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, 21 March 2019

Fochriw Gate

Hi guys. Back in November I reported that a gate had been erected to block access to the flying slope at Fochriw. 

The closed gate last November
Well there had been a number of complaints about this gate from the Fochriw village community group, the South Wales Paragliding & Hanglider club, and I also put my two pennith in also. I have a friend who lives in the village and I had asked her to keep an eye on the gate to see if it was remaining closed or not and this morning she reported to me that it was wide open and it has been for some time. Which is really good news for us, particularly as we may want to fly here this weekend.

So people power has struck a victory in this instance, let's hope the gate remains to be open, particularly as the warmer spring weather is on its way.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Yaaaaay I finally went flying

Hey guys. Yes it has actually happened and I went flying, albeit only for an hour last Saturday. Up until now most weekends when I have been available to fly over the winter the weather has either been lousy or so little wind it wasn't worth the fuel cost to drive to the slopes.

The forecast for Saturday was a strong WSW, and as I only had a short window to fly due to having to be in Cardiff to watch the Scotland v Wales 6 Nations Championship rugby match, I decided to head to Meio. Once there, Clive was already there but the wind was westerly and so off the slope face. There is a small westerly facing part of the slope but this isn't particularly good and, although we had a strong wind of probably 25 mph, there was a lot of turbulence and our models were being buffeted about a lot.

Clive was flying his Genesis chevron wing, which he did well to fly as he found penetration against the wind a problem. I flew my Balistik chevron wing, which I had fully loaded with ballast, and although it did get buffeted about, it penetrated very well.

Hopefully now the weather should become a little kinder although we do appear to have storm after storm coming through from the Atlantic this week with high winds and lots of rain.

Just a date for your diaries but the PSSA are holding their annual event at the Bwlch on the weekend of the 11th & 12th May so please come along if you can make it.

Here is a short video of some of Saturdays flying. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Fochriw Road Barrier

Last Saturday, Phil, Josh and myself went to fly at Manmoel, but the air was very turbulent and so we decided to head over to Fochriw instead. 

Upon arrival at the road turn off that takes us directly to the slope, we discovered that Caerphilly Council have erected a barrier, with a sign on it about fly tippers. So this public highway has been blocked off because Caerphilly council obviously cannot enforce the law regarding fly tipping, and so instead of them trying to catch the perpetrators and prosecute them, they have gone for the easy option of closing the road to car users.

This hasn't gone down at all well with the residents of Fochriw village who enjoy a walk along the top of the hill which affords beautiful views across the valley to the east and the Brecon Beacons to the north. The local paraglider club has also lodged a complaint as they regularly use this venue also. A little while ago one of their members had an accident on this hill and several ambulances had to attend along with the police. If the paraglider pilots are forced to leave their cars by the gate and walk up, and there was another accident, the emergency services would find it impossible to get close to the patient with their equipment. And on that same note, if the paraglider pilots and the model fliers, and the local walkers all park their cars on the road by the gate, it could have traffic consequences on the main road between Pontlottyn and Fochriw.

It appears that the council have taken this approach without really thinking about it and we await a decision by them to see whether the gate is to be removed or not.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Yayyyyy I finally went flying

Saturday was a lovely, bright day but very chilly. I had couch to 5km coaching duties to perform first thing in the morning but my afternoon was free and with a good breeze forecast from the north I couldn't waste the opportunity to go flying. So at about 12:30 the car was loaded and I had a 1 hour drive up to Hirwaun Common, my preferred northerly slope. I much prefer this over the VR98 at the Bwlch as the lift is usually better and the landing zone too.

Upon arrival there were a group of lads from Bournemouth and Bristol already flying and, shortly afterwards 3 local lads turned up as well as my friend Chris, who had seen my Facebook post and decided to join me rather than go to the Bwlch.

I decided to begin my flying by lobbing off the fully ballasted Balistik, and I absolutely loved it. This model was going like a rocket and I was having a whale of a time flying it. Later on I flew it again with Chris's M60 and I was pleased to see that the Balistik appeared to be a little faster 😊

I'd also taken the big L213A and had a couple of good flights with that. This flew well and will in fact fly in any wind speed from 15 mph but, it really comes alive in 30 mph or more as I have discovered when flying it in 40 mph plus at Rhossili. I have some changes that I want to make to this model so hopefully I will get a chance to do this over the winter.

So all in all I had a cracking few hours flying and, at the moment it looks like I'm free to fly again next Saturday too. Hooray 😃.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Weekend flying forecast 27th-28th October - Brrrrrrr

Happy Friday fellow flyers, another weekend is upon us. Our weather is changing with northerly cold winds from the Arctic heading our way, but with it are wind strengths that mean is is finally worth a trip to the slopes. So let us see what we have in store.

Saturday - a dry day with some sunny periods, 7°C and the wind beginning north westerly but turning northerly by noon and 13 - 23 mph. Your slope choices would be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch whilst it is NW and then moving over to the VR98 when it turns northerly. Meio can also be flown on a NW but will be off slope when the wind changes to north. My recommendation however would be Hirwaun Common which has slopes facing in both directions and only about a 2 minute walk between them. This is a fab slope if you've never tried it.

Sunday - a sunnier day with temperatures of 10°C and the wind NNE or NE and 15 - 28 mph. Your slope choices will be the Wrecker at the Bwlch, Meio which also has a NNE slope or Fochriw. Fochriw is my favourite of these three as the flying is great, as is the landing zone, with the added bonus of being able to warm yourself in the car between flights.

Unusually I am including Monday here as my good friend Paul of Slope Soaring Sussex is visiting Wales and is looking to fly. So Paul this is what Monday looks like.

Another bright, sunny day with temperatures around 8°C and the wind 13 - 25 mph NE. So you have the same choices as Sunday, the Wrecker or Fochriw. You could fly Fochriw on Sunday and the Wrecker on Monday as that is closer to home for you. I hope you have some good flying.

I have a window on Saturday afternoon to fly so I think I will head up to Hirwaun Common with the L213 and the Balistik .

So whatever you're doing, have a great weekend and keeeeeeeep flying.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Weekend flying forecast 29th/30th Sept

Hi all, well September is coming to an end, the temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter. But often this means that we get more wind too, although sometimes, much more wind than we need. So lets take a look and see if there will be some good flying conditions for this weekend.

Saturday - A fine and bright day with temperatures around 15°C, but the wind is variable, starting off ENE before swinging around to southerly by mid afternoon and carrying on around to NW by the evening, but at 6 - 8 mph this is not good flying conditions.

Sunday - A mostly cloudy but dry day with temperatures up to 14°C. The wind is much more stable at up to 25 mph north westerly. Your slope choices today will be Meio or the Ice Cream Slope at the Bwlch.

I'm busy running a half marathon on Sunday so I won't be flying, but I was hoping to get some stick time on Saturday but that won't happen if the forecast remains the same. I may have to resort to flying powered instead.

For any of you who are interested, I also have another blog which is all about my running, you can view it by clicking the link HERE.

Have a good weekend all and happy flying.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Flying forecast 15th/16th September

Summer is over and there is a chill in the air. The temperature has dropped and hopefully now we will get some autumn wind to enable us to have the flying fun that we've missed throughout the spring and summer. I can't remember a summer with so little wind.

Anyway, lets have a look and see if any flying will be possible this weekend.

Saturday - A mixture of sunshine and showers, 16°C and a predominately westerly wind of up to 20 mph. Your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eglwysilan and Meio. If I didn't have to be somewhere first thing in the morning, I would have headed up to Rhossili, but I may be able to get a couple of hours in on Meio in the afternoon.

Sunday - A cloudy but dry day, 16 - 19°C with a SSW to SW wind of 10 - 12 mph, so your slope choices will be Mickeys and Meio. I don't know what I am doing yet on Sunday, I should have been racing but I am resting a pelvis ligament injury so, I may be able to get a couple of hours in on Meio.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, have a good one and, happy flying.