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.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

SWSA Update

It has been a while since the committee got together, but we did this week to chat about progress so far, membership and 2018 events.

Membership uptake is slow. We have tried to gee up people through the Facebook page, but still they are not completing the membership form and sending it in, even though club membership is 100% FREE. So we need to dangle a carrot or two to persuade people to fill out that form.

2018 events so far include the PSSA annual Fly for Fun event at the Bwlch which this year is set for May 12th and 13th. Other club one day PSS events may also be included throughout the year with an invitation extended to PSSA members.

Bwlchfest will return on June 9th and 10th, and I shall be praying for some decent summer weather, which is not what we had last June.

Kombat Kings will be a slope combat competition series, beginning on Sunday March 25th, (which just so happens to be the start of British summer time), and will be a monthly event going right through the summer months up until October when the clocks go back.
There will be winners prizes at each event and a series winners trophy at the end of the competition in October.
But we don't just want this event to take place at the Bwlch, we may just use some of the other fabulous slopes we have in the region too.
As the SWSA does not charge a membership fee, we have to cover costs for this somehow and so it was proposed that SWSA official members, (those that have completed and returned a membership form), would pay £5.00 per event and non SWSA members a fee of £10.00. So here is a carrot, return your membership form and you can take part at half price. Other carrots will become available 😂
I am also very pleased to say that Zagi Bash King and organiser, Mike Grey has agreed to help with the organisation of this event. Thank you Mike 👍

There will probably be other events organised throughout the year and these along with those mentioned above will be listed on our new website, once it is ready to go live. We will also add limited details on our Facebook page but ultimately you will be guided towards the official website.

If you were to look us up on the BMFA website, you will find that our details have been updated there also, and that the SWSA is still affiliated to the BMFA.

And finally, the club membership form can be found on the Facebook page and will also become available to download from the website in due course. I think Nick is looking to produce a more phone friendly version for those people who do not have access to a computer.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Weekend Flying Forecast 13th/14th January

Hello fellow flyers, is anyone managing to get any flying in? I know I haven't, partly because I have a knackered LiPo in my TX which I haven't had time to sort out, and partly because it's been too cold. I'm such a wuss 😂

Here is your weekend forecast.

Saturday - a cloudy day with a 15 mph SE wind.

Sunday - a cloudy day with a 9 mph SE wind.

Your choices of slopes are limited. The far side of the Crest may be your best option. Back of Wrecker may be flyable but the wind could be too easterly and so off the face. Or, you may be able to try the sea cliffs at Southerndown. I have to say that south easterlies are the most difficult direction to fly, and I think it's fairly unusual to get them in the winter when we usually get north westerly or north easterly.

So whether you fly or not, have a great weekend all.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 9th/10th December

Winter has certainly arrived in S Wales with a light dusting of snow today, and it is looking like there could be more snow on the way during today, Saturday and Sunday, but with rain following the snow on Sunday.

Saturday - Snow showers on high ground interspersed with sunny periods but bitterly cold with sub zero temperatures at places like the Bwlch. A NW wind of 9 mph at Cardiff airport so probably about 15 mph plus on the slopes. Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope, Abertwssyg and Meio Common.

Sunday - There could be significant snowfall on higher ground but turning into rain later. Wind westerly 25 mph plus. Your slope choices will be Eglwysilan, Mickeys or on the point at Meio. Your better option though maybe Rhossili where you may escape the snow and rain.

I'm off down to Cornwall for the weekend, so have a great weekend guys.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 2nd/3rd December

December is here, and the beginning of winter, and so it does become more difficult to go out flying with temperatures on the higher slopes dropping into minus °C, when just trying to keep warm can be a challenge in itself. 

So here is your forecast for all of those brave souls intent on getting some air time.

Saturday - cloudy but dry with temperatures around 6°C, (but will probably be more like 2°C) at altitude and with the wind chill), wind NW 8 mph.

Sunday - a brighter, dry day, temperatures around 8°C, wind 11mph NW.

So your slope choices will be the Ice Cream Slope, Abertwssyg and Meio Common.

Unfortunately I won't be flying as I have to get some Christmas shopping done before Wales kick off against S Africa at 2 pm in the rugby on Saturday. And Sunday I have a family lunch to attend.

So if any of you do hit the slopes, keep warm and stay safe.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Genesis SL maiden flight

Yayyyyyy I've finally managed to maiden the Genesis 😊

On Saturday afternoon I took the Genesis and Wildthing up to Meio Common for an hour or two's flying session. I was the only person there, the wind was a bit variable, WNW - NW and chilly.

I had been having some issues with one of the elevon control snakes on the Genesis as I had used CA to glue them into the quick link extender. It just wasn't taking for some reason and once on the slope I discovered that this was the case again. I really should have checked it before leaving home. Fortunately I still had the Wildthing to fly. But there was something very strange happening with that also.

Upon launching I needed loads of down elevator trim, but also, a ton of right aileron was needed also. I can understand a few clicks of down elevator and aileron but the amount I had to give it was ridiculous. So I don't know why such a drastic change was needed as I haven't altered anything, so a major inspection is required.

I did get the Wildthing flying well and the wind was quite good, although with some thermals coming through I did get caught out once or twice in the black hole left behind in the thermals wake and the model would sink like a stone.

Chris turned up, shortly followed by Nick. Chris set up his Ascot F3F but there was a problem with one of the aileron servos not wanting to work, so he had to resort to only flying his M60.

A passing shower of rain mixed with hail curtailed flying for a short while, but once the sun reappeared, the wind died along with it and we found ourselves scratching around for lift. So Chris and I decided to pack up for the day and headed on home and watch the rugby.

I had been to a charity fundraiser on Saturday evening with Michelle, who had stayed over at my place, but after she left me by mid morning I was able to use 15 minute epoxy to glue that snake into both extenders on the Genesis and I headed up to the Bwlch where I knew a few of the guys were heading to fly on the NW facing Ice Cream Slope.

As I was beginning my walk up to the slope, I heard my phone bleep with a message and noticed a couple of the guys beginning to walk back to the lay-by. The wind was changing direction and so a walk over to the westerly side of Mickeys was required.

Mike and David decided they'd had enough and were going home, which left Richard and myself to carry on and walk up the track.

We did try to fly right at the top of track, just where it levels out, which gave me a chance for a couple of tentative throws over a gentle part of the slope, before it went over the steep part, to check out whether I had added enough balance weight into the nose and also to check the control throws and trim.

With a couple of adjustments made, I launched it off the slope, and it flew OK with just a couple of clicks of trim required to get it to fly straight and level. I made a few gentle figure of eight passes along the slope and I gained some height in order to perform a dive test to test the C of G position, although I was sensing it felt good, and in fact it was spot on, neither wanting to pull out or tuck under in the dive. It did need more aileron authority so I flicked a switch on the TX to change to high rates, and that improved the roll rate immediately with much quicker rolls and sharper turns.

The wind was still changing direction and it was becoming increasingly difficult to fly from left to right, so we moved a bit further along, and shortly after we had to move again to the furthest westerly part of Mickeys, where it was better but the air was very turbulent, which is strange for this slope as the air is usually very smooth.

It didn't take me long to get used to flying the Genesis and before long Richard and I were performing some formation flying with his Genesis and generally having a good time.

Eventually the cold got the better of our hands and we decided to call it a day after a couple of hours flying.

It appears that my idea of changing from exposed elevon control rods, (which could be susceptible to damage during a combat session), to burying snakes into the foam, was a good one as they worked very well. My "sandwich" method of covering this type of foam model works very well indeed too. My Wildthing was the first model I tried this method on and two years later, with a lot of flying under its belt, it still looks superb.

So check out the video guys and let me know what you think.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Weekend flying forecast 25th/26th November

Well guys, there are only four weeks to go until the big, Ho, Ho, Ho and Santa comes knocking delivering all sorts of RC goodies. But until then there is still some flying to do, including this weekend. But you'll have to wrap up warm because it's going to be mighty cold on them there slopes.

Saturday - A sunny day but with temperatures at sea level of around 2°C it's likely to be a hell of a lot colder at altitude. Wind is NW around 14 mph, so likely to be 20 - 25 on the slopes.

Sunday - A cloudier day with temperatures around 4°C and a 12 mph NW wind, so roughly the same as Saturday.

Your slope choices will be Mickey's, Abertysswg and Meio. I'm probably going to have an hour or two on Meio on Saturday as I want to maiden the Genesis. But I really need to do some Christmas shopping on Sunday. Oh joy!


Monday, 20 November 2017

Zagi Bash

So I was up at the crack of dawn yesterday so that I could be at the Bwlch for a 9 AM start but, upon arrival there was barely a breath of wind.

A few of us local, hardy souls made it by 9 AM but we quickly realised that there wouldn't be enough wind that day in order to hold successful combat sorties, so after chewing the fat for an hour, we decided to call it a day and we went home. I believe a few guys went back in the afternoon but from what I could gather there was only enough lift to just cruise gently along the slope face.

This event will now be held on Thursday 28th December. Unfortunately I can't make that date as I'm away in Lancashire visiting family, but I hope some of you will attend.