I am a long time glider pilot, and in recent years, I have expanded my interests to include a number of electric planes and gliders. My interests are broad and include speedy planes like my Twinjet and ProJeti, and slow planes like the Lite Stick and GWS Tiger Moth. In fact, the Tiger Moth is one of my favorites, so when I was asked if I would like to review the Beaver, I quickly said yes. For those who cannot wait to get the flying report, let me tell you it takes off in limited space. Additionally, when set up properly, it handles very nicely, but it is no Tiger Moth, so I caution you not to try to fly it too fast. However, I am getting ahead of myself.
The kit arrived from Horizon Hobby safely packed in a medium size brown box, and inside that box were the new GWS Beaver kit, and the appropriate receiver flight pack for the plane and my transmitter, which were included for this review. Upon opening the kit, I found that other than the two fuselage halves, all of the parts were nicely bagged. There was a large page of decals and a very nice full color instruction manual. All of the parts had arrived intact, which is always appreciated. The flight pack surprised me, since it included two rather large servos that were labeled mini servos, and a six-cell 600mAh battery. The GWS flight packs that I have used in the past had sub-micro servos and smaller battery packs. The GWS receiver and speed controller were as expected. As for the Beaver, everything was there, and the parts were listed and pictured on the first two pages of the instructions. I wish that all companies would include pictures and a parts list as standard features in their instructions. There were relatively few parts, so it looked like it would be a quick building plane.
Before I did any construction, I read the instructions from cover to cover several times. I looked for anything that was confusing or questionable. I found a couple things to discuss, but for the most part, the instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow. The first area I felt could use some explanation was the thrust line. The first instruction is to draw a line on the piece of wood used to mount the EPS (electric propulsion system). You carefully have to mark spots at 6 mm and 5 mm on the wooden EPS mount, and then connected these marks with a line as shown in the instructions. What the instructions do not fully explain is that by having this offset line come out looking straight when you glue in the EPS mount, you will have set the proper amount of right side thrust that is needed to help the plane fly straight. Just a little more instruction or explanation here would be helpful to the beginner. Otherwise, the modeler might not know why that line on the EPS mount was drawn.
The next instruction I had some confusion with was in building the wing. The instructions discuss having ten degrees of dihedral in a wing side. The picture shows one wing panel lifted up ten degrees with what appeared to me to be a flat opposing wing panel. Later instructions discuss mounting the wing to the fuselage with ten degrees dihedral on each side. Thus, there should be a total of twenty degrees dihedral in the wings. It would have been easier if the instructions had you put one wing panel flat on the table, and then told you how high off the table the tip of the second wing panel should be. (My wing panel ended up being 5 3/4 inches off the table with the other wing panel flat on the table.)
My final step before starting construction was to look at the parts as I went through the instructions. While doing this, I found the third, minor problem. The instructions talk about a molded place for mounting the strut fixing base into the fuselage. It was right where it was showed on the picture. However, when the instructions talked about "the designated position (hollows)" underneath the wing, I could not find any "hollows". While I found the appropriate spot, I feel that this is an area in the kit or in the instructions where there could be some improvement.
Speaking of improvements, I want to say that the addition of a battery box lid for easy access to the battery is a nice feature on this plane. The wing joining system, which is similar to that used on the Mini Max, is quickly and easily constructed. The wing, although larger than the Mini Max or the Tiger Moth, is the same type of press-molded wing.
Actual construction of the plane starts on page four of the instructions with the fuselage assembly. I carefully cut out some foam to fit the servos that I was planning to use in the plane. I skipped ahead and removed some foam to fit the 600mAh NiCad that that came in the flight pack, as the plane comes ready for a smaller 270mAh NiCad. After removing the foam, I twisted the control rods thru the foam in the designated locations, installed the wooden EPS mount and the wire for the rear tail wheel, and glued the fuselage halves together. This is one place where you should take your time. If you use the glue that comes with the plane, you will have sufficient working time. I used special paper tape for masking delicate areas. I also used it to join the two halves of the fuselage together while the glue dried. I then skipped ahead to page six to make the main wing.
Having determined the amount of dihedral, I lifted one wing tip off the table (5 3/4") with the opposing wing tip flat. Having solved the "hollow" problem by using the struts to measure the proper mounting locations, the wing was very easy to build. Using five-minute epoxy from here on out, I secured the wing strut base into the wing 10 7/8th inches from the root of the wing panel and 1 1/4 inch in from the leading edge. (Measurements are from the clevis hole in the wing strut base.)
With the fuselage glue dry, I removed the special masking tape and installed the wheels per the instructions. Next, I mounted the strut bases onto the fuselage as per the plans, and then added the battery box door. I installed the tail feathers as described and pictured on page seven of the instructions. It was very a straightforward process, as was the motor mounting and cowl installation. I followed the instructions for mounting the servos, receiver, and speed controller, and put the lead from the speed controller for the battery into the battery box. This makes swapping batteries very easy.
I used the two small pieces of bamboo for the wing hold down dowels, and glued them to the fuselage sides, after first using them to tunnel out the hold down dowel holes through the fuselage. I mounted the wing with the included rubber bands. The wing struts take a little finesse to get right, but the instructions show what to do. You use the two longer pieces of bamboo and trial fit the plastic clevises onto the ends. Then you snap one clevis to the base holder on the fuselage and the other end to the base holder on the wing. Repeat the process for the other side. One side fit perfectly, while one side seemed just a little long. After measuring the height of the wing tip from the table on the side that fit well, I got the second tip that height off the table (10 3/4"). From this, I judged that I needed to remove about 1/8th of an inch from the bamboo strut on that side. I snipped off that much and put the clevis back on the end. They now fit with both wing tips the same height off the table, so I glued the clevises to the bamboo. After they dried, I snapped the struts in place. Once they fit, I added foam to them and to the landing struts using both glue and decals to secure them. These just add cosmetic improvements. I was not sure how many opening and closings the plastic clevises could take, so I planned to leave the wings attached and use only two rubber bands to hold the wing on when the plane was not flying. As indicated in the instructions, I used six rubber bands when flying.
Adding The Decals
I had no trouble installing the decals to the wings and tail, but when I went for the cowling, I was suddenly in trouble. The decal touched the cowling and of course stuck. Just a small corner touched, but when I went to un-stick that corner, the colored top of the decal delaminated from the adhesive portion of the decal. I suddenly had a decal with no adhesive. I found no easy solution to get the two back together, so I simply used some tape to attach the first decal to the cowl. The second cowl decal was a little off line, but I just went for it, as the misalignment would be primarily on the bottom of the cowl. When doing the lines down the side, I found the small decals at the end did not exactly match the front stripe decals. Additionally, I had one where the top colored portion also delaminated from the adhesive, which was still on the decal sheet. The stripes on my plane leave something to be desired, and I take half of the blame and give half to the decals. The total building time took one leisurely afternoon.
Flying The Beaver
There were no instructions for the amount of recommended rudder and elevator movement, but the instructions did show which holes to use on the control horns and servo arms, so I copied those. After a range test at the field, and with the controls all centered and double-checked, it was time for the first test flight. I opted to use a hand toss with the motor running for the first flight. The plane flew straight and level for the first five feet, and then began to climb. I attempted a right turn when the plane was about 15 feet high and 30 feet in front of me and the plane snapped towards the right and down. I countered with up and left, and the Beaver snapped that way next. It was again climbing, so I took my hands off the sticks, and the Beaver went into level flight. It was obvious that there was too much rudder throw, but I decided to fly out the battery and compensate by using less thumb.
The plane flew very nice as long as I remembered only to use small thumb movements. It would slowly climb with only half throttle on the with the recommended 7.2-volt battery. (The instructions actually warn against using anything bigger. Besides, a seven cell or larger pack would not fit in the battery box.) After climbing it to about 150 feet, I gave it full throttle. At first the Beaver flew level and then slightly down. As soon as the plane started even a slight decent, it immediately picked up speed, and the wings began to flutter violently. I eased off the throttle and returned it to level flight, and the flutter went away. The speed in level flight was much faster than a Tiger Moth's, thanks to the Speed 300 geared motor supplied with the kit. I made a grass landing after about eight minutes of flying time. During the landing, it nosed over in the grass, but there was no damage. I decided to try a take-off from dirt, despite the rather depleted state of the battery. It was airborne and climbing after a roll out of about fifteen feet. After a minute and a half of additional flying, the motor shut off and it was time to land.
I took the plane home and adjusted the servo arms. I moved the control rods in from the fifth and last outer hole, to the third or middle hole on the control arm for both elevator and rudder. I mechanically centered the controls, and prepared the plane and battery for a second flight the next morning. I also charged up two of my smaller 270mAh 7.2volt battery packs to try them in the Beaver as well. I carefully reattached the wing and the wing struts, and the wing tips were still 10 3/4 inches off the table on both sides.
The second test flight morning was beautiful. Using a six-cell 270mAh pack, the take-off was accomplished after only about six feet of roll out. The climb at full throttle was good, and at half throttle, it still had a slow rate of climb. The adjusted rudder control worked much better, and the plane was a joy to fly. The Beaver's slowest speed appears to be about seven to eight miles per hour in level flight, and top speed is about double that in level flight with no breeze. After a minute of flight time, I turned the controls over to my friend Dick Andersen so that I could take pictures. After accidentally entering into a dive at full throttle for less than a second of dive time, again the Beaver showed signs of wing flutter. Dick and I were very happy with the half throttle performance on this flight. The flight time was about five minutes using the smaller battery pack.
For the next test flight, I used the 600mAh pack, and heard a firm "snap" when I shut the battery box door. However, two seconds into the flight, the door opened, the battery pack fell out, and the plane crashed from about four feet. The only damage was to the cowling, which was dented where it hit the ground. Thankfully, the dent popped back out when I pushed it from the inside. I reinserted the battery, and this time used a little tape over the center of the battery door. It took about eight feet to take off with the larger battery pack. During this flight, I put it through two small loops. In level flight and with throttle on full, I put the Beaver in a very short dive and pulled full up elevator, and the plane looped over. The loop would have been quicker if I had not reduced the elevator throw the previous night. The second loop was the same. Because of the wing flutter it experienced twice previously, I did not try a big dive and loop. I did try to glide it, and all I can say is you do not want to have it very far from the field when the motor dies, as it has about the same glide ratio as the Tiger Moth.
The final test flight was a nice relaxing flight with a 270mAh pack. I just cruised it around the sky, and enjoyed the look and feel of the plane. While reflecting about the test flights, I cannot recall any warning signs that indicated that the battery pack was about to die. I continued to fly the Beaver at just about half throttle until the motor stopped running. The "end" of the pack may be noticeable at full throttle, but I did not notice any warning signs at half throttle on my plane. This was not a problem, but it did require me to take a short walk and retrieve the plane twice, rather than landing it at my feet.
The plane has a slot for a second landing gear wire, and thus it is designed to use floats. I suspect that I may need to try some floats of my own before GWS gets their own float kit ready. I was happy with the plane's handling, except for the flutter in shallow, full speed dives. There was no flutter with a shallow dive at partial throttle. Other than the flutter problem, the plane flies very well with the control rods in the middle holes of the servo arms when using the mini servos, which have rather long control arms. The wheels and landing wire were strong enough for the plane, but I look forward to replacing them with floats. I just hope that the delaminating decals are an isolated experience with my kit, as I have never experienced anything like that before. To sum it up, this is another nice flier from GWS.
|Apr 21, 2006, 09:20 PM|
Hi I have a GWS DHC-2 Beaver motivated by 3 bladed 9x7 prop and an E-Flight 370 4100kv brushless motor. Power is supplied by a Polyquest 1200 mAh Lipo batt and distributed via a Castle Creations Phoenix 25 speed controller.An Optic 6 with spectra frequency selector unit and Supreme 8 ch reciver work with 2 Hs-55 micro servos.Control surfaces are hinged with Dubro micro metal coterpin hinges. I had planned for a steerable tailwheel but since I had never flown this type of plane i opted to leave well enough alone.I'm a bit more used to jets and higher speed and their wind-piercing tendencies so this is should be interesting...
|Apr 22, 2006, 10:50 PM|
This evening I had my first flight with the GWS Beaver and it was great! I flew at 35 to 40% throttle and set the elevator trim and 8%(3 degrees) of right rudder.The ease of flight is amazing! It flys itself.During takeoff I passed between the power lines(do not attemp) and after 15 minutes I landed on the lawn. The Lipo was still almost 2/3 full so a flight of 30-35 min is possible.Everyone was amazed at how it flew level with such little throttle.Landing is easy,taking off was interesting.I only needed 60% throttle to take off with serious confidence but the plane likes to turn from side to side if u attempt to take off without enough speed.Be ready with the rudder!Keep it straight and it will do the rest.
|Aug 30, 2008, 02:20 PM|
Joined Jun 2007
Did you see you put it came from horizon hobbies?
"The kit arrived from Horizon Hobby safely packed in a medium size brown box, and inside that box were the new GWS Beaver kit, and the appropriate receiver flight pack for the plane and my transmitter, which were included for this review."
|Aug 31, 2008, 08:52 PM|
|Nov 07, 2008, 01:06 PM|
Did you ever add the floats? I'm considering this plane and the GWS floats.
Do you happen to know which paints can be used on this foam without eating it?
|Nov 18, 2008, 05:44 PM|
Over 6 years of Beavering around and my original fuse is still flying (nothing else on the plane is original anymore). Floats, skiis, wheels, stock or heavily modified in various ways, like the TigerMoth, the GWS Beaver has a serious cult following.
|Sep 20, 2009, 12:49 PM|
From your experience, do you think that one could add another wing or two onto that arplane? One on the bottom of the fuse, the standard one, and another on top of that? thanks!
|Oct 01, 2009, 12:25 AM|
Joined Aug 2007
I've seen two of these fly in the past year. I think they are great, except for the guy who didn't tack down the struts very well. Twice
I dunno, they are kind of 'timeless' planes that anyone can fly, I think even more so than the Super Cub. except for you need the radio and gear. I think GWS has made a lineup of very affordable slow flyers that will sell for another 20 years. I wouldn't be surprised to see yet another slow stick at the field in 2020 myself.
|May 29, 2014, 10:32 AM|
Canada, ON, Osgoode
Joined Mar 2008
I think eagle777 might have been prophetic.
A friend of mine found one of these with its price reduced to $15 CDN. The box had been opened. And the cowl was missing. He figured he knew a guy who could McGyver it so he bought it for me.
I didn't care for the GWS motor setup, so I dug out a Park 370 I had kicking around together with a Castle 18 amp ESC. I McGyver'ed a motor mount.
I have a hockey sock full of Parkzone servos that I've salvaged from stuff I've wrecked so I used those throughout.
I had a Spektrum 4 channel rx.
Since I was trying to do this on the cheap I went to 1000 mah batteries that I use in my Apha models. They would suffice, although the battery compartment door had to be cut so that the Deans connectors actually hang out below the fuse. Not pretty, but functional.
The wire landing gear proved to be too flimsy so I built new. I added DuBro wheels.
The elevators arrived slightly damaged so I sheeted the underside of them with 1/32 balsa. That stiffened them up and restored their shape.
And then I came to the wing. It simply didn't pass muster. It was replaced by a Hobbizone wing for a Super Cub. Dirt cheap for a much better wing.
I cut ailerons and servo pockets. The fuse required a minor mod to get the wing to fit. At the same time I used the foam I cut from the fuse to build a better saddle.
I fitted an 9x4 prop and then it was time to head to the field. It took a little time to get it dialed in, but it was a real floater. To land, if I am so inclined I can simply close the throttle and let go of everything. It will land itself.
The only criticism I had was that it appeared to be slightly underpowered.
After conferring with my brother, he correctly pointed out that I was likely using the wrong prop. I had a wattmeter but it had never occurred to me to use it. as it turns out, with the 9x4 it was pulling 67 watts. I fit an 8x7 and found it pulled about 85 watts.
I haven't flown it yet with this prop but my guess is that it will work perfectly.
The GWS Beaver is simply fun to fly. Its a great trainer, and it is almost bulletproof.
In 2009 eagle777 said ' I dunno, they are kind of timeless planes anyone can fly'. I agree.
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