3D Robotics

First impression of Raven clone model

Today the $170 Raven clone we were talking about the other day arrived. Here are some quick impressions after unpacking it.

First, it's BIG. The wingspan is 60" (152 cm), which is about 15% bigger than the real Raven RQ-11 (130cm). Here you can see it head to head with a stock EasyStar.

The build quality seems pretty good. It's all balsa/ply, with no fiberglass or plastic. The tail boom is an aluminum tube. None of it seems very sturdy, however--this is nothing like the real Raven, which is made of carbon fiber and kevlar and designed to crash land.

However, the model comes with NO instructions, and I really have no idea how the wing is supposed to attach to the body, or where the CG is supposed to be, to say nothing of where the rudder and elevator servos are supposed to go, since the interior of the body is totally empty. There are hatches in the wing for the aileron servos, but no mounting rails.

The tail boom just slides into a hole in the body. I guess you're supposed to drill screw holes or something. No clues given.

The motor mount. No information given on suggested motor or prop.

Here's the inside of the body. Basically, this is an empty vessel. You'll have to do a lot of work creating a plywood interior framework for electronics and such.

Wings are built-up balsa. I suppose you're supposed to epoxy the three segments together. I don't see any way to have the wing disassemble into pieces for transport.

It comes with a small bag of generic hardware, including some joke foam wheels and mounting brackets for landing gear that it doesn't have. This is almost certainly a hardware pack intended for another plane. There seems to be no connection to the Raven, although the control horns and fabric hinges could certainly be used on this model. Perplexing...

Bottom line: I really don't think this is the plane for me. Even with instructions, this is going to take many hours to get ready to fly. It's going to be hard to transport, with its large size and one-piece wing, and I'm worried about how it will handle hard landings. The tail boom mount looks fragile to me, and I really can't see how the wing mount can be anything but a fracture waiting to happen.

I think this might work as a very large display model for shows, but I can't really see it holding up to much real flying.

And without instructions, I wouldn't even try making it. For a $170 model, I'd expect more polish. In short, based on what I've seen so far, I can't recommend this.

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  • Also . this is a much better unit , right in the USA already . including their markup for only 99$ .


  • Comment by Adnan Ülker on March 31, 2010 at 7:49am
    Yes you are right about main wing screws. My partner in China fly with US Army FPV Airplane. He use rubber bands for to fit main wings. He says main wing screws are not usefull and safe for hard landing.

    There is no instruction manual even Chinese. I just learned also. Wood airplanes more difficult than foam and needs instruction manual. Therefore I will not to continue with this airplane, I will not sell.

    Best regards.
    Hi Folks . just come across this comment of 2 year old . while looking for help on building the US Army plane .
    I did not read this comment by Adnan . Bought and got shipped 1 unit last week .  July 2013 that is .. 3 yrs after this note by Adnan " i will not sell this "  
    Worst still the unit is totally different plane from this . Real one the elevator and rudder is on different location .  2013 one the thin balsa rudder is glued into a small 2 inch slot on the horizontal stab .I had to cut holes in the rudder & Horizontal stab to fit the servos . 
    And yes Chris , the 2 long thin screws is still there . No manuals .   http://www.fpvhobby.com/25-us-army-fpv-airplane.html
    Incidentally I order 3 planes .   a Mugin 2.6 , a  SKywalker black 188 .  A US army . None has manual .
    Wrote to Adnan , to send PDF , no reply ever since .
    Very questionable seller . Adnan seems does-not know much about his products . or China side . He is just a translator getting commissions .  Refund & Ship to China / Turkey ?  and hoping to see your money ? I think not .
    In future i'd try fvpmodel.com ( seens they sell identical stuff )  .  An American guy called me , Jason , seems like he is the sales director . Hope your co. can do better Jason . If you read this thread , be a good guy & post a pdf manual will you ?   sometimes a simple manual full of fotos would be enough .
  • Moderator

    @Chris - You want to sell the wing?

  • Admin
    That is good Ravi , But I think this model is no longer available for sale if I am not wrong. ( I asked for it but no response)
  • I can use CAD as well.
    I also can do FEA analysis (stress, high stress points, what will break first, how it will deform ,etc...)
  • fiberglass spy plane would be awesome
  • I have been flying my Eyespy, a similar layout model for the past seven years.
    Originally developed from stubby version of one of my Free Flight Contest models, I had been unaware of its basic similarity to the Raven.
    http://www.windandwavemodels.com/Eyespy.html There is a link on the page to a 3 View drawing.
    This web page is rather outdated and I now have ply/basswood front shells, versions with flaps and ailerons and ailerons only. I have used it with Dean Goedde's Attopilot autopilots also.

    I don't think this new Raven clone is too far wrong in basic design, but in these days of foam "by-em-and-fly-em" there are many people out there who lack the building skills to solve even simple structural modifications and might be intimidated with the model being plug and play. I am sure that with a bit of reworking that this clone could become a very successful model.

    Eyespy Page
  • Dear Gary.

    Thank you very much for your kind reply.

    I like this words of Robert Bosch : “I would rather lose money than trust”

    Best regards from Istanbul.
  • Moderator
    Adnan, very impressed with your responses well done good luck with your site and sales.
  • Chris

    Many thanks for your nice words.

This reply was deleted.