The weather forecast for Saturday was good with some sunshine and a good breeze blowing, and this turned out to be the case as I was walking up the steep slope that overlooks that very long Atlantic beach and Worms Head.
I was expecting 20 mph plus on the top, but as I arrived at the trig point and walked towards the ridge line, I could feel it was way more than that. In fact my anemometer was reading 55 mph with gusts up to 59 mph. Of course this was just in the compression zone and if I walked back from the ridge by about 20 - 30 metres, it was probably more like 30 mph. So as long as my models could penetrate that initial, increased compression wind speed, the wind further out wouldn't be a problem for my lightest model, the X Models Whisper. But I made the decision to move down the slope from the trig where I measured the wind at around 46 mph.
I usually take a foamie with me and knowing there would be a good wind up there, I opted to take the EPP60 racing model, the Polecat, which weighs in at about 2 ¾lbs and would fly well up there. And I wasn't disappointed as it carved up the sky at a good rate of knots.
I'd also brought the L213 with me and went to launch it but, the wind was just too strong, and the TX which was dangling from a strap around my neck was being blown from side to side and I just didn't feel comfortable chucking it off the slope like that. So I moved back a few meters and decided to try it again, but the model went straight down and hit the ground. I couldn't see any damage so I decided to wait.
I set up the X Models Whisper and was able to throw that off the slope without any problem, but then it is very light and only a 2 metre wing span, and just as I had thought, once I'd got it through the compression zone, it was flying very well indeed.
No sooner had I launched the Whisper, I noticed a figure in the corner of my eye and it turned out to be Paul, on his summer holiday from Slope Soaring Sussex. He'd brought along his M60 foamie and a hybrid F3F machine that he called the Merlow. I think it was the fuselage of a Merlin and the wings from a Willow.
I launched the Merlow for Paul and it was banging in the booming lift, and Paul was obviously loving it.
Once the Merlow had landed, Paul launched his fully ballasted M60 and I launched my un ballasted Polecat. Both models seemed pretty equal speed wise, with the M60 maybe only having a slight edge. We both raced across the face of the slope and then put the nose up into a vertical climb before performing a stall turn at the top and accelerating down again. What fun that was.
I had a final, relaxed session flying the 2m Whisper before packing up and heading home. It was great to see Paul again and I must try to get down to Sussex before the end of the year on his home patch, flying on the South Downs.
Check out the video.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.