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.

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.

If you require any further information, are new to slope soaring or are visiting the area, please contact Steve at steve.houghton59@gmail.com or leave a message in the "Shout Box". If you're just passing through, why not leave a message in the Shout Box anyway, we'd 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, 20 October 2016

Flying forecast 22nd/23rd October

Hi guys,

It's that time of the week again where I take a look at the weekends weather forecast and advise which slopes to fly.

Saturday - A bright day with a 14 - 18 mph ENE forecast. So you have a few options of slope to fly. So lets start with the Bwlch and maybe either the Wrecker or the Crest, both of which are awesome slopes. I think you would need to assess the wind direction once you arrive to choose which slope to fly.

Your other options would be Fochriw, but look out for the para gliders as the wind speed is within their limits, although the wind speed could be a bit more up there.

You could also try Manmoel Common, There's no chance of para gliders up there and the only problem you could possibly have are the nosey ponies that roam wild up there. I have had to shoo them away on a few occasions.

Meio also has a slope that faces ENE ish and could also be a possibility if you live towards the bottom end of the A470 and don't want to travel very far.

I still want to maiden my L39 Albatross and I figure that Saturday could be the day to do this. So I'm thinking that Fochriw or Manmoel would be best for this. I will probably decide which at the last moment.

Sunday - Another bright day with an easterly of 23 - 30 mph. WOW! This means, for me anyway, there is only one slope worth flying in the whole of the UK, let alone S Wales, and that is the mighty Crest. For those of you who don't know the Crest, check out the Flying Sites page on this blog.

This is a truly awesome slope and not one for the weak of heart. To launch you have to stand as close to the edge of the vertical cliff as you dare, throw the model like it just spat in your face, then watch it as it goes up, and up, and up, as if it's in a lift, or elevator to my American friends.

A fair bit of down elevator trim will probably be required, and you can push out as far as you like and you won't run out of lift.

Landing your pride and joy is another story. Everyone has their own method but one thing is certain, the harder the wind blows, the further away from the slope edge you have to be to get it down safely due to the severity of the rotor. This may well be 100 metres or more but it is totally necessary.

I like to gain plenty of height then head down wind whilst walking. Once I feel the model has gone back far enough, (but not beyond the rise in the ground in front of me), I begin to circle and lose height before activating CROW (if available) and coming to a halt in the long grass.

But if the Crest doesn't take your fancy, then Manmoel Common can fly in an easterly, possibly Fochriw, (though it could be somewhat off face), and the Garth, (at the bottom of the A470) is also pretty good in an easterly.

To conclude, take a look at this video which shows me flying my FVK Signal last year at the Crest in wind speeds a lot less than are forecast for Sunday.

So wherever you decide to fly this weekend, have fun and happy flying.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Octobers Featured Post

So this months featured post is The Mill Hill Posse v The Bwlch Boys, which takes us back to October 2013 and where we first got to meet Paul Hampshire of Slope Soaring Sussex.

Since then, Paul and I have met up to fly, and partake in a spot of lunch, a few times, with Paul showing me the slopes of both east and west Sussex, and with us both flying that fabulous slope at Rhossili quite recently.

So take a look and enjoy.


Taffy Sloping

So my flying didn't quite go to plan on Saturday, but I did get an hour in.

However, Mike and Dave seemed to have a better time on the Wrecker, as can be seen on this video. I hope you don't mind be pinching it guys.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Flying forecast 15th/16th October

Hi all. Here is your forecast for the weekend ahead.

Saturday - Rain looks like it could be heading north but may only effect SW Wales and the SE could be left dry, hopefully. Otherwise it is looking like being a bright, dry day with a mostly southerly wind of 15 - 20mph. So your slope options will be Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch or the coastal slope at Southerndown.

Sunday - is looking like a mixture of sunshine and showers with a southerly wind decreasing slowing during the day from 20 - 30 mph at 10am down to 12 - 18 mph by 4pm. So your slope options are the same as for Saturday.

I am unable to fly on Sunday but I am intending heading up to the Bwlch on Saturday for about midday, as my new L39 Albatross PSS model needs its maiden flight.

So whatever you are doing this weekend, happy flying.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dear Santa

It's getting to that time of year when I am being asked what I'd like Santa to bring me for Xmas.

You may remember that last year, Michelle bought me the NCFM Moth.

The Moth is able to fly in a light breeze, but I fancy something a little more traditional, small and light. So I came across the Vagabond MK2 from Stan Yeo at Pheonix MP, and I've been itching to build one of Stans kits for a while now. 

It has a 39" span for elevator and aileron and an average weight of 16oz (990gm). It looks like it could be fun as well as easy to pack in the car for trips away.

So Dear Santa, please bring me a Vagabond for Christmas.

PSSA Fly for Fun Meet

Hi guys.

Last weekend saw the last PSSA Fly for Fun meet of 2016 take place at the Orme, Llandudno.

I arrived at the Orme for about 2:30 pm, after all the fun had happened apparently. The wind was NE and about 7 - 8 mph, but had been up to 14 mph when some PSS flying was able to take place, for a short time anyway.

Luckily I had taken with me my 3m F5J Thermal Instinct, as the last time I attended without taking a light wind flier, I was left not being able to fly at all. So the F5J got some action at least.

Sunday morning and once again the conditions were too light to fly all but the lightest of PSS models and many people were left having to fly sport models, myself included. So the F5J flew again as did my 2m X Models Whisper.

But the turnout was good, as was the banter, and no doubt I shall fly my PSS models on my local slopes during the autumn and winter months, and look forward to the warmer spring sunshine and the beginning of the PSSA meets in 2017.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Flying Forecast 8th/9th October

Hello fellow slopies, here is your flying forecast for this weekend.

Both Saturday & Sunday are looking similar with a 10 - 14 mph north easterly at Cardiff airport. Your slope options are the Wrecker at the Bwlch or, Fochriw. If I were flying locally this weekend my choice would be the Wrecker as the light conditions and sunshine will bring out the para gliders en mass at Fochriw, and some of these guys just don't care about the model flyers, or their own safety it seems and deliberately try to bully us off the slope.

For myself, I am heading up to the Great Orme at Llandudno for the last in this seasons PSSA Fly for Fun meets.

Conditions up there look like being very similar to S Wales but I'm taking no chances this time and taking models that will fly in any wind condition. The last time I attended this meeting the forecast was wrong and we ended up standing around for two days chatting as there was no wind at all. So the F5J Thermal Instinct is going as I will at least have electric power to get me in the air. The 2 metre Whisper is going as it will fly in 8 mph and above, and the Aermacchi and L39 Albatross PSS models are going. Unfortunately there will be no room left in the car for the large Tiffy, which still hasn't flown at the Orme because on each occasion I've flown there, the wind has been to light for it.

So whatever you are doing this weekend, happy flying.