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Old Formosas Never Die

It keeps climbing out of the bin

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Nigel Hawes reviews the GWS kit - 28/10/10

Marc Humphries13/08/2009 21:08:54
210 forum posts
14 photos
I've sworn that the last two seasons will be the last for my tatty Formosa.
Permanently stained from mud and dung underneath, more splits in the cowling than the last Tory government, fuselage glued back together and having to make do with a piece of coke bottle for a canopy - since the foam one disappeared into woodland after one flick roll too many.  But it's still here.
Just come pack from the local park and running 4 packs through it.  Can still be wrung out.  Flies as steady as a rock in calm conditions and eats up the sky like an IMAC job - well almost.  Even shed a prop. blade on the last flight.  All 130 Watts shuddering away at the front couldn't stop it.
Classic model!

Edited By Marc Humphries on 13/08/2009 21:09:40

Romeo Whisky14/08/2009 18:22:06
724 forum posts
202 photos
I have to agree - the Formosa is definitely one of the great classics. 
It was my first low-winger and I remember at first I had to calm down for a while after each flight!
First crash (about four years ago?) shortened it by the length of the cowl, broke its back and marmalised the foam firewall,  New ply firewall epoxied on, new cowl and and KMS brushless upgrade.  That brushless flew a few times and then started smoking during bench testing.  A couple of crashes and yet another brushless upgrade (Emax) since and it still flies a dream - actually seems better than ever and the added weight of all that epoxy seems to just improve it!  Still fly it regularly - keep thinking of buying a new one but can't see the point when this one flies so well!
Andy Ramsay15/08/2009 23:40:39
85 forum posts
26 photos
I reluctantly binned my original just a couple of weeks ago, due to lack of space/too many models rather than not fit for purpose. Used for lots of experiments latterly like trying to fit the EDF nacelles from a CC Lee Me262.
It's almost as elderly brother is currently being tarted up in Red Bull colours.
I agree. A true classic. 
Steve Hargreaves - Moderator17/08/2009 09:39:10
6755 forum posts
197 photos
Totally agree....I've just dug mine out from the fit a spare motor & ESC into it.......amazing model...!!
Incidentally Marc I find that lining the inside of the cowl with parcel tape heals up the splits & stops more developing

Edited By Steve Hargreaves on 17/08/2009 09:39:30

buster prop22/01/2010 10:16:15
495 forum posts
13 photos
Old Formosas never die... I've just been given a tatty Formosa airframe because I mentioned to someone at a club night that I used to have one and wouldn't mind another. Half of the decals have gone, the stick motor mount has been replaced with a rough ply plate and the long bolt which holds the wing on has disappeared. Also he had put in a c/f rod wing strengthener but hadn't glued it all the way across! I've now glued it in, filled in the holes with Wilco lightweight filler and sheeted over the undercarriage positions, previously open. Have servos, ESC but not sure which motor to use. I've made a start on the wing first and will paint the plane with bright acrylics.
Garry Pollard22/01/2010 14:01:21
1091 forum posts
So Im not the only nutter. Dug mine out of retirement a couple of weeks ago(I had acctually slung it in the loft) took it to the patch and it flew a dream. It was never much good with the brushed motor I felt , but with brushless and lipo it is a different model. Dont think it will ever die
A true classic
The Americans love it according to their forums
John Privett22/01/2010 14:23:11
6039 forum posts
241 photos
Marc, that description sounds very much like my old Limbo Dancer. 
It's over 10 years old (and looks it!) I must have "retired" it at least 5 times,  yet it still keeps finding its way back to the field.
buster prop26/01/2010 21:59:34
495 forum posts
13 photos
The Americans fly Formosas with insanely powerful motors and glasscloth cover the wings to take the stress. About 100-120W is enough for a Formosa if kept light. My old one flew great on a cheap 2408-12 motor and 2 cells. It woudn't have done unlimited vertical climbs or prop hang but that's not what Formaosa flying is about (for me anyway). I just like to fly fast low passes, big loops, bunts, inverted at a safe height and anything else that I feel confident to try. I eventually destroyed mine by trying a cuban 8 too low. It's tribute to the design that they perform so well when over powered.  
Simon B27/01/2010 09:44:55
1936 forum posts
284 photos
Daft thing is that once you've factored in the cost of the covering etc, you could buy a wood ARTF that's made to take the strain these nutters are putting their formosas under!
ken anderson.27/01/2010 10:20:12
8632 forum posts
779 photos
i've had my limbo dancer for nearly 10 year''s only had three fuz's and six new wing's.............still good as new.....         ' sss.........
                  ken anderson ne 1....
Marc Humphries01/09/2010 13:52:32
210 forum posts
14 photos
Well... the old girl came a cropper yesterday evening.
Flat calm and bright sunshine saw me put 4 packs through the thing.  Inspired by the IMAC article in the latest RCME, I had a little routine in mind.
All was going well until the last landing on the last pack.  Oh yes, it wasn't me trying the roll at the top of the loop, or the stall turns with hestitation rolls in the up and down lines.  Not even the ridiculously slow inverted passes before flipping the thing upright with a burst of throttle and full down.
Nope, in an attempt to land as close as possible I let the old girl head straight for me.  The wings started to rock, and as it flew past me, in the time it took me to swivel round, it hit the deck port wing first. 
Fuselage in two pieces, snapped behind the canopy.  Wing bolt holder pulled through - still attached to the wing.  One more split in the cowl.  I know - I know, it's a four year old piece of ceiling tile that cost all of £25.
However, this morning saw all of ten minutes of repair time with cyano and some light weight glass cloth - and she flies again - or will do in about 15 minutes time.
Keep the faith; Keep the foam.

Edited By Marc Humphries on 01/09/2010 14:03:51

David Ashby - Moderator01/09/2010 13:54:55
10987 forum posts
1706 photos
614 articles
Give it a decent burial when the glue in it weighs more than the foam Marc
Marc Humphries01/09/2010 14:02:39
210 forum posts
14 photos
David, believe me I keep saying it's time to go. But the thing flies so well  I just can't do it! 
As I fly from quite rough fields with hand launches and belly landings, all my intended replacements (Extra, Pulse, Funtana etc) get down selected because the undercarriages will last precisely one landing...

Edited By Marc Humphries on 01/09/2010 14:03:05

Romeo Whisky01/09/2010 19:25:16
724 forum posts
202 photos
Flew mine for the first time for a while yesterday.  Halfway through the second flight I got a sudden dead-stick, and after landing it safely, as I went to pick it up I saw smoke rising from the cowl which was slowly melting.  I rapidly disarmed it and found that the motor was charred black.  Back at the bench I found the home-made wooden motor mount all charred too, but amazingly the ESC ESCaped unharmed!
So today I made a new motor mount.  Stuck in a new meatier motor (its THIRD) and tomorrow we will be back in business (weather permitting).  It looks a wreck up close but in the air it's as beautiul as it ever was.   I've even got a new one still in its box, but I can't bring myself to dispose of this beautiful flyer as long I can keep it in the air!

Marc Humphries01/09/2010 20:27:20
210 forum posts
14 photos
That's my girl!
Steve Hargreaves - Moderator01/09/2010 21:41:30
6755 forum posts
197 photos
Still got mine too......bruised, battered but unbowed.....currently running about 100watts on 2S Lipo....makes me work for those manouevers & still flys great......
Rumour has it there are still some new kits around.....
Tony Smith 702/09/2010 08:59:56
812 forum posts
28 photos
Its a lovely looking model.    How suitable would it be for a relative beginner?   As a second aileron machine?
Marc Humphries02/09/2010 09:31:51
210 forum posts
14 photos
Hi Tony,
I think you'll be fine with a Formosa as a second aileron model.  It has really forgiving flight characteristics yet can ramp up the performance when you are ready.  It really does need a brushless conversion though - 100 to 150 Watts is ideal.
Your throttle becomes your best friend. At 50% the Formosa will cruise, giving you plenty of time to think - yet still loop and roll.  At full chat, it becomes quite lively - able to pull three or four vertical rolls.
Here's an old thread that will give you some clues.Formosa Rocks

Edited By Marc Humphries on 02/09/2010 09:34:23

Tony Smith 702/09/2010 13:50:23
812 forum posts
28 photos
Cheers.  My electric glider's up on blocks at the moment undergoing an upgrade and (ahem) repair, but I'm already thinking about a possible next model.
Formosa appeals to me. I suppose it would actually be my third aileron model if I count the twist-wing glider that I used to fly.  Nonetheless I'm sure it would be quite a handful even if I build it light and relatively low powered.

Edited By Tony Smith 7 on 02/09/2010 14:04:01

Romeo Whisky02/09/2010 15:48:45
724 forum posts
202 photos
I first flew my Formosa several years ago on the stock brushed and geared 350 can motor, and after having only flown the TwinStar with ailerons at that time, I found it VERY responsive by comparison.  I remember flying it with buttocks firmly clenched and had to calm down for a few minutes after each flight.   I know of a case where an old hand used to i/c models flew one for the first time and the expletives poured out of him as he'd never flown anything so incredibly responsive.
So start on low rates with plenty of exponential on the ailerons and elevator, and prepare to be exilhirated!   It flies straight and true (provided you do!), and goes where you put it.   
And if it breaks you can just keep glueing it back together like Marc and me.  It must be the cheapest thrill available in RC aeromodelling.

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