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, 23 June 2017

Flying forecast - weekend 24th/25th June

The steaming hot temperatures of the last week are behind us and the typically British summer weather has returned, which means better flying conditions. So without further ado, lets see what awaits us for this weekend.

Saturday - A dry day with light cloud and sunny intervals, winds westerly at around 13 - 15 mph, which hopefully will give you 18 - 20 on the slopes. Your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eglwysilan and Meio, although it will be off the face at Meio, but I know some of you prefer this to flying at Eglwysilan, due to the lack of car parking at Eglwysilan. Personally I would fly Eglwysilan to Meio in a westerly.

Sunday - Much the same as Saturday only a slightly stronger breeze at 14 - 17 mph.

I will probably fly at Egwysilan tomorrow afternoon for a couple of hours, and I know Big Phil is intending on going to Rhossili on Sunday. I would have joined him but I am running in the Swansea half marathon.

Have a great weekend all, whatever you are doing.

Happy flying.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Bwlchfest 2017 - The Video

Hey guys. Check out the video below of last weekends Bwlchfest, and if you haven't visited this blog during the past week, scroll down to see the full write up and pictures.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast - 17th/18th June

So after the pretty awful, autumnal weather we experienced for Bwlchfest last weekend, this weekend is looking quite the opposite with very warm, sunny weather but light winds.

Saturday - A hot, sunny day with temperatures around 23°C and a light, westerly breeze of around 9 mph.
Your slope choices would be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eqlwysilan and Meio, in that order I think.

Sunday - Another hot and sunny day with temperatures around 25°C and a light SSW breeze of  4 mph.

Your slope choices will be Mickey's and Meio, but the wind will not be square onto the slope face if the SSW is correct, if you stick to the usual flying positions on Mickeys. You can also fly at various points before the cattle grid, which will put you squarer onto the wind.

If you do hit the slopes, you will need something that will fly in a very light breeze, particularly on Sunday, when you may have to dust off the DLG's and e-soarers.

As for me? I'm not going to fly this weekend. I'll be at Parkrun as usual first thing on Saturday morning then having a lazy day. Sunday I am running in the annual Caerphilly 10k race, around the town and its famous castle before enjoying a Fathers Day BBQ.

Have a good weekend all and happy flying.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bwlchfest - More Photo's

Just to let you know that I've added some more photo's to the Bwlchfest Review post.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bwlchfest 2017 Review

I awoke on Saturday morning and leapt out of my bed to draw the curtains to see if the previous evenings weather forecast was correct. It was cloudy but dry at least in Newport. BBC Wales had said that rain was due in around mid afternoon, but the BBC mobile phone app gave rain at Nant-y-moel from the early morning and all day long. I was hoping that the TV forecast was correct. I looked at a couple of other apps as well, and they all gave a different outlook to the days weather.

I went through my usual routine of getting myself dressed, have some breakfast and check that I have everything I could need for a full day on the slope.
Flask? - Check.
Food? - Check.
Models? - Check.
Transmitter? - Check.
And then I proceeded to load the car.

These days I tend to drive to the Bwlch by heading along the M4 motorway to Sarn Services, and then head north following signs for Bryncethin and Ogmore Vale, as there are fewer sets of traffic lights etc to slow me down.

As I was approaching my motorway exit junction, a few spots of rain began to appear on the windscreen, and by the time I had reached Ogmore Vale, the rain was lashing down, and by now I could see Back of Wrecker and Mickeys, both of which were shrouded in low cloud, or clag as the local fliers call it.

It was still only 9 o'clock when I arrived, and the snack van was already there parked in the lay-by, so I ordered a bacon butty and a coffee and chatted to the guy in the van before sitting back in the car and out of the rain to eat my food.

The snack van. Normally you could see the gravel track beyond which leads to Mickey's

Gradually, one by one, fliers arrived, I greeted them, we talked about the weather a little before getting back into our cars to shelter from the rain, which by now was flowing like a river down the Bwlch road.

By 11:30 I decided enough was enough. Even if the rain did stop, the ground on top of the mountain would be as soggy as a rice pudding, and not very pleasant to stand around in. So I made the decision to cancel Saturdays flying and informed everyone who was sat there and had waited patiently.

Sunday morning I went through the same routine as per Saturday and I began my journey.

Upon arrival there was low cloud, but it looked like it could clear, and there seemed to be enough wind but, it is sheltered at the lay-by from south westerly winds, and only upon arriving at the slope would I know what we were likely to be in store for.

Car after car arrived, and I was thinking, "this looks promising", and I greeted fliers as they approached the snack van to grab a coffee and a breakfast bap.

Kevin the sheep arrived and took a fancy to Andy Meade's bap. 

I had already mentioned on various internet posts that I would unlock the gate at 10 o'clock, and that is what happened and the procession of cars headed on up the winding gravel track, until we could go no further, which meant that we had arrived at the south west facing slope of Mickey's.

Once everyone had arrived, I gathered them all together for a short briefing, and then without further ado, the flying commenced, in wind speeds constantly of 36 mph but gusting to 44 mph.

Quite a lot of guys turned up with models that were pretty light, mostly chevron type wings, and they struggled to launch as the wind in the compression zone would just blow their model backwards but, if you got someone to launch for you, and they walked down the slope a little way, they could manage to launch, and with the pilot holding the elevator down a little, they were able to be on the sticks straight away and push the model through the compression into clear air with fabulous lift.

The PSS guys that had turned up were well used to this as they had flown on Mickey's before but, they are also used to flying on the big rock, otherwise known as the Great Orme.

Andy Meade had brought along his unflown ¼ scale Fox to maiden, which didn'y go quite to plan as it was a little tail heavy and really twitchy on launching. The second attempt saw it take to the sky.

When it came to landing it, he made the same error I did when I began flying my L213 in that it looked a lot closer to him than it actually was, and in fact it landed in the field beyond the track, causing a control snake to snap in the tail and a loose part of the canopy. I'm sure it will take to the sky again very soon.

Gradually during the day, people left in dribs and drabs until finally it was just the hardcore PSS guys and myself left, and by 6:30 we had cleared the slope.

So my thanks go to everyone who made the effort to travel, and it seemed we had people from most areas of England and Wales, but also to Robin who came from Germany and who also supplied T shirts and caps, and also to Dirk and his friend who made the trip from Belgium.

Enjoy the following photo's and I'm sure we will do it all again next year. If you have some more good quality pics, let me know and I will add them to this post.

Gathered together for the pre flight briefing

Gauging the surroundings and 40 mph + wind speed

Maiden flight of the Fox

Get ready .......

Oooops 😓

Away on the second attempt

The PSS posse 

See you all at Bwlchfest 2018 😊

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bwlchfest - The day after

Hi guys.

I would like to thank all those who turned up yesterday for what turned out to be a great days flying, I think we had 33 fliers there sporting all types of model, from a ¼ scale Fox to chevron foamie wings, which I know some of you struggled to fly in the 40 plus mph winds.

Andy Mead with his big Fox on its maiden launch. Ooops!

Unfortunately Saturday was a total wash out with the rain just hammering down and a river running down the Bwlch road.

My Valenta L213 just loves big winds

I will follow up with a full report in the next few days.

A few of you were making enquiries about flying at the Bwlch and other local slopes and how to find out where people were flying on a weekend. Well I usually give a Flying Forecast on this blog on a Friday, and there is the Facebook group page, Slope Soaring in Wales where people often arrange to meet up. But I know some of you don't use Facebook.

I used to have a feature on this blog called the Shout Box, where you could register as a user and leave and receive messages, but I removed it because no one used it. If I felt this would get some use, then I would be happy to reinstate it. This could be used to contact other users and find out who was flying and where. The blog, Slope Soaring Sussex uses this very well, (you can see it on the right side of the main page). So if you think you would use this feature, drop me an email at steve.houghton59@gmail.com .

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Bwlchfest Sunday Update

Sunday is looking like a fine flying day with light cloud and a good south westerly blowing.

Meet at the ice cream slope lay-by before 10am ready to go through the gate. Late comers will need to park in the lay-by or on the grassy area opposite and then walk up the gravel track to the right of the snack van.

I will leave a poster with the man in the snack van.

See you there.