Of all the models I've built flown and reviewed in the last year there's one that stands out by nature of the volume of enquiries I've since received - Seagull's Turbo Raven - there's something about the model that's provoked calls and emails from near and far, from Australia and South Africa in particular.

I can see why it's popular - it's a great looking, well made machine and although it's not scale (the undercarriage in particular doesn't reflect the stalky gear fitted to the original) it's close enough and the only Raven on the market in this price bracket.

Let's run through the questions I've been asked:

Q - what's it really like?
A - read the July 2011 review, it's all in there.

Q - do you still fly it?
A - yes

Q - do you still like it?
A - very much so.

Q - would you change the power system
A - no, around a kilowatt is fine for me. Although you could use a but more I wouldn't recommend any less.

The video sums up the model quite nicely. It was being flown with a view to helping the camera man keep track so aerobatics were kept to a minimum but the smoothness and presence is well demonstrated - I do tend to fly it like a jet. Mine is a model that doesn't see a huge amount of airtime, it only flies on nicer days and when the grass is smooth but it's certainly a 'keeper'.

I can't stress how important it is that any pilot gets the C of G forward - relying on what's quoted in the manual is leaving the airframe open to the real risk of something bad happening. It's further proof (if any were needed) that some ARTF models see very little flight testing at the factory before their release.

It's not particularly aerobatic in the Extra 300 sense but some things it can do well such as knife-edge and always it'll carve beautifully smooth lines. Takeoff certainly isn't like the full size and my Raven needs a moment to gather speed before the elevator can be squeezed but once it's going then it really is going and likewise landings need space and plenty of room to bleed off speed in the final circuit and approach.

I've settled on the following control surface movements;

  • Rudder - 30mm each way
  • Elevator - 18mm each way with 20% expo
  • Ailerons - 13mm each way with 20% expo
That's it really. Generally speaking RTF and ARTF models fly well these days yet, at the same time, experienced pilots find many a little boring so, while not difficult (albeit still for experienced pilots) the Raven manages to retain the interest and keep me involved.