About A470 Soaring

This is the blog for a few guys who spend their time flying radio controlled gliders, or slope soarer's, from the many and varied slopes around SE Wales.

This usually begins at the northern end of Cardiff, driving north up the A470 up to the Heads of the Valley's and the southern fringe of the Brecon Beacons. But the A470 road continues its windy way all the way to N Wales.

There are many slopes available for most wind directions, the most famous being the area between Nant-y-Moel and Treorchi known as The Bwlch, which has some of the best slopes and flying in Europe with many F3F competitions being held there each year and visited by many fliers from Europe and around the world. At 1500 feet (450m) above sea level, there is usually more wind than not, and certainly more than at sea level.

If you require any further information, are new to slope soaring or are visiting the area, please contact Steve at steve.houghton59@gmail.com . I look forward to hearing from you.

Take a look at Page 2 (look below and to the left here) for Google maps of our most popular Flying Sites.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast & Zagi Bash

I hope everyone has had a good week? This Sunday is looking like being the best flying day of the weekend although the wind is looking light.

Saturday - Rain is forecast with a 14 mph westerly wind, so if you can get away from that rain then there could be some good flying to be had either at Rhossili or on Mickey's at the Bwlch.

Sunday (Zagi Bash day) - A dry but cloudy day with a 6 mph south westerly forecast. So your slope choices will be Mickey's at the Bwlch or Meio Common.

That being the case, Zagi Bash will take place on Mickey's, but I'm guessing that people will meet up at the Ice Cream slope lay by.  Now the Bwlch can be a bit of a funny place when wind under 10 mph is forecast. Usually you can count on there being up to 10 mph more wind up there than is forecast for Cardiff airport, but if less than 10 is forecast than one of two things can happen, in my experience.
  1. You will get more wind, and so with 6 mph forecast there could be 10 - 12 mph, or
  2. The wind remains at 6 mph.
I have experienced both. There have been days when I've driven up there and the leaves on the trees have barely been moving, and I have convinced myself that there will be more wind up there. However, upon arriving at the slope there has still been barely a breath of wind. That has happened on more occasions than I care to remember.

The first time we held a PSSA event on Mickey's, we walked up to the slope and I had to resort to flying a powered thermal soarer as there was barely a breath of wind. The wind did pick up by midday to about 12 mph if my memory is correct, but this is hardly what you want for a slope combat competition. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the forecast changes before Sunday and we have some fun, combat flying.

See you there.

The Bwlch

Monday, 13 November 2017

Demise of the Moth?

Yesterday I headed up to the Bwlch for a foamie flying session, where I met up with Mike, Phil, Josh and Clive.

I was intending on checking the balance and control throws on the Genesis before next Sunday's Zagi Bash, but it was clear as soon as I launched it that the model was tail heavy, as the elevator was extremely sensitive, and it hit the ground with a thud, causing one of the elevon snakes to become unstuck from the metal snap link. So with the Genesis safely back in the car I grabbed the Moth to give that a fly.

Now in colder conditions I wear a pair of thermal, finger less gloves to keep my hands from getting cold, but they also allow me to operate switches etc easily enough. But after attempting to fly the Genesis, my fingers were frozen and I decided to put on a pair of proper gloves.

The launch of the Moth was fine, however it needed some up elevator trim adding as it constantly wanted to dive, and I attempted to do this by feel whilst keeping my eye on the model. But the next thing I knew, the model was diving and I had no control over it. I looked down at the TX and noticed that I'd only gone and switched it off by mistake and I then quickly turned it back on again, but by this time it was too late and the model had already disappeared below the ridge line.

I got as close to the edge of the ridge as I dare but I could see no sign of it, so there was nothing else to do other than drive down to the lay by close to the hairpin bend in the road and walk up the side of the slope to see if I could find it.

As I left the road, I found the ground was very deceiving. It was very long, tufty dried grass, but underneath it was full of deep holes, and boggy too, which you just couldn't see. All the while my eyes were scanning the slope for any sign of the purple and yellow colour scheme.

Now it had to be around the slope somewhere as it wasn't that far out when it went down, and the 25 mph ish wind would have pushed it closer into the slope, but I was having no luck where I was and so I decided to go back up to the top and then traverse the slope about 30 metres from the top, beginning at the far end where the access is easier.

The closer I got to the Wrecker part of the slope, the more difficult the terrain became and I felt I could go no further as this could compromise my own safety, and so I headed back.

By now I was wet and tired and ready to go home. Mike said he'd be taking his dog for a walk on Monday and so would have a look for it then, and today I have heard from him and he couldn't see it, so he's going to send a drone down for a closer look.

The NCFM Moth 48"

Friday, 10 November 2017

New Featured Post

Winter arrives at the Bwlch was published in November 2015. I remember this well as Phil was flying for the first time the 2ch (rudder/elevator) glider he'd picked up. No sooner had he landed it then he was selling it on eBay.

Wayne was struggling to get his Mk3 Wildthing in the air and keep it there in the light air, a problem I didn't have with my Mk2 Wildthing, which flew lovely as usual. I still say the Mk2 wing is way better than the Mk3, particularly in lighter conditions.

Whatever happened to Wayne? We don't see him anymore. Maybe wifey banned him from coming out with the boys and having fun.

Anyway, check out the post and video in the left hand side bar.

Weekend Flying Forecast 11th/12th November and other stuff

So it's the middle of November and apart from a couple of frosty mornings, it still isn't very cold, which suits me fine as I'm definitely a warm weather person.

Saturday - a rainy day with a 15 mph NW breeze.

Sunday - a bright and sunny but cooler day with a 16 mph NW breeze

Your slopes of choice will be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch, Abertysswg, or if you only have an hour or two to spare and don't want to travel very far, Meio Common.

I have some time available on Sunday so I may just head up to Meio or the Ice Cream slope, depending on where others fancy flying.

Zagi Bash 

Just a reminder that Zagi Bash is taking place at the Bwlch on the following Sunday, the 19th. Obviously we won't know which slope until nearer the time as it is weather forecast dependent.

I have just finished building my Genesis SL for this event and I used my usual laminate sandwich method for the build, (see my Wildthing rebuild for details). This has really stiffened up the foam wing and adds plenty of bash resistance. I also used control snakes for the elevons instead of wire rods, and buried the snakes into the foam as exposed wire control rods are easily damaged as a point of contact during combat. In fact I have tried to reduce any point of contact that could result in damage to the model.

This needs a test flight this weekend. I balanced it roughly last night so I need to get that right before next Sunday, even if it means going out the day before too.

The top

The underside

Valenta L213A Video

A few weeks ago I was on Meio with a few others and Chris took some video of me flying my L213. The wind was light, at about 15 mph ish if I remember correctly, but Big Bird, (as I affectionately call the L213), flew very nicely indeed. Here is the video and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 28th/29th October

What a weird month weather wise it has been! I can't remember a October as warm as this. Now I'm not complaining because I don't particularly like the cold, especially when I'm top of a Welsh mountain and exposed to whatever weather nature sends my way.

Anyway, here is your flying forecast for this coming weekend.

Saturday - Cloudy but dry with a NW - WNW wind of 15 - 28 mph, depending on what time of day you're flying as the wind appears to be gradually increasing until the middle of the evening when it begins to subside again.

Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope, (if the wind is NW), or Mickey's (if it turns more westerly, although it will probably be a little off face). The Ice Cream slope doesn't perform well if the wind shifts from NW to WNW as the air flow appears to become disturbed as it passes over Back of Wrecker. If the opposite were to happen and you get a NNW, the Ice Cream slope remains flyable, just about, but then I would probably move over to the VR98 anyway.

Your other slope choices would be Abertysswg and Meio Common.

Sunday - Another cloudy but dry, chilly day with a NNW of 13 - 22 mph but slowly decreasing to 10 - 13 mph. So your slope choices would be the VR98 or Hirwaun Common. Possibly the Ice Cream slope if by chance there is a little more west in the wind.

I am hoping to try the Ice Cream slope on Saturday, so hopefully I may see some of you there.

Happy flying

Friday, 20 October 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 21st/22nd October

Firstly let me begin with apologies for not providing a flying forecast for last weekend. It was my birthday on Sunday and I made a last minute decision to take the Friday off work, as the weather conditions looked like some decent flying might be possible. As it turned out, I did have some decent flying and I also managed to fly on the Saturday. More of that later.

So without further ado, here is your weekend flying forecast.

Saturday  - Don't bother, stay in bed, build a model, go to the pub, anything else but find a big hill to fly off as severe gales and heavy rain are forecast.

Sunday - A better looking day but with possible showers. Wind NW to WNW 30 mph gusting to 45 mph, so lead sleds and ballast at the ready. Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch or, Meio Common or, Abertysswg.

So as I said earlier, I went flying on Friday and Saturday last week. Friday was the better day wind wise with 25 mph constant and gusts to around 36 mph on Meio Common. The L213 got an outing and flew very well, but I also had my first flights with the Phoenix Models Carrera that I bought from Big Phil. What a superb little model that is! Very stable but also aerobatic. I can see I'm going to have a lot of fun flying that.

The following video of the Carrera was taken on the Sunday when the wind speeds were an awful lot lighter than on Friday.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast

Here is your forecast for the weekend. Don't bother! 😞☂

Saturday - Showers with a SW 10 mph wind. So if you do fancy braving the rain then Mickey's or Meio will be the place to fly. However, Mickey's could be shrouded in clag, so Meio may be the better bet, and you can make a hastier exit off the slope there too.

Sunday - Prolonged rain with a 15 mph SW wind, however I have seen reports of 25 mph wind speeds. Your slope choice is as per Saturday, but personally I wouldn't bother.

So instead, why not come along to the centre of Cardiff and watch me and 25,000 others running in the Cardiff half marathon, in the wind and rain. Yuck 😞

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, I hope it is a good one for you.