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RANS S-20 Raven

Posted on Sat Oct 11 2014 by Richard

There was some excitement recently at Sharper Edge when we went down to Hays, Kansas to fly the RANS S-20 Raven.

A couple of weeks ago (the end of September) the Sharper Edge team made a trip down to Hays, Kansas to go on a factory tour with Randy Schlitter, owner of RANS Aircraft. We were very impressed with the clean, organized layout of the factory and with the build quality of the demostration aircraft.

The highlight of the visit was when Randy took both Warwick and myself in turns for a demo flight in the Raven. Here is a short video of our flights.

What a joy! The aircraft has wonderful handling qualities and control harmony, and even the ground handling is very docile for a tail wheel aircraft. This particular demonstration aircraft had big off field tires – they looked to be about 30″ tires with only about 7 psi. That should have given me a clue as to what sort of performance to expect from the aircraft, as the big tires, slow take-off and landing speeds and excellent handling make this the perfect aeroplane for exploring off airport operations.

After a very short taxi to the runway which sits behind the RANS factory, we took off (short, very short take-off run!) with an initial climb of about 1,000 fpm. After a few maneuvers to get a feel for the aircraft, including slow flight and stalls which were very docile, Randy demonstrated the off airport capabilities.

A field with some tire tracks and a short hill was selected, and Randy made a very short landing with the big tires soaking up any bumps in the tire tracks. Take-off was by the “pop-up” method to minimize ground roll. That is full throttle, tail up as soon as you can, then when you reach 35 mph IAS yank on full flaps and briskly rotate to the three point attitude. The aircraft simply levitates off the ground at the minimum speed possible, with the shortest ground roll used. What a delight!

From what I heard, Warwick had a very similar flight and was equally impressed with the aircraft.

Between the big bush tires and the short field performance our imaginations were able to run loose with all the interesting places we could visit with this aircraft that we just couldn`t get to with our usual aircraft.