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R/C Aircraft Modeling Reviews

How to Really Build and Fly a GWS Formosa
Author: Steve Burgess of Remote Control RC Hobby

How to Really Build and Fly the GWS Formosa
The GWS Formosa is GWS's try at a F3A pattern plane with it's sleek lines. It's been around a couple of years now and seems to be gaining in popularity all the time..and for many good reasons! It's relatively inexpensive, easy to assemble, and a great flyer too.
In this review, I'm going to start with assembly tips and finish with ways to improve the flight performance, and I've included a flight video link at the let's get started.
The GWS Formosa kit has relatively few parts and comes with a step-by-step photo-illustrated instruction booklet. The injected foam fuselage is molded in halves and includes the rudder. The flying surfaces are one-piece foam moldings from which you cut the control surfaces.
As with all the GWS planes I've built, the molded foam pieces fit together very well and the only extra thing I do is lightly sand the fuselage mating surfaces. Also, there are some mold ridges and some of those foam "pimples" which a light sanding with some wadded up panty hose gets rid of very nicely without scratching the foam like sandpaper can.
The stock power system supplied with the plane is the GWS 350-C (geared 5.33:1), and the kit includes a choice of two props. Also included is a safety spinner, landing gear, control rods, hardware and decals.
To finish the kit and get the GWS Formosa airborne, you'll need a 4-channel radio, 4-channel receiver, 15A electronic speed control (ESC), three micro servos and an 8-cell 700-800mAh NiMH battery or else a 2-cell 1200mAh lithium battery and charger.
Wingspan - 35.4 in
Length - 35.9 in
Wing Area - 255.8 sq in
Flying Weight - 15-18 oz
FUSELAGE - start by installing the pushrod tubes. They need to be 370mm long or 14.56in. Glue the fuselage haves together using the supplied GWS glue using it like contact cement and hold the halves together with rubber bands. * Be forewarned! The GWS Formosa has the bad tendency to warp the Tail after assembly and here is a permanent fix: Run the bent section under hot water and apply pressure to straighten it. It takes about 15 or 20 min of gentle pressure.
Next, the motor and gearbox are mounted to a hardwood stick that's epoxied into a matching molded recess in the nose of the fuselage. Because the motor assembly will slide back and forth on the stick, wait until you've completed the model to mount the assembly because this makes it very easy to achieve the proper center of gravity without having to add weight. Now fit the cowl using either a pair of scissors to trim it to size or a Dremel tool.
WING - for strength, the one-piece foam wing uses a bamboo stick as a spar that's glued into a molded slot, and it's covered with a white decal to conceal it. You can also use a 3mm carbon fiber tube for extra strength. Using a very sharp knife, cut the GWS Formosa ailerons free from the wing and bevel their leading edges. Use a sanding block to make the bevel, then cut a groove in the wing for the aileron torque rods; they must be installed before hinging the ailerons to the wing.
Cut three equally spaced 10mm slots in each aileron and then glue all of the aileron hinges in the ailerons using the kit-supplied foam-safe glue.Use a pencil to mark the wing where the mating hinge slots need to be cut and then make the cutouts and glue the ailerons and torque rods into place. The next step of the wing assembly is to install the wing hold-down support. Finally, attach the GWS Formosa landing gear if you want to but for best flying leave them off.
TAIL SURFACES - like the ailerons, the elevators and rudder need to be cut free, beveled and hinged. The rudder hinges are glued into place after the stabilizer has been installed in the fuselage. Next, remove the elevator from the stabilizer, bevel its leading edge, glue the pre-bent joiner wire into place and hinge the elevator to the stabilizer. You'll want to temporarily install the wing so you can properly align the stabilizer and glue it into place using a ruler to center the assembly. Once it's dry you can then glue the rudder into place and install the control horns.
RADIO AND MOTOR - place your receiver into the cavity at the rear of the canopy opening. Glue the servos into place or use the supplied double sided tape as well as the electronic speed controller. The battery should fit neatly in the molded battery cavity but if it doesn't go ahead and enlarge the opening to fit now. You'll find that the removable canopy hatch makes installing and removing the battery very easy.
FINAL ASSEMBLY - install the GWS Formosa motor with the battery pack in place and fasten it with the supplied screw where is balances the plane. If more balancing is needed, adjust the placement of the battery but try to avoid adding any extra weight to the nose because the goal is to achieve as light a model as possible (15-18oz). If you decide to paint your GWS Formosa before applying the decals, be sure to use foam-safe water base paint and NOT oil base enamel because it will eat the foam!
The GWS Formosa flys well in stock configuration and can do aerobatics in stock as well. It flys pattern type manuevers very well (for a small park flyer) and looks great in the air, It's very smooth on low rates and tracks very well. Knife edge is pretty good too
It's not that it won't do 3D, it's just that it's not that smooth... and a bit hard to hover. Moving the CG back helps a lot
Ideal Power System: (for extreme 3D like rolling harriers, waterfalls and blenders)
GWS EPS300-B gearbox
Razor RZ-350 w/10 tooth pinion
Apogee 1200ma 3s lipo pack
Prop: 9x6 APC E or 9x9 APC E
The GWS Formosa is a fun model to fly and has lots of power even in the stock setup. The kit is very complete and takes only a few evenings to build. It's an inexpensive performer for experienced pilots with lots of aileron experience. You can experiment a lot with various power systems for nearly unlimited performance. Above all, it's not recommended for novice flyers...enjoy!


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