, like VFDS is fitted with a SuperiorXP IO-360 180 hp engine combined with a composite MT, 3 blade constant speed propeller and fully inverted fuel and oil system.  EGRV has been modified with a display smoke system which, like all of the aircraft in the Team, is in the rear baggage compartment.

However, unlike the RV4 the RV8 also has a forward baggage compartment which means that the ‘8’ has slightly more utility than the ‘4’ when it comes to baggage carrying ability.  He had the registration changed from its original markings to make his wife’s initials plus the ‘RV’ of the aircraft type.  As far as can be made out, there is no appreciable difference in performance between the 2 types of propeller the Team use.

G-CIBM – No 4
(Outside right hand side)

RV 8

Gerald’s RV8 was built from a quick build kit taking approximately 2 years in total to complete.  CIBM is fitted (as with VFDS and EGRV) with a SuperiorXP IO-360 180 hp engine combined with a MT Composite three blade constant speed propeller and fully inverted fuel and oil system.

However, unlike the RV4 the RV8 also has a forward baggage compartment which means that the ‘8’ has slightly more utility than the ‘4’ when it comes to baggage carrying ability.  He had the registration changed from its original markings to make his wife’s initials plus the ‘RV’ of the aircraft type.  As far as can be made out, there is no appreciable difference in performance between the 2 types of propeller the Team use.

G-VFDS – No 5

(Outside Left)

RV 8

Berty joined the team for the 2016 display season, having left the RAF after completing 13 years service as a fast-jet pilot and now has just shy of 3,000 total flying hours.  During his RAF career he flew the Tornado GR4 on many operational missions and was also a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Grob 115E Tutor.  

G-SOUT – No 6

(Box – Behind Leader)

RV 8

Mark’s RV8 was bought by him in April this year as a built unit and thus was not constructed by him.  G-CDPJ is fitted with an ex-RAF Bulldog Lycoming  IO-360 200 hp engine combined with a composite MT, 3 blade constant speed propeller with a fully inverted (most of the time!) fuel and oil system.

CDPJ is the only aircraft in the Team without the ‘vertical inlet’ air system and so has no chin intake under the nose.