Day 7 of our aircraft profile for the B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight is the display team known as Team Raven, who are not only making their debut in Newcastle this Saturday, but are making their debut in Northern Ireland on the 8th August 2015.
Team Raven are a formation aerobatic display team that formed in May 2014. They are the phoenix to the disbandment of Team Osprey and Team Viper, the former a Yak 52 team which consisted of Bob Oliver (now the Team Raven commentator), Steve Lloyd and Barry Gwynnett.
Having formed embryonically in late 2013 with Steve and Barry they were looking for more RV owners with formation and display experience. Gerald Williams was an obvious choice with a soon-to-be completed RV8 and fresh from Team Viper; along with him he brought Mark Southern, also from Team Viper with a recently acquired RV8. Originally flagged to have Gerald as the lead pilot, a recent life and mind-set change from Simon ‘Sid’ Shirley in February 2014 lead to the purchase of an RV4 and the Team had a leader.
Despite this apparent disparate collection of pilots, the Team have known each other for many years; indeed, Steve, Barry, Gerald and Sid have flown in and around Swansea in Yak 52s for many years and Gerald has flown with Mark for a number of years in ex-military fast jets. This has resulted in an extremely close knit Team that revels in each other’s company.
Entirely self-funded, the Team has striven to create a professional and effective display team with a corporate image right off the bat that sets the right tone in all that they do. Although in some senses they are differing characters, the Team Raven pilots (and indeed support crew) share the same professionalism, drive, enthusiasm and passion for aviation and display flying; they are also great mates with a shared sense of humour!
The choice of aircraft is purely down to the vision of Steve, who having bought an RV4 in 2008 declared that “these things are the future of affordable performance light aviation”. He was right. Initially keeping the RV4, Steve sold his Yak 52 and embarked on building his RV8 whilst trying to convince the other 2 members of Team Osprey to sell the Yaks and buy RVs – he was 50% successful. The Team name ‘Raven’ came from a play on the letters ‘RV’ and makes more sense if written ‘RaVen’ as per the badge on the sides of the aircraft fuselages.
The Ravens use Van’s RV aircraft with a mix of 1 RV4 and 4 RV8s. All are self build aircraft, albeit only Ravens 2 and 4 have been self built by the Team. They are of aluminium construction and use standard Lycoming io-360, 180hp engines coupled to constant 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 a aerobatic ability and as such are ideal for the requirements of Team Raven.
The Team have self-modified their aircraft with smoke systems. 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.
We really look forward to seeing Team Raven in their Northern Ireland debut this Saturday, the the 8th of August!
Check back tomorrow for another aircraft profile, and it is the start of the jets! (Information from the Team Raven website –http://ravendisplayteam.co.uk/ and photo from Frank Grealish)