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 December 2016

Christmas Greetings

Hello fellow slopies.

It's Christmas Eve, eve (Friday) and my last morning in work. I just have to get through the morning and then finish off doing a few chores this afternoon before heading over to Michelle's in Cardiff, where I shall be spending the whole of the Christmas holiday.

The weather forecast for the weekend, should you fancy flying, isn't great, so I should sit back at home with your favourite tipple and enjoy the festivities.

Paul from Slope Soaring Sussex will be visiting family next week here in S Wales and so Big Phil and myself will be meeting up with him at the Bwlch, probably on Wednesday 28th.

Tuesday also looks like it could be a reasonable day for flying also, so there are some opportunities to fly.

I've also booked a few extra days off immediately from New Year, so I have the possibility to fly on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so some company would be nice if anyone is available.

The Valenta models Inteco L-213A that I ordered in August was finally delivered to my work yesterday, so I shall be taking it home today and having a quick peak, and I shall look forward to putting it together after the festivities are over.




And talking of the L-213A, my friends James Clark in Cornwall, Martin in N Devon and Paul Watkins in Staffordshire, all have L-213A's so we're going to try and all get together sometime at the Bwlch for a L-213A fly in. It should be fun!

So it just remains for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Flying Forecast 17th/18th December

Hi all

Our autumn/winter so far has been very unusual this year. Apart from one week when we had sub zero night time temperatures, our climate has been very mild, with temperatures up into double figures (°C), and no sign of the autumn gales that once were common, or the frosts for that matter either.

This weekend isn't looking much different with day time temperatures around 10°C, however there isn't much wind in the forecast.

Saturday - South Easterly and 3 mph doesn't make for good flying, but if you wanted to chance your luck then a walk over to the far side of the Crest could produce some results. That forecast looks like there is too much east in the wind direction for Back of Wrecker to be any good.

Sunday - Westerly and 6 mph, so Rhossili would be a good bet, or Mickey's and Meio.

Personally I think that with such light winds forecast, I'll give it a miss.

Have a great weekend whatever you're doing.

Steve

Friday, 9 December 2016

Flying forecast 10th/11th December

Hi guys, it's that time of the week again when I look at the flying possibilities for the weekend ahead.

Saturday - A very wet start but drying in the afternoon with a south west to westerly breeze of 8 - 10 mph. Your slopes of choice will be Mickey's at the Bwlch, Meio Common or Rhossili.

Sunday - A dry day with a light westerly breeze of 8 - 10 mph, so your choice of slope is the same as for Saturday.

As Saturday is going to be wet, and the winds light for Sunday, I think I shall get some other things done.

Have a good weekend all.

Happy flying
Steve

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Bwlchfest 2017 Update

Well I never thought I'd be writing an update so soon, but my hand was sort of forced by my German friend Robin who wanted to book his accommodation, and also his friend from Slovenia. So I've had to confirm the date, which is the 10th & 11th June.

 I've been notified by others from across the UK of their intentions to attend this event, and there has also been interest by others from Scandinavia and even the USA.

 Now I know that people always have the best intentions of attending events, but life sometimes gets in the way and you can usually reckon on losing 25 - 30% of those that have intended on coming. So I'd appreciate it if you would spread the word around your own model flying groups and direct them to this blog or to the Facebook group page, Slope Soaring in Wales, where there is already a very lengthy thread going on.

 Now I've tried to post this event on the BARCS calender, but for some reason it didn't like it, but I'll keep trying. I'll also be posting wherever I can to sread the word. So watch this space as I'll be updating along the way.

 Until next time.
 Happy flying

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bwlchfest 2017 - A teaser

So I had this idea about holding a slope soaring event at the Bwlch, S Wales for next summer and I created the following teaser of a video and popped it on YouTube and various Facebook groups, and the response has been amazing.

The idea is that like minded glider guiders come along to The Bwlch for a weekend of informal flying on a "Fly for Fun" basis.

It doesn't matter if you fly foamies, crunchies, mouldies, F3F, scale, PSS, aerobats or sport models, all are welcome.

A preliminary date of June 10th/11th looks likely, and from the feedback I have received already, A European contingent from Germany, Austria and Slovenia are already making plans to attend thes event, including a guy I know from Germany who writes for a aeromodelling magazine there called, Aufwind. So this could become a truly international event.

I will look into organising this event in more detail once the Christmas and New Year festivities are over and finalise the date.

Watch this space.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Decembers Featured Post

Hey guys

Take a look at Decembers featured post which is taken from the 18th December 2015 when the usual locals had some fun on Meio Common.

Enjoy

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Combat Weekend and your weekend flying forecast

So this weekend is the combat weekend, and the organisers have decided that Sunday is the day.

With a 22 mph easterly forecast for Cardiff airport, you can easily expect 30 mph plus at the Bwlch, and an easterly means flying on the Crest.



So the meet up point is the lay-by at the Wrecker, (see the Flying Sites page for details), at 10:30 am.

I was hoping to go along and take some video at least, but unfortunately I can no longer make this event.

All are welcome, just turn up on the day.

If you are not going to take part and you are looking to do your own thing?

Saturday is an easterly of about 14 mph, so your slope options are the Crest at the Bwlch or Manmoel, or possibly Fochriw, although this could be a liitle off face.

Sunday is much the same as Saturday but with higher wind speeds.

I have to go to Cornwall on Saturday and normally I would take along a couple of models and have a couple of hours flying at Aggies. But an easterly is the worst possible direction for flying in Cornwall. But I may just take along a couple of foamies, just in case.

Happy flying guys.
Steve

Friday, 25 November 2016

Weekend Flying Forecast 26th/27th November

Hi all

With only one month to go now until the big Ho Ho Ho, my flying time has been seriously curtailed by other events leading up to Christmas, including a trip down to Cornwall to deliver Christmas presents to my son and his family.

Of course it would be very rude of me not to put a couple of models in the car and have a few hours flying at St Agnes.

Hopefully though, I will get a chance to fly this weekend, and I have to say that the  flying conditions are looking pretty good.

So without further ado, here is your forecast for the weekend ahead.

Saturday - A fine, dry day with a north easterly wind of 15 mph, so that will relate to 20 - 25 mph on the slopes.

Your slope options are the Wrecker at the Bwlch, Fochriw, (Pontlottyn) or even Meio Common.

Sunday - Another fine, dry day with a north easterly wind of 20 mph, or 25 - 30 mph on the slopes. So your slope options will be the same as per Saturday.

My choice I think will be Fochriw for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. That wind is likely to be cold, and as this is a park & fly slope, I can have a warm up in the car between flights.

Note to self - Don't forget to take a hot flask.

Don't forget that next weekend is the combat weekend at the Bwlch. Everyone is welcome to come along and I hope to post nearer the time as to which day it will take place. Unfortunately I cannot make this event due to other commitments.

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Weekend Flying Forecast - 19th/20th November

Hi all, its that time of the week again where I look at the flying possibilities for the weekend ahead.

Saturday - A mostly dry day with a W to WSW wind of about 12 mph. So up on the slopes there will be more than enough wind to fly whatever you fancy flying.

Your choices of slopes could be Mickey's at the Bwlch, Meio Common or Rhossili.

Sunday - The weather web sites are give conflicting forecasts. XC says there will be rain with 30 mph winds beginning NE, but moving through N to NW and decreasing to 18 mph by early evening.

The BBC says it will be mostly dry with a 12 mph variable wind NE to NW.

I tend to find the BBC are more accurate when it comes to rain and shine, but XC better at wind direction and speed. However, we are all aware that the forecasters do get it wrong, so this weekend you may be better checking that piece of seaweed that is dangling outside your front door, wetting a finger in your mouth and then sticking it in the air to check the wind speed and direction.

I shall be missing from the slopes this weekend as I am away on a trip to the motherland for a 40th anniversary school reunion.


The Bwlch, (from Nantymoel), has its own micro climate . Photo courtesy of Mike Grey.


I hope you manage to get some good flying in.

Happy flying
Steve

Friday, 11 November 2016

Your Weekend Flying Forecast 12th/13th November

Hi guys

Here is your flying forecast for this weekend.

Saturday - This is looking like being the better of the two days if you want to get out to fly. The day is looking dry with sunny intervals with a NNW or NW wind rising to about 14 mph.

Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch, Meio Common or Abertysswg.

Sunday - Another dry day with sunny intervals. The wind appears to be starting northerly at 6 - 9 mph but moving to NW by mid afternoon withe the wind strength decreasing.

Your slope choices will be as per Saturday.

I will not be flying at all this weekend as I have other things to be doing, like watching the Wales v Argentina rugby at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. And on Sunday I am running in the Cardiff MoRun, raising money for mens health issues.

So have fun all, whatever you are doing this weekend.


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Novembers Featured Post

Hi guys

Check out this months Featured Post which is from November 2012 when a few of us were flying on the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Slope Combat Competition at the Bwlch

Hi all

One of our local guys, David Mordecai is organising a slope combat competition to be held at the Bwlch on the 3rd/4th December. Its a light hearted competition with mixed heats.

England v Wales

There are no restrictions on wings/models.

Individual trophies for 1st, 2nd & 3rd are up for grabs.

Fancy dress is a must.

Due to the long distances people will be travelling, a decision will be taken a couple of days before as to which day the event will take place on.

We hope to see you there, the more, the merrier.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Your Flying Forecast - Weekend 5th/6th November

Hi all

Another weekend is upon us, and they seem to be coming around very quickly these days. Maybe it's my age?

Saturday - It's looking like a bright, dry day with sunny intervals. The winds look to be northerly 15 mph rising to 20 mph. So your slope choices will be the VR98 at the Bwlch or the fabulous slope at Hirwaun Common.

Sunday - It's looking to be much the same as Saturday, however there could be a little touch of west in that northerly wind, although it probably won't make much difference and I would stick to the same slopes as on Saturday.

Martin, (aka Slippery Sloper) is visiting on Saturday from N Devon and I know he is excited about finally getting a chance to fly at the Bwlch. Hopefully he will leave with a good impression. I've flown with Martin a couple of times now when I've made the trip down to Cornwall to fly at St Agnes Head.

So wherever you are flying this weekend, happy flying to you.

Steve

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Robin Lutzenburger flies the Crest

Today I met up at the Bwlch with a nice chap from southern Germany who has been in S Wales for the last week to fly our fabulous slopes.

Robin flew the slopes at Rhossili and Southerndown twice each during the week. We were supposed to try flying at the Bwlch yesterday but the weather forecast was not as expected and we had drizzle for most of the day, and today's forecast wasn't brilliant with only a 8 - 9 mph easterly.

I met Robin at the Wrecker lay by, and flying was not looking promising with the clag rolling in up the valley. But it was Robin's final day and he was determined to give it a go. So we drove the short distance to the Crest and began our march across the rough terrain to a spot which looked easy enough to launch and land from.

The wind felt very light but, holding my Wildthing in my hand I could feel it wanted to go, so a gentle push saw it on its way.

Letting the foamy go up to check our ceiling height, it appeared we only had about 20m to play with, so low level flying was the order of the day.

I brought the foamy down and let Robin have a go, he launched his Rotmilan F3F but after only a couple of minutes the clag began to roll in a bit thicker and there were a couple of times when I could hear the model screeching, but I couldn't see it.

Fortunately Robin managed to land it safely, so we stood around, chewing the fat until the clag cleared enough for us to fly again.

All in all it appears Robin enjoyed his flying here in S Wales and he has vowed to return, hopefully next year. He loves our slopes that don't have trees, rocks or other obstacles, but does love our large, grassy landing areas. He also loves our craft beers but thinks we have far to many roundabouts.

Here is some video of Robin today. Keep in touch mate and we hope to see you soon.


Friday, 28 October 2016

Weekend Flying Forecast 29th/30th October

The days are getting shorter, the end of October is here and Monday is Halloween, and the temperature is dropping. So it's time to dig out the thermal underwear and the trapper hats for the next four months.

But autumn and winter doesn't stop the hardy boys of S Wales from getting out to the slopes when the weather allows, and most of us have been out on the slopes even when there has been a covering of snow.

This is also the time of year I use to make repairs or build new models, and I have three to get on with, or will have once I get my hands on them.

I have my PSS Skyhawk to complete. I am waiting on delivery from Valenta of my 3m L213A, and Michelle is buying me the little, (990mm) Vagabond for Christmas. So those should keep me out of the pub during the winter evenings.

So now onto this weekends flying forecast.

We have a visitor to the area from Germany, Robin Lutzenburger, and I know he's had some good flying so far at Rhossili and Southerndown, and I think today he is heading back to Rhossili to maiden his 2.5m Swift. But this weekend is looking to be much quieter wind wise.

Saturday - Dry and bright with a 5 - 6 mph south easterly.

Personally, I wouldn't waste my time usually heading to a slope with that kind of wind speed, but if you insist then you could maybe try Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch, although the wind could be quite off the face. If you fancy adding some hiking into your flying day, then you could march over to the far side of the Crest. Another option would be Blain Bran at Cwmbran.

Sunday - Another dry and bright day with a slightly better 8 - 9 mph easterly.
So for me, the Crest at the Bwlch would be the obvious choice and, with such a light wind, the rotor shouldn't be to much of an issue.

Fochriw may be flyable although slightly off face with the added risk of para glider activity, and Manmoel is another option. But wherever you go, lightly loaded models will be the order of this weekend.

Keep your eyes open on the Slope Soaring in Wales Facebook group page for any last minute changes, and whatever you end up doing, happy flying.

Steve

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A pair of Aermacchi's

When Phil and I met up at Manmoel common to fly our new L39's, we also brought along our almost matching Island Models Aermacchi MB339 PSS jobs. But I'll let the video tell the story.


Polecat on the Crest

Sunday saw me heading up to the Bwlch as the weather man had said that there was going to be a ENE wind of up to 30 mph, and that meant flying the mighty Crest.

I was very surprised as my car came around the bend after passing the Wrecker that there were no other cars parked at the side of the road, as I had thought that the days conditions would have brought plenty of people out to fly.

So after unloading the car I made the lonely trek across the rough terrain until I found my spot where the wind was square onto the crescent shaped cliff. I measured the wind speed which was in the 30's, gusting to 40 mph.

I had only brought two models with me as I wanted to travel light. The FVK Signal 2.4m and my Polecat EPP60 racing bird. And as there was no one else there to help me launch, I decided that I would fly the smaller Polecat.

Standing as close to the edge of the cliff as I dare, and holding the Polecat which was being buffeted about in my hand, I waiting for the wind to die down just a little before committing to a throw, and then she was away.

Surprisingly, I didn't have to alter any trim, particularly elevator, but then I think the last time I flew the Polecat it was in a 40 mph south westerly on Mickey's.

I remember thinking how fast the cat was going, but then when I watched the video footage back later, the cat looked farther away from me than I thought it was and it didn't look to be travelling as fast. It was pulling some seriously big loops from level flight though.

Landing is always tricky up on the Crest due to the severe rotor, so when it came the time to think about landing, I traversed the slope whilst walking up to the top of the rise behind me before taking the cat down wind, then across before pointing her back into the wind.

I had taken the cat just a little too far back and she came in pretty damned quick, losing height rapidly without the benefit of the wind to slow her down, but she landed ok and with no damage, which is the main thing.

Anyway, check out the video.

Monday, 24 October 2016

PSS L39 Albatross Maiden Flights

I arrived at Manmoel Common, Ebbw Vale around about noon on Saturday. The wind was near enough square onto the slope which was blowing from ENE at 15 - 18 mph, which is about as near as perfect as you'd like to maiden a small PSS model, which the L39 Albatross is.

Both Big Phil and myself had these built for us by Andrew Meade, so they are identical apart from the colour schemes.

I was the first to arrive at the slope and knowing full well that I had added to much nose weight, even though it seemed to balance perfectly on the marked spots on the underside of the wing, I gave the wee bird a few test throws, tweaking the elevator trim a little each time I threw it. The time had come and I gave her a good throw and off she went.

It was obvious straight away that it needed quite a lot of up elevator and right aileron trim, but once that was sorted she was flying alright, but the dive test proved to me what I already knew, that she was nose heavy.

Andrew had said to be soft on the elevator. I had already set up dual rates on the TX so I had switched it onto low rates but kept the ailerons on high rates. As it turned out, the elevator was about perfect but I had to switch the ailerons to low rates as it was far to twitchy.

I flew her around a little more before landing, which was non eventful really, then removed the wing and excavated some of that extra nose weight. I also added an extra 5% expo onto the ailerons before chucking her off the slope again.

This time she was flying much better and would even perform a proper loop instead of reaching the top and just flopping over.

The added expo and smaller aileron movements certainly made her less twitchy and so I decided to land again to remove just a little more nose weight. However, she landed with a bit of a thud which ripped off the wing retaining screws nylon head, and so that brought an end to flying that model for the rest of the day.

Here is the video of those flights.




Phil and his son Josh turned up about an hour after me and we immediately set to preparing his Albatross for its first flight.

We walked back away from the slope where there is a slight rise in the ground and I threw the model for Phil. It went extremely well and must have flown 20 metres or more before landing. So we just picked it up and chucked it off the slope straight away.

It behaved very well. Elevator trim seemed right but it needed a bit of left aileron trim and the CofG seemed perfect too.

There isn't a lot more I can really say about this as it all went so well with no issues.

So here is Phil's video.

 

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.

Steve


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.

Steve

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.

Steve

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.

Steve

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Flying Forecast 1st/2nd October

Hi all

Here we are again with another week nearly over and thinking about getting in some flying, or not, looking at the forecast.

Saturday - XC Weather is currently showing sunshine and showers but, on this mornings BBC forecast it's looking like there may be much more rain than sunshine and a write off flying wise. XC are showing a north westerly at up to 17 mph but the BBC says variable SW to W 9 - 12 mph, so who do you believe? I think it's a case of suck it and see, but as there is rain in the forecast, I'll probably give Saturday a miss anyway.

Sunday - This is looking like a minimal wind day. XC is showing 2 - 3 mph south westerly at Cardiff Airport, which means it isn't worth taking any slope type models to the slopes and it probably isn't even worth heading to the slopes. I may just head up to Manmoel Common at Ebbw Vale with the thermal gliders and do some soaring up there instead.

I was hoping to maiden my new L39 Albatross PSS model this weekend before taking it to the final PSSA meet at the Orme in N Wales the following weekend, but that isn't going to happen now.


So whatever you do, have a fun weekend.

Happy flying
Steve


Friday, 23 September 2016

Flying Forecast 24th/25th September

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

Now that we are into autumn, the temperatures are beginning to dip and it will soon be time to dig out those warmer clothes and heat packs. Unlike some, we are a hardy bunch in S Wales and we don't let cold temperatures or a covering of snow stop us from flying. I am thinking of buying a one piece thermal suit this autumn ready for the winter season.

Anyway, Saturday is probably looking like the best day for flying with a forecast at Cardiff airport of a 18 - 20 mph southerly wind with an overcast sky, but at least it looks like being dry.

Your slope options will be Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch or the coastal site at Southerndown. I will probably be heading to the Bwlch as I want to give my Aermacchi another fly, and wind speed should be 25 mph plus up there, so it should be good for the Aermacchi.

Sunday is looking like a showery day with sunny intervals with 21 mph southwesterly or westerly, depending on which forecast you look at. So your slope options will be Mickey's at the Bwlch, Meio Common or possibly Rhossili, if the wind is westerly. I probably won't be flying on Sunday, but then that could change yet.

So whatever you do, and wherever you fly, happy flying.

Steve

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Maiden flight of the PSS Aermacchi MB339

Saturday morning was lovely and sunny but, the tree tops were not moving a lot, not a good sign.

The forecast was for a north westerly of 9 - 14 mph which wouldn't have been enough to maiden the Aermacchi on any ordinary slope, but then the slopes at the Bwlch are far from being ordinary and I was sure there would be enough lift generated to get, and keep me in the air.

On arrival at the Bwlch I parked up in my usual spot by the forestry gate in readiness for the short walk to the Ice Cream Slope.

Already there was a camper van with German plates and its owner was prepping some models. We had a chat and it transpired that he and his wife had come to the Bwlch from Munich and he had flown the Ice Cream Slope the previous day and described it as, "paradise", but today the wind wasn't on the Ice Cream Slope as had been forecast, but it was on the north facing VR98.

I parked the car behind Mark's car and checked out the wind, which was square onto the slope and was measuring 12 - 14 mph.

Mark and I launched a couple of foamies to check out the air and there was plenty of lift there, so Mark landed and assembled his Pitbull F3F and launched. He pushed out and discovered that there were plenty of thermals to take him up to height so that he could then power dive down to do some aero's.

Having watched Mark, I decided that there was enough lift out there to enable me to maiden the Aermacchi and so I began to assemble and then check all the controls were working as they should.

So now I had no excuses and Mark asked me if I'd like him to launch for me, which I was pleased about because I was unsure about whether I'd set the CofG correctly, I wanted to be able to be on the sticks from the word go.

Mark threw it and off it went. It dipped and almost skimmed the long grass but then began to climb away as I applied a small amount of up elevator. Once it was away from the ridge, I had to add quite a lot of up elevator trim, but once that was sorted I cruised around trying to gain some height so that I could carry out a dive test to check the CofG. It did struggle a bit to gain the height but once it had, the dive test showed that the model was a little nose heavy, which I was pleased about and had actually planned as the last thing I wanted was to launch a tail heavy model which could have been so tail twitchy that I'd have struggled to control it. So all I have to do is remove a little of that extra weight in the nose that I'd added as security.

The model showed itself to be very stable. It seems to roll well and I even managed a 4 point hesitation roll without any problem.

After a few minutes the lift  had deserted me and so I brought her in towards and across the slope for a very easy landing in the long grass. Yayyyyyyyyy.

I had a further two more flights, all very much like the first with no problems or issues. I shall look forward to getting the Aermacchi up in a 20 - 30 mph blow and also flying it off the Orme in Llandudno at the PSSA meet in October.

Check out the video and happy flying.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Threat to Model Flying from European Regulation - EASA Prototype Rules for Unmanned Aircraft

It seems that our hobby/sport, whatever you want to call it is under threat from European bureaucrats who want to put model aircraft in the same category as multi rotor drones, which would effectively ban their use.

The proposals from the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) are currently only in prototype form, and the BMFA and the EAS (Europe Air Sports) are working hard to try and convince EASA that model aircraft are operated safely and differently from multi rotor drones, but this appears to be falling upon deaf ears.

Please click on the link and take time to read the statement from the BMFA as this concerns YOU.


Steve

Flying Forecast - Weekend 17th/18th September

Hi guys

Well I've been keeping an eye all week on this weekends weather forecast as I wanted to maiden my new PSS model. But each day the wind speed in the forecast has dropped and dropped. I wanted a minimum of 15 mph at Cardiff Airport to give me the best possible conditions at the Bwlch for this first flight.

Saturday is looking like a light north westerly of  8 - 10 mph, so your slope options will be the Ice Cream Slope at the Bwlch, Abertysswg or Rhossili. I shall head up to the Bwlch.

Sunday is looking like a light westerly of 5 - 9 mph. Your options will be Mickey's at the Bwlch, Meio Common or Rhossili.

For me? With Sunday being a light breeze I'm thinking of heading to Manmoel Common with my electric power gliders and do some thermal soaring.

Hopefully I will see some of you on the Ice Cream slope tomorrow, and as I seem to be the only one locally who does any flat field soaring, I'll probably have the ponies and sheep to keep me company on Sunday.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun.

Happy flying.
Steve

Thursday, 15 September 2016

This months featured post - Summers end

This months featured post, Summers End was originally posted on the 13th September 2013.

Take a look.

Steve

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Wildthing at St Agnes Head

Hi all

Yesterday I was up with the lark to make my trip down to Cornwall to collect a PSS Aermacchi MB339 that was up for sale.

At the same time, Phil May was headed north to Llandudno to fly at the PSSA meet at the Orme. Unfortunately, with only 54 minutes driving time left, a brake caliper seized  and Phil had to abort his journey. To say Phil was gutted is an understatement as to date he hasn't managed to visit the Orme for one of these meets. Maybe next month eh Phil?

So I arrived in Newquay to collect my model. This belonged to a local guy who passed away recently and his wife was getting rid of his models. The model was just about complete and hasn't flown yet. All I have to do from what I've seen is connect the elevator cable to the servo, fit a battery and receiver, check the COG and chuck it off a big hill next Sunday.


But hang on, there was another similar model there too and I was asked if I'd take that also. On close inspection, the fuselage was built of foam, whereas mine is glass fibre, and it had taken a lot of punishment as I could see it had been patched up a lot. And then I remembered I'd seen this model flying last year on another trip to St Agnes Head.


So a deal was struck for the two models which were loaded into the car and I headed off to St Agnes, about 15 minutes away, where I met up with Martin, who is a regular visitor to this flying site. 

The wind was light at about 10 mph north westerly and the sun was shining as I launched the Wildthing into the smooth air of this fabulous slope.

During the day, other fliers turned up, including some visitors from Germany, along with locals James Clark and Stan Yeo of Phoenix Models. Stan has had a long career in the model glider field designing and producing EPP aerobatic glider kits. However, with a huge increase in the cost of EPP, Stan has redesigned his most popular models as balsa kits. I must buy one to build this winter.

Anyway, here is the video of me flying the Wildthing and hopefully I may have some video next week of the maiden flight of the MB339.

Until then, happy flying.
Steve


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Flying Forecast 10th/11th September

Hi all

Well I'm back from my hols and raring to go again with some flying this weekend. So lets see what is in store for us.

This weekend sees the PSSA meet at the Orme, Llandudno, but the forecast isn't looking good at this stage. XC Weather is saying for the weather station at Capel Curig a 2 mph westerly for Saturday, rising to 7 mph by 4 pm. There maybe a little more at the Orme but if the forecast is correct, I doubt there will be much flying taking place. And Sunday is looking southerly (not a good direction for the Orme), 13 mph by 1 pm.

For the S Wales slopes it's looking like Saturday will be 10 mph rising to 15 mph north westerly at Cardiff Airport. So your slope choices will be Meio Common, Abertysswg and the Ice Cream Slope at the Bwlch. If I were going, I'd go to the Bwlch where you should also be able to pick up some good thermals with real wind speeds of 18 - 20 mph easily.

On Sunday we're looking at 13 to 15 mph at Cardiff Airport and southerly. So your options are Southerndown or Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch, which is where I will be heading to as we should have well over 20 mph up there.

On Saturday I shall be driving down to Newquay, Cornwall to collect a new PSS model I'm buying. So as it's a 3½ to 4 hour drive it would be rude of me not to go flying at St Agnes Head, where the forecast is north westerly 10 - 12 mph. With this being a big sea cliff, I can expect a ridge wind speed of probably around 18 - 20 mph.

So good luck and happy flying to all of you who are out over the weekend and maybe I'll see you on one of the slopes.

Steve

Monday, 22 August 2016

British Summer? You cannot be serious man!

Hi guys

Well Saturdays weather turned out as expected with rain showers, and boy were some of those showers heavy, and frequent too, so I don't think anyone locally to me went out flying.

Sunday morning was looking fine but I had to go out on a 10 ½ mile (17 km) training run as I'm taking part in the Cardiff Half Marathon on the 2nd October. This meant I wasn't going to get up to the Bwlch until about 1 pm, but that was fine as it would have given me a few hours flying time.

Before hand, a few of us had decided to make this a PSS day as none of us had managed to make it to the official PSS weekend in N Wales the previous weekend.

Upon arrival at the Bwlch, I unloaded the car and swung my rucksack containing my Hawker Typhoon onto my back, but I noticed that the sky was beginning to darken.

I know there was rain forecast to come in but it wasn't supposed to be until later in the afternoon or early evening, but I began my trek along the gravel track to Mickey's slope anyway.

By the time I had reached the south west facing slope, I could see the boys in the distance on the western slope but, it was beginning to rain, and I could see the cloud base had descended to a very low height, but I continued walking.

By the time I reached the lads, it was raining solidly and you could only see about 70 metres into the distance because of the clag. Looking at it, we all decided it wasn't likely to clear anytime soon and so the lads packed away and we began the trek back to the cars.

Previous to my arrival, the lads had managed to get some good flying in. Phil had brought along his recent acquisition of an AVRO Vulcan, as well as his Hawk. Josh also had a Hawk and Ron had his F16 Fighting Falcon. Mark doesn't fly PSS but he had his Baudis Pitbull F3F.







Thanks to Phil for the pictures.

I am away on vacation from Wednesday for 10 days so this will be my last post for a while, unless Phil wants to make a post in my absence? In the meantime, happy flying.

Steve

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Blanik L213 A from Valenta Models

I've finally bitten the bullet and ordered my first full mouldy. After a lot of trolling across the internet and watching YouTube videos, I've finally come up with what I want.

My criteria was something around 3 metres, it had to be fairly fast but aerobatic too, and eventually I whittled it down to two models from Valenta, the Volcano 3.7m and the Blanik L213 A semi scale, and the Blanik won.

So I've now ordered this and it is being built for me with extra reinforcement in the nose for those heavy slope landings, flaps and air brakes, in yellow with blue undersides.

So this is what you will see flying the slopes of S Wales this coming autumn.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Flying Forecast 20th & 21st August

Hi guys

I know it's only Wednesday, but the lads are already planning their weekends flying.

Saturday is looking like it could be a south westerly of around 28 mph and showery. If you were to fly at Mickeys at the Bwlch, your wind speed is likely to be in the high 30's or even 40 mph.

** UPDATE ** Saturday is now looking like it's going to be either, constant rain or, heavy thundery showers. So I shall be staying home and preparing for going on my holiday.

Sunday is looking dryer with a 23 mph forecast at Cardiff Airport, so we'd be expecting 30 mph plus on Mickeys.

On Sunday, some of us are planning to fly PSS models as we were unable to make the trip to   N Wales last weekend for the official PSSA meet, and with a good wind forecast, it could be a cracking days flying.

Everyone is welcome to come along and join us, don't be shy.

I won't be there until midday but I expect Phil will be there from around 10 am as he'll be itching to maiden a couple of new models.

If there is any major change to the forecast, or the PSS plans for Sunday, I will post it here.

I hope to see you there.

Until next time, happy flying

Steve

Monday, 15 August 2016

Thermal Soaring the Thermal Instinct

I bought the Thermal Instinct a year ago from a nice gentleman who due to medical reasons was unable to fly anymore, but he still enjoyed building models, but it was almost this model was jinxed as on my second flight I misjudged its height, and the height of the trees bordering the field and, well you can guess the rest.

Over the winter I finally got around to rebuilding the damaged wing and tested everything before taking it to the field, whereupon the motor decided it wasn't going to run and one of the four ailerons decided they didn't want to work. Doh!

I worked on the motor on and off and eventually it decided it was going to run again. I don't know if it was something I had done or whether the jinx had left it, but it does now run.

So with Sunday's forecast being for 2 - 3 mph winds, this was the ideal time to give it a blast. So I headed off to Manmoel Common near Ebbw Vale, where the air was very still, the wind turbines were barely moving and it was almost deathly quiet.

I set up the Thermal Instinct and everything was behaving as it should, except for that dodgy aileron, but hey, I still had a working aileron on that wing so I thought I'd be ok.

The first launch went fine and I took her up to height and spent a minute or two to trim the model and test the crow function, which turned out it needed a lot more down elevator compensation.

Two more powered climbs and then I was into a thermal, which wasn't particularly strong but then very slowly she began to rise until eventually she had become very small in the sky.

At this point I remembered that I hadn't set the timer, and I must have already been in the air for about 7 - 8 minutes, so I turned on the timer and managed to fly from thermal to thermal until eventually all the thermals seemed to have disappeared and I had to think about landing.

The landing was pretty uneventful and I decided not to use crow for this due to the elevator compensation. Ground effect came into play on my first two attempts to land and she just didn't want to seem to drop below about 2 metres, but then eventually, down she came.

I took a break before relaunching but I didn't manage another long flight. Most of the climb outs resulted in times between 7 - 10 minutes. Still, I had already beaten this years PB by 7 minutes so I was feeling pleased with myself.

So here is the video of this session. Unfortunately the model does look a bit small and maybe a little difficult to see so I would suggest you watch it in full screen mode. When the model was really high, you just can't make it out against the grey sky so it was pointless me including footage of this.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Flying Forecast 13th/14th August

Hi guys

Another weekend is almost upon us with more opportunities for flying.

This weekend is the PSSA Fly for Fun meet near Abersoch in N Wales. It was always doubtful that I would make this event as I have another event happening on Saturday. But the weather forecast isn't looking great from a flying perspective with Saturday being the best day with winds of 12 - 13 mph south westerly, which will probably be fine for just cruising along the slope. And Sunday looks like being 2 - 3 mph, so no PSS flying will take place in that. So because of that forecast, I'd have given the trip a miss anyway and saved myself some money.

So the forecast for S Wales is looking much the same as for N Wales. So if I were to fly on Saturday, Mickey's at the Bwlch would be my first choice with Meio second.

On Sunday, the 2-3 mph wind means that proper slope soaring will go out of the window, unless you have something that will fly in ultra light air, like a DLG or thermal soarer.

I was going to head to my local flat field, however Mike Grey mentioned to me last night that it's been ages since I flew with the lads, so I said I'd be happy to head up to the Bwlch. I can't help having a busy social life ;o) So I shall take the 2m Climax Compact and the 2.85m Thermal Instinct, both of which are electric powered. Fortunately the thermals are usually pretty good at the Bwlch so it could end up being a nice, relaxing session, and not high octane as is often the case up there.


So wherever you are flying this weekend, have fun and maybe I'll see you on Sunday.

Happy flying
Steve

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

PSS L39 Albatross

Andy Meade has been busy building about 6 models for himself plus, a couple of the L39 Albatross trainers for Phil & myself.

My model is finished and just awaiting collection now and Phil's is in the finishing shop. So I'm looking forward to getting them both up and flying together. 



Friday, 5 August 2016

Flying Forecast 6th & 7th August

Hi guys, another weekend is upon us and the forecast is for dry and sunny weather. That makes a change eh, considering on Monday we had more rain in one day than in the whole of July.

So on Saturday we are looking at a light westerly up to 10 mph. With wind speeds that low I would head to the westerly side of Mickeys at the Bwlch, where you should get in some reasonable flying. Alternatively you could head to Rhossili.

Personally, I'm going to head to my local flat field, or maybe Manmoel Common near Ebbw Vale to do some thermal soaring with my faithful Climax Compact.



Sunday looks like being much the same as Saturday, with a westerly, except that the wind speed is forecast as 20 mph. This means the flying should be something like, Woo Hoo! Unfortunately I can't fly on Sunday as I have a wedding to attend.

So wherever you go, and whatever you decide to do, happy flying.

Steve

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Slope Soaring at Rhossili Down

I've finally done it, I've finally flown the big slope at Rhossili, the last of the three premier UK coastal slope soaring sites, and it lived up to its reputation.

Setting off from home at 8:30 on Sunday morning, the sun was shining, there was a very light breeze, the roads were quiet and I arrived at about 10am.

Parking was easy as there were a couple of spaces left in the church car park, although just 300 metres down the road there was a big National Trust car park I could have gone into.

Already there were plenty of para gliders soaring the slopes as I made the slow, arduous trek up the path leading to the top of the hill. I say arduous, but I guess it really wasn't that bad, particularly if you take it slowly.

About 20 minutes later I was at the top by the Trig Point stone where I came across Paul Hampshire of Slope Soaring Sussex who is on holiday in the area with his family and flying his new Weasel Trek in the estimated 10 mph breeze.

We had fun cruising around, me with my Wildthing and Whisper and Paul his M60 and Weasel, and the para gliders kept their distance from us. Thanks para gliders.

After a couple of hours, the wind had gradually picked up to about 20 mph and Paul had to go and join his family, leaving me to my own devices.

Within the next hour, the wind had picked up significantly and was gusting to 32 mph, so I set up the Signal and had a couple of good flights with that. The Wildthing was loving the conditions and I was able to chuck that about in the super smooth sea air.

So for those of you who haven't flown this slope before, it has spectacular views of Worms Head, the 3 mile long golden, sandy beach, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The shape of the slope is just right to produce the maximum amount of lift from whatever speed of wind may be blowing at the time. And the lift goes on forever! You can push your model out, and out, and out, and it just doesn't seem to lose any height.

Landing is a doddle as the ground behind you is flat, generally rock free and covered in soft, spongy heather.

All the while I was flying and I was thinking that this slope is on a par with one of my local slopes, the westerly facing slope of Mickeys at the Bwlch. It's about the same height, same shape, the lift is about the same with very smooth air and an easy landing zone. And to be honest, I don't think there's much to choose between them. Having said that, Rhossili is only an extra 30 minutes drive away for me so, I will go there again when we have a lovely, sunny summer day as a nice change of scenery.

So now that I have flown all three coastal sites, which is my favourite? That's a tough question. I've made five or six, 4 - 5 hour long trips up to the Orme at Llandudno, and each time the wind hasn't played ball with only light to average conditions. Other people I know totally rave about it, which is fine.

But a slope isn't just about the quality of air and lift, it's also about access and the landing zone. The Orme has easy enough access but the landing zones leave a little to be desired as they are strewn with rocks that magnetically seem to attract your model to them, or are covered in gorse and other course vegetation. Also in some places, you are flying directly over the sea, so landing out isn't an option here, and in fact at one of the PSSA meetings I went to this year, there must have been about 3 or 4 models that went down on launch. Fortunately, there was a small ledge just below our launching position where these models came to rest, otherwise the sea would have claimed more victims.

St. Agnes in Cornwall is the other big coastal site, and I have flown this on a few occasions now. Access is easy and could be classed as a "park and fly" slope. The air is super smooth usually and the landing zones are flat, soft and rock free. The only down side is that you are flying directly over the water, and if that is something you are not used to, it can be a bit of a butt clenching experience the first few times you chuck your pride and joy off the cliff.

The only other thing I would say about Rhossili is that it looks like a slope that, if you were to land out, the model would be easily retrievable. Not so.

As I was walking back to the car park, a para glider guy called me over to him and told me that as he had been traversing the slope, he saw a black coloured model with yellow and red colouring on the fin, and pointed me in the direction of where he thought it was. So I headed off, and he came along with me. We spread ourselves out but we couldn't find it and we were eventually beaten back by the thick, prickly gorse and bramble which covered this part of the slope. I can imagine the owner of the model probably had spent several hours pushing his way through the vegetation to find it.

So back to the original question of which is my favourite slope? I think Rhossili and St Agnes have little between them to be able to say one is better than the other, and given the option for an away trip, I'd pick either of these two over the Orme, though I'm sure the Orme is good on its day, I just haven't experienced it at its best yet.

Enjoy the video.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Thermal Soaring the Climax Compact E

So the weekends weather forecast turned out to be pretty accurate, and after I'd done my chores on Saturday morning, I had to decide what it was I was going to do. Do I head to a slope where I knew conditions would be pretty light and I'd probably just be cruising around or, do I head to a local field 5 minutes from home to do some thermal soaring?

The thermal soaring won me over as I was planning a longer drive for the next day to go flying the big slope at Rhossili.

There really isn't a great deal to say about this flying other than there were thermals about and mostly they were strong enough to allow me to maintain a bit of height only, my flight times were mostly about about 5 to 6 minutes, except where on one flight I headed down wind to think about landing but ended up catching a low level thermal that took me way up for a flight time of 11:44 minutes.

Check out the video and you'll see.




Later on in the week I shall be posting more video and telling my story of my trip to Rhossili where I met up with Paul Hampshire of Slope Soaring Sussex. So until then, happy flying.

Steve

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Flying Forecast 30th/31st July

Hi guys

I always think Thursday can be a little early to be accurately predicting the weekends weather but, I shall update this post tomorrow should the need arise.

Saturday is looking like being a bright day with a light westerly breeze of about 9 mph. Your options are Mickey's West at the Bwlch, Eglwysilan Common near Pontypridd, Meio Common or Rhossili at the Gower. I shall probably head up to Meio for around noon for some slermaling action.

Sunday is forecast as another bright day with a westerly increasing up to 14 mph. If this is the case, then I shall be heading over to Rhossili to meet up with my good friend Paul Hampshire of Slope Soaring Sussex who is holidaying in the area.

Rhossili is the only one of the three premier coastal sites I haven't flown, so I will be interested to see how it compares with the Orme and St Agnes Head, which is still currently my favourite coastal slope.


So hopefully I will see some of you out and about this weekend. Let me know if you fancy coming along to Rhossili on Sunday, either by email, SMS (if you're lucky enough to have my mobile number), or via the Facebook Slope Soaring in Wales group page or, Facebook messenger.

Until next time.

Happy flying
Steve

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Featured Posts

Hi all

I'd just like to tell you about a new feature which has been added to Blogger. This is the Featured Post, which you will find to the left of the page, just underneath the Home tab.

My intention is to use this to feature older videos I have posted relating to the month that we are currently in. So for instance, the story and video I am currently featuring was originally posted in August 2015, but next month it could be September 2013.

So please come back regularly to see which story and video is being featured.

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Flying Forecast 23rd/24th July

Hi guys.

Let me first start by wishing Big Phil a very happy 49th birthday today. Live long and prosper mate.

And so onto the forecast for the weekend, and Saturday is looking like the best day weather wise with sunshine all day but a light westerly of up to 9 mph.

Your slope options would be Mickey's West at the Bwlch, Eglwysilan Common (near Pontypridd), Rhossili, or Meio Common, although you would be right on the point or flying with the wind a little off face. Having said that, there have been many occasions where the wind has been forecast as westerly but it has been square on the slope at Meio.

Sunday is looking like a 7 mph south westerly, so again your options are Mickey's or Meio Common, but showers or heavier rain are forecast.

I have a commitment on Saturday afternoon but I may just head up to Meio for a couple of hours in the morning with a couple of light models and see if I can catch a few thermals, and I may chance the showers/rain on Sunday and head to Meio again, but I'll see how wet it is when I look out of my window first.

So whatever and wherever you decide to fly, enjoy.

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Weekend flying 16th/17th July

Hi guys

Well Saturday is looking a little showery, but if you're happy with dodging a shower or two then a 15 mph westerly is forecast, so your options are Mickey's West at the Bwlch, Eglwysilan Mountain, (near Pontypridd) or Rhossili.

Sunday is looking like the sunnier day with a similar westerly forecast.

Unfortunately I won't be flying at all this weekend as I badly sprained my ankle whilst running last Saturday morning, and my ankle is still painful and my foot swollen, so I wouldn't manage the walk to any of these slopes.

So I have things I can be doing model wise. I'm currently replacing the motor in my 2m Climaxx Compact E as the old motor is knackered. The replacement motor I bought isn't an identical replacement and so I'm having to modify the mounting to make it fit. I also have the PSS A4 Skyhawk to crack on with.

So please do not text or put any Facebook posts saying how much fun you're all having on the slopes as I will take my revenge in due course. LOL.

Happy flying
Steve

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Ballistic Lift on Mickey's

So my holiday in Cornwall didn't go to plan. I spent the first two days staying with my son, then I headed to St Agnes where I'd booked a camp site.

Ten minutes drive away from my sons home and driving past Cornwall Services on the A30, the rain started. So when I arrived by the coastguard hut at St Agnes Head, the rain was driving in with the 30 mph wind, which by the way was too southerly to be able to fly anyway.

I looked at the forecast and the next day, Wednesday was also rain, Thursday was being shown as showery, with Friday being the only day forecast to be dry, but I was going to head home on Friday anyway. So I made the decision to abandon this trip and drive home.

As Friday was looking pretty flyable, I met up with Mark for a session on Mickeys at the Bwlch, and after the walk up to the slope, the wind strength was better than we had expected and I was getting readings with maximum gusts up to 36 mph, but as the session progressed, so the wind became stronger, eventually getting readings of 44 mph. Stonking!

Mark began by flying his Pitbull, but it landed with a bit of a thud and one flap servo seemed to lock in the down position, which he couldn't shift. Fortunately he'd also brought along the Schwing, which was absolutely loving the big air conditions.

I flew my FVK Signal, which also loved the conditions at first when we had 35 mph plus winds, but by the time it was in the mid 40's, it was too much for it. Fortunately I'd brought along the EPP 60 Polecat, which was flying very nicely thank you.

And just to prove it, here is the video.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Weekend Flying 9th & 10th July

Hi guys

Just a quick note about what's on flying wise this weekend.

I understand there is a F3F competition happening at the Bwlch on Sunday, so you can bet your life they will be up there practicing on Saturday as well.

The forecast for the weekend is looking dry with a good south westerly breeze on both days, so with Mickeys unavailable our alternative option is Meio. Not a bad alternative to have though eh.

I shall be there from about midday tomorrow until mid afternoon, but I can't fly on Sunday as my alcohol levels will probably be still to high after a party on Saturday night. Hic.

I hope to see you tomorrow, if not, happy flying wherever you are.

Steve

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Final Countdown

Hi all

No, I'm not on about the EU Remain/Leave vote today, but I'm on the countdown to having a week off work.

So I shall be heading down to Cornwall to spend a couple of days and nights with my son and his family, then I am heading to Prisingoll Farm Camp Site, located about a mile south of St. Agnes for four days of flying at St. Agnes Head.


To fly these stunning sea cliffs


I have flown here a couple of times before and the flying is superb, with car parking only a few metres from the flying area and several different places to fly to accommodate different wind directions.

No doubt I shall bump into a few of the local lads, James Clarke and maybe Martin (Slippery Sloper) to pass the time away with idle flying chit chat also.

I will see you on my return with hopefully some video to share with you.

Happy flying
Steve


Monday, 20 June 2016

More foamie fun on Meio

On Saturday, Phil and I decided to fly on Meio Common as it is much closer to home than the Bwlch and we both had other things we needed to do that day.

The forecast was for a 9 mph north westerly at Cardiff Airport, but when we arrived, there definitely wasn't that wind speed. I tried launching my trusty Wildthing, which will just about keep airborne in about 8 mph, but it was struggling.

So we sat around for a little while, chatting, until the wind seemed to pick up just a little, so I launched again and managed to keep the Thing in the air, gaining some height using the weak thermals that were floating by on the breeze.

Josh was flying his Beevolution but struggling to stay in the air, and Phil launched his Speedo, which also struggled, and in fact came down on the slope face.

Now the north west facing slope of Meio is covered in thick, 3' high ferns, and it must have taken Phil, his two sons Josh, Tom and myself a good 20 minutes to locate the model.

By this time the wind was slowly beginning to pick up and it was swinging around to a more westerly direction, so we upped sticks and moved a couple of hundred metres onto the point and we flew again, but we were probably only there 15 minutes before we ended up having to move again to the favoured south westerly slope.

By this time there was enough wind to keep the foamies in the air, and Phil decided to stand a pop bottle on the ridge line to see if we could knock it over with the models, and so we had a bit of fun doing that as the video below shows.

I'm glad that we didn't decide to go up to the Bwlch as with the wind shifting direction, we would have had a long walk between slopes. Also, we can see the Bwlch from Meio and it looked like it was clagging over, so I think we made the right choice of venue.

Enjoy the video, which I took using my iPhone and edited using the iMovie app.

Happy flying
Steve




Friday, 17 June 2016

Weekends Flying - 18th/19th June

Hi Guys

It's that time again when all eyes are on the weather apps, and this weekend is looking like light conditions.

I can only fly on Saturday, and then I shall have to stay as local as possible due to other commitments. So with a north westerly of about 9 mph forecast, I think I'm just going to head up to Meio Common for a couple of hours around lunch time to make the most of any thermals coming in.

For those of you who are looking to fly on Sunday, the forecast is for a light 9 mph SSW, so you may be best flying Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch.

I am taking part in the Caerphilly 10k road race, and then having a Fathers Day dinner with Michelle's family, so I won't be out.

Maybe I'll see some of you on Meio on Saturday? If not, have a fun weekend guys.

Happy flying.
Steve

Monday, 13 June 2016

PSS Fly for Fun Report - June 2016

Hi all

 Well as it turned out, there's really not a lot I can say about this weekend, except that we stood around chatting for two days, or in my case, 1½ days as I left at 1:30pm on Sunday.

 I arrived on Friday afternoon and took a drive along Marine Drive up to the tank track car park.

 Standing on the edge of the cliff the sea was as calm as a mill pond, with mist hovering over it and there wasn't a breath of wind. In fact, the only sounds were the birds chirping and the tinnitus buzzing in my ears.

 Saturday morning and I arrived on the "rock" at 9:45am and the conditions were much the same. People arrived, stood on the cliff edge, walked away, chatted to old friends, made new friends and laughed and joked. I felt sorry for the guys who had made the journey from Ireland, and I thought I had traveled a long way.

 I left at about 4:45pm to go and watch the Wales v Slovakia game, but I did hear that the wind did pick up and some of the guys managed to fly for about an hour from 8:30pm.

 Sunday morning and there was a very slight breeze which was coming in from the south, but very slowly it was moving around to the favoured south west slope, but still it wasn't possible to fly unless you had a real floater of a thermal soarer or, something with a motor up front. But the wind carried on swinging around to about north westerly and it didn't increase with speed, and then the rain came in a little after midday.

 I stood around, in the light rain waiting to see if it was just an isolated, quick shower. And it probably was was, but I made the decision to pack up and make my way home as it seemed unlikely that the wind would pick up any strength to enable us to fly.

 You can organise and organise but, there is one thing out of everyone's control, and that is the weather. It was a shame because there was a really good turn out with people having traveled the length and breadth of Britain.

 The next PSSA meet is at the LLeyn Peninsula in August, but I doubt if I will be able to make that one, so I need to plough on and try to complete my A4 Skyhawk before the September meet.

Andy Meade's Avro Vulcan


A few of the PSS models lined up on Saturday


Until next time, happy flying.

Steve

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Rhossili Flying Trip

Hi guys

Those of you who know me, know that I like to spread my wings and fly in other areas around the country, variety being the spice of life as they say. And although I still think that the Bwlch and other slopes around SE Wales are the best in Britain that I have flown from, it is still good to try the slopes that others rave about so that I can form my own opinion and extend my knowledge.

There are three premiere coastal sites to fly from in England and Wales. The Orme at Llandudno in N Wales, (which the modelling press rave about as being "the best in GB"), St Agnes Head in Cornwall, which I love flying and personally I think is better than the Orme, and Rhossili in SW Wales.

Rhossili is the closest to me, being about a 1 ½ hour drive away, and ironically is the only one I haven't flown, and I need to put that right. So after this weekends PSS meet at the Orme is over, (and btw the weather for this is looking total pants), I am going to keep an eye on the weekend weather forecasts in the coming weeks, and once a favourable westerly is forecast for a Sunday, I'm going to make the trip and have a full day there.

It will be a short notice trip but if anyone fancies coming along with me, I'd be most welcome of your company. I will keep you all posted here or on the Slope Soaring in Wales Facebook group page.


We used to have a great fella called Roger who used to fly with us at the Bwlch. Sadly Roger is no longer with us, but Rhossili was his favourite place to fly, and living in Swansea it was very local to him also.

Roger used to love making videos of his flying adventures, so here are a couple of his videos flying on the big hill at Rhossili.


48" foamie Acrowot,slope soaring in 25mph from Cliff Hanger on Vimeo.

Phoenix 2m slope soarer in good lift from Cliff Hanger on Vimeo.

Monday, 6 June 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun Reminder and other stuff

Hi guys

Just a little reminder, (although I'm sure you don't really need it), that this weekend sees the 3rd PSSA Fly for Fun meeting of 2016, taking place on the Orme in Llandudno. So if we have weather like today, (sunny, warm and breezy), we should be in for a good weekend. But don't count your chickens as they say, this is Britain after all.

I know Big Phil is going along for the Saturday only, as am I, but for the whole weekend, but I don't know who else from S Wales is making their way north this time.

Other Stuff

In order to fund another model purchase, I will be selling one, possibly two of my models, the Thermal Instinct F5J is definitely up for sale at £300.00 ovno, and if I really need to let it go, the FVK Signal too, but I'll have to see because I do like flying that one.

Anyway, if you are interested in my Hollein Thermal Instinct, (It's the larger, blue, white & red model in the picture), 2.85m, all balsa built, c/w servo's, motor & ESC, drop me a line.



I shall probably be advertising this nationally next week after the PSS meet.

Steve

Friday, 3 June 2016

Weekends Flying Forecast - 4th/5th June

Good morning fellow glider guiders.

Well this weekends flying forecast isn't looking to great with light north easterlies. So Saturday is 5 mph and Sunday 9 mph. Of course there will be a little more on the slopes, but is it really worth the effort to drive for up to an hour just to cruise back and forth along the ridge line, hoping for a passing thermal to get you some height, and then playing "dodge the para glider" if you decide to fly from Fochriw?

I think with June's PSS meet at the Orme next weekend, I may just give this weekend a miss but, if I were wanting to go out, I think my preference would be to fly the Wrecker, if only because of the para gliders at Fochriw.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun.

Happy flying
Steve

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Slope Soaring on the South Downs

Hi all

Well I could go into a long, blow by blow account about my weekend away flying with Paul and the boys from Slope Soaring Sussex, but actually, the video says it all really.

The weather turned out better than was forecast, winds being light on Saturday to average on Sunday, but we did see more sunshine and clear skies than we thought we'd get. We did see some pretty spectacular bolts of lightning around lunch time on Saturday over Brighton way though.

Anyway, a big thanks goes out to Paul and Ian who were my flying buddies for the weekend, as well as the other guys who turned out on Sunday, and I hope to see some of you soon at the Bwlch in S Wales.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Weekend Flying - May 28th/29th

Well guys, I'm not going to be around to fly our lovely, big Welsh slopes this weekend as I'm off to W Sussex to join Paul Hampshire and the boys of Slope Soaring Sussex flying on the South Downs.

Conditions look light for you guys with a predominately NE breeze of about 8 mph. Of course there will be a bit more on the slopes, and if you decide to fly at Fochriw, there will also be a lot of para gliders I expect.

Your alternative choices will be the Wrecker at the Bwlch or Hirwaun Common, but Hirwaun is a good 25 minute walk from the car park.

For me the weather looks like sunshine and showers on Saturday with an 8 mph NE breeze, turning drier with a northerly 14 mph breeze on Sunday.

Whatever you decide to do, have a good holiday weekend.

Happy flying
Steve

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Some more PSSA pictures

Here are some more pictures from last weekends PSSA meet. These are mostly of our local lads with a couple of extra pictures thrown in that I particularly liked.

I'm beginning to wish I hadn't sold the Lightning, which looks fab in flight.