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.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Wishes from A470 Soaring

Due to Christmas and poor flying weather, I haven't been able to fly for the last couple of weeks and, I'm away the weekend after Christmas visiting family and friends but, I shall be flying the week after.

So I would like to wish all the regular guys at A470 Soaring, and all of our visitors around the world, a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year and I look forward to seeing you all on the slopes very soon.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Decisions, decisions

Once Christmas is over, I shall be looking to purchase a new glider. I want to take up flat field thermal soaring for those days when the forecast is showing wind speeds of 10 mph and less from Spring through to early Autumn and it isn't worth the drive to the slopes. Also it would be handy to fly in the evenings when I get home from work as the slopes are too far away for me to do that.

So I've been thinking long and hard about my requirements. It needs to be electric powered as I may be limited to field size for launching. My high start is 100m long and stretches to double its length, so on my current fields, I'm limited by the wind direction for that.

I want something of at least 2.5m span, preferably with a GF fuselage, with ailerons and flaps, and of ARTF build as I am limited to building on my dining room table, which still has to be used as a dining table.

T9 Hobbysport has a range of models from Topmodel, a supplier from the Czech Republic and I have shortlisted 4, the Avia 2.5m V tail with built up wings, Gracia 3.07m V tail with built up wings, Grafas 3.07m cross tail with built up wings, and the Fascination F5J 3.6m cross or V tail with balsa veneered foam wings.

If anyone has any experience of any of these, I would love to hear from you.

Avia 2.5m

Fascination F5J 3.6m

Gracia 3.07m 

Grafas 3.07m 

Monday, 1 December 2014

A welcome visitor to S Wales Sloping

This weekend, we were paid a visit by Andy Meade, who is well known amongst the PSS community and I met up with Andy on Saturday at Manmoel Common, the ENE facing slope which overlooks Festival Park Designer Discount Shopping Outlet at Ebbw Vale.

I arrived a while before Andy and our own Mark Williams when the breeze was only just strong enough to keep my Wildthing foamie in the air. By the time they had both arrived, the wind had completely died away and we were just stood there chatting and wondering whether a breeze might appear, but to no avail.

Sunday was a little better. Andy sent me a text message saying he was parked in the Wrecker lay-by at the Bwlch and there was a breeze blowing. I arrived about an hour later but again, there was only just enough air to keep a foamie up and found Andy and Mark, once again, chatting and wondering.

As the morning wore on and the ground warmed up in the sunshine, so the breeze picked up, and although it was still very light by Bwlch standards, we did manage to get in some satisfying flying on the north facing VR98 slope.

Down in our neck of the woods, we've never really got into PSS models, so everyone was very interested in seeing Andy's Messerschmitt ME-262, and even more interested to see it fly, and how well it flew indeed. Whether this will spur people to get on to build a PSS model I don't know, but we certainly enjoyed seeing something different on the slopes.

I think Andy enjoyed his time with us and our amazing slopes and that he will return sometime when the wind Gods are more favourable.

Here is some video of Andy flying his Precision Pike and ME-262, and Clive flying his Easy Glider.

Friday, 28 November 2014

The weekends flying

Hi all. Looking at the forecast for the weekend, Saturday morning looks like it is going to be dry with an ENE up to about 12 mph, slipping to NE in the afternoon, so Manmoel looks like the place to be and certainly where I will be as I shall be in the pub in the afternoon watching the Wales v S Africa game.

Sunday doesn't look so clear cut. XC Weather shows N whilst the BBC is showing NE, so a trip to the Bwlch may be in order to fly either the VR98 or the Wrecker, although the Wrecker can be a bit scary when the wind is light. But last Sunday, there was next to no wind down in the valley's and in Cardiff, but on the VR98 there was a good, stiff breeze blowing, so it would probably be fine.

If any of you reading this read RCM&E magazine, and look at the gliding forums on its website, you will probably have come across Andy Meade. Andy is big into PSS and, from the pictures I've seen, has some spectacular looking models.

Well Andy is meeting me at Manmoel tomorrow. I have no idea why he is visiting our neck of the woods as I know he flies a lot from the Orme, which we all know is the 2nd best place in the country to fly ;o). I shall get some pictures and video I'm sure to share here.

See you on the slope.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Scorpion F3F Crash

Our good friend Clayton turned up at the VR98 slope on Sunday with his Scorpion F3F model. Shortly after launching, Clayton lost contact with the plane, as the following video shows.


The weather forecast for Sunday was a 10 mph north westerly so, when I arrived at the Bwlch and expecting to have to walk to the ice cream slope, I was surprised to find the wind northerly and a good deal stronger than forecast. In fact, the lift was awesome, although bitterly cold and smooth as silk, no turbulence at all, but then the Bwlch is often like that anyway.

Here is some video footage of me flying my Wildthing, which after 3 years, I'm still loving.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

10,000 Blog Views

A470soaring.blogspot.co.uk has reached a milestone by receiving 10,000 blog views. Here is a breakdown of the number of views and the countries that they have come from.

United Kingdom
United States

Please keep coming back and I will keep providing more stuff. Thank you for viewing.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Sunday on Fochriw again

I met up with Mark, Chris, Phil, Josh and Wayne on Fochriw. The wind was light, 10 - 12 mph I would say, but the air was very smooth.

I was only there for an hour or so and wanted to try out my new hat cam again. It seems ok but the colour isn't as good as I would have hoped. I also need to fly closer to the ridge so that the model doesn't look like a dot in the distance.

Anyway, this was me flying the X Models Whisper.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Doug's Salto

Our regular visitor from Sussex, Doug spent the weekend in Gods playground again and he joined Mark, Chris and myself on Meio on Sunday where he flew this beautiful Salto. I have to say that at times it looked very real in the air.

Traceur 0 - 1 Guppy

I got a chance to fly the Traceur on Saturday on the Meio, and Clive was also flying his Guppy, the smaller brother of the Le Fish. Conditions were, um, lively, and off the slope face but, this didn't stop us having fun, and a mid air too, in which the Traceur came off worse.

This was also a chance for me to try out my new hat cam.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Weekends Flying Ahead

Mark is not available until early afternoon on Saturday and so is heading up Meio, which suits me also as I have some things to do in the morning.

Sunday the forecast is for it being cloudy, possible light showers and a 16/17 mph south westerly, so a trip to Mickey's may be in order for some "big air" flying.

Our old friend Clayton, otherwise known as Skippy, may be along too for his first flying in 2 years. It'll be good to see him.

Phil isn't flying this weekend, and I don't know about Chris, he may still be puppy sitting, but I hope to see some of you out and about over the weekend.

I also have a new head cam to try out, which should be fun.

See ya soon glider guiders.

Phil's Video

Unbeknown to me until Wednesday evening, Phil used my camera to film some of Sundays action on the Meio.
Well done Phil, good work!

Meio Foamie Fun Fly from Chuck Glider on Vimeo.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Good flying day

Eight of us on Meio today! I can't remember seeing that many people or planes in the air at the same time!

I would guess the wind was a little over 20 mph with Wildthing, Spook, Hawk, Traceur, Polecat and Odysseys darting about in the sky. 

Here are some pictures. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

This weekends flying

I met up with Mark today for a couple of hours flying on Meio. Conditions were iffy with regular showers and good patches of both lift and sink. 

Ron Broughton, that man famous for EPP 60 man on man racing, came along flying one of his own designs and a Flying Fish, 60" mouldie. 

It turns out that the model Phil gave me and said was an M60, turns out to be a Ron Broughton Polecat

So for tomorrow, it has been decided that we shall all fly on Meio, as Phil wants to stay local and Chris may only be able to get out for an hour or so and doesn't want to travel far. 

See you there if you're going. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Where to fly?

Well although the weather looks like being cloudy on Sunday, the south westerly wind looks like being around 15-20 mph. I was hoping it might be westerly so we could fly at Rhossili, a slope I've wanted to fly for a while now.

Mark fancies heading up to the Bwlch but, instead of flying Mickey's, he wants to fly the Blaengarw slope. I've never flown on this slope but I've seen it from the village of Blaengarw down in the valley below. It is truly an awesome sight. It is a huge bowl of a slope that must be over 1000ft high. Your neck strains as you you look up towards the ridge.

I shall keep an eye on the weather forecast and make a decision on Saturday evening. In the meantime, here is a video of Mark and Roger flying the Blaengarw slope.

Nuclear Dwarf and Cliffhanger let out for a day somewhere in South Wales from Cliff Hanger on Vimeo.

Monday, 20 October 2014

40 mph Winds on Meio

Whilst I was away at the weekend, Phil, Mark & Clive flew on Meio on Sunday. Apparently the wind was touching 40 mph and good fun was had flying the foamies. 

Here are a few pics. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cornwall visit - Day 3

Today the wind was south westerly at an estimated 25 mph. I was standing on a shear, vertical cliff on Rame Head with the sea and white foam crashing onto the cliff below. 

Tentatively I launched the M60. I've discovered that when the wind is blowing well, the M60 has to be launched with a good amount of up elevator held on with the stick, otherwise it plunges nose first into the ground. This is what it did today and the plane almost came a cropper and was about 2 feet away from dropping over the cliff. 

Second try and away she went and rose a good 100' before I sent her running parallel with the cliff. 

Picking up speed I was amazed at the energy retention of this model and it reminded me of Marks old Ballistik as it would climb vertically before stall turning it into another dive and with each pass of the cliff face, it got faster and climbed higher. 

Eventually I had to land her and I brought her around. As she came into the wind I should have put the nose down and landed her further back from the slope edge because I hadn't realised there was some rotor going on and she was tossed onto the ground with a thump. 

You can't float this plane down for a landing, it has to be done with some speed to stop her from tip stalling. 

All in all, it was a great weekend where I did manage to get in a little flying and I shall be back next spring for more. 

Oh, and my new car transportation method worked a treat. The models didn't budge and I still had full view through the rear window. 

Cornwall visit - Day 2

I had too many other things to do on Saturday than to fly. Well, except that as I was driving along Whitsand Bay I was on the look out for a suitable flying location but, I could only find one that had a landing zone, which was by the link road to Polhaven Hotel. 

This was a grassy slope but not very steep. I launched the Wildthing but it was immediately obvious that this wasn't going to be a good flying venue as the air was very turbulent, tipping the wings of the WT here and there, so I landed and headed back to the B&B. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Cornwall visit - Day 1

I headed off to Rame Head in SE Cornwall, a 5 minute drive from where I'm staying at Kingsands. The wind was south easterly and maybe a little over 20 mph. 

I decided to try the M60 and tentatively through it off. The lift was good and turbulent free, as is usually the case with coastal flying sites. 

I was impressed with the M60's performance but I do need to increase aileron movement s little at a time to improve the roll rate. And when performing reversals it tends to roll better to the left, so I need to adjust that too. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Phil maidens his Spirit 100

So today's action was on Fochriw, with a light, (10 mph ish) breeze blowing. We had to share the slope with a load of para gliders, unfortunately, but we expect that when the wind is light.
Phil had brought along his latest acquisition, a Great Planes Spirit 100 thermal soarer. He hadn't had time to fully programme his transmitter, then discovered that a newly fitted flap servo didn't want to work but, he taped up the flaps and we headed into the rise to the rear of the slope for a few test glides before committing it to the slope. 

As for the rest of the day? We did manage to have some foamy fun but we were constantly having to dodge the para gliders. 

Here is the video, taken using my iPhone.

Friday, 10 October 2014

This Weekends Flying

So it's now looking like it isn't worth getting out of bed tomorrow to go flying with a maximum of 3 mph wind forecast. 
Sunday is looking marginally better with a maximum of 9 mph north easterly so I guess Fochriw could be on the cards, and pack the car with light wind models. 
See you there?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


Now I'm starting to become a little irritated by the weather! During the week, when I'm slaving away in a Bristol office, I look out of the window and can see the tree branches and leaves blowing nicely in the stiff breeze. Then, I look at the forecast for the weekend and we get the worst wind direction, (southerly) and single figure wind speeds, (for Saturday), and although Sunday is looking better with a south westerly, it's still only forecast to be 8 mph.

So I think Saturday will have to be a trip up to the Bwlch to fly Back of Wrecker, which will offer me the best conditions, although not enough wind to fly my new Traceur, although the M60 may get a thrashing. As for Sunday? I will make a decision nearer the time.

You never know, the weather man could change his mind by Friday and it could be totally different by then.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Yayyyy, we managed to fly today.

When I arrived at Meio Common, Mark and Wayne were already there and flying on the NW facing slope. 

The wind seemed less strong than the 17 mph forecast and I would guess it was about 12 mph, but at least the sun was shining. 

I tried to fly the Traceur firstly but there wasn't enough wind. I think this is going to need at least 18 mph and more to get the best out of it. 

So I tried flying the M60 that Phil gave me. As I launched I realised I didn't have enough aileron movement on low rates, but fortunately I'd dialled more movement into high rates, which did the job. 

I did struggle to gain any real height so that I could put the plane into a power dive, gain some speed and energy to see what she would do. What I did manage to do was all good and I'm looking forward to some good autumnal weather to be able to put both models through their paces. 

Andrew came along also with his 60" Wildthing. I'd taken my old Spektrum DX6i transmitter with me so we could link the two transmitters with a buddy lead. This proved to be very successful and Andrew managed to get plenty of flying time in without me having to take control. This is obviously the way forward and I'm sure Andrew will only be on the buddy lead for a short time. 

Mark & Wayne chilling in the sunshine. 

The M60

Friday, 3 October 2014

At last some wind!

Well Saturday looks like being a flying day after the forecasted morning rain has passed, and with a 17 mph north westerly forecast, I think a trip to the Meio is in order. I'm itching to fly my Tracuer again! I've also got the M60 ready for another test flight. The last time I tried to fly this, I had a couple of test throws away from the slope and the switch failed, so it was a good job I didn't commit that one to the slope, but flying it on Meio means that if it does go down, it is easily retrievable.
Sunday is forecast to be rainy but at least I will get my weekly fix tomorrow. :)
I suspect Mark & Chris will head up to the Bwlch to fly the Ice Cream Slope but I know Phil and his lad Josh are coming to Meio.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Hollein Climaxx

I shall be ordering the Hollein Climaxx, 2.5m thermal soarer in November so, I've been looking at all the extras I'm going to need to buy to go with it. 

I've decided to go for the electric version of this model as finding a flat field large enough to use my hi start, with 360* launching direction is posing to be something of a problem. An electric powered model will mean I can fly from a much smaller field. The model also has 80* dropping flaps which means I can land in a smaller area also. 

Hollein recommend a Hacker A30 14L V3 motor but, these cost a lot more than I want to pay, so I've been trolling the net to find a cheaper equivalent. I think I've found one on the Pheonix MP site, a Tornado Thumper but, when you don't really know about motors its a bit of a mine field. 

The ESC and battery shouldn't be a problem, nor the prop and spinner, but choosing the servos could be the next headache. 

So I shall be ordering all these bits in October and, once I have the kit, it should keep me busy during the winter months building it ready for next Spring. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Another windless weekend looms

Looking at this weekends weather forecast, it hardly seems worth getting out of bed, let alone charging batteries for model flying. But the optimist in me cannot but help this weekly ritual of checking the forecast and choosing my models to suit the forecasted conditions. So I have the Libelle and Whisper on charge. 

It also seems hardly worth driving miles to a slope, only to find there's more chance of landing out than staying airborne, so I think I may stay local and set out the bungee for the Whisper, as long as the sun makes an appearance. I know one doesn't need the sun to be out to catch thermals but, with the luck I've had this year at thermal soaring, I need as much help from the sun as possible. 

Anyway, we'll see, the weather man has been known to be wrong before. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday on Fochriw

Well firstly, thank you to Marc from Slope Soaring Sussex for coming along today and joining in with the flying fun. I think he had an easy introduction to Welsh flying as we were unable to fly at the Bwlch due to the Welsh Open F3F championships taking place there. 

We had to share the Fochriw slope with a load of paragliders and hang gliders, but we all got on ok and there were no incidences. 

The wind on my arrival was probably about 18 mph but quickly dropped by a good 10 mph and we were struggling to fly anything other than a few foamies. 

Here are a few pics.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Traceur Maiden Flight

With an easterly forecast on Sunday, the obvious choice of venue to fly was the mighty Crest at the Bwlch. However, I wanted to maiden my Traceur and M60, and the Crest is the least forgiving slope around, so it wasn't my first choice to fly these models for the first time. Mark, Chris and Wayne headed up to the Crest whilst Phil and I went to Manmoel, which overlooks Festival Park in Ebbw Vale, which is a much more forgiving slope with little rotor. The slope faces east and today we had 20 mph plus, plenty of lift for this and in fact, I was a little worried that maybe the wind was too strong, but I needn't have worried.

We test glided the M60, (this is an early version of this plane) but there was a problem and we lost power to the electrics which I suspect is a switch problem so, I'm going to rip out the switch, ( always seems to be the weak link in a radio system) and change the battery.

The Traceur went out fine. It did need quite a few clicks of left aileron and a couple on elevator. I'd set it up with no expo, which I'm not used to as I always put expo on aileron and elevator, but this is not a fast model and I got used to not having exp very quickly. I did pass the tx over to Phil, but he didn't like not having expo.

Anyway, this is a really fun plane and I'm going to look forward to flying this. Here's the video.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Windless Sunday

Lots of text messages were being sent back and forth between myself, Chris & Mark to decide where to fly. 

The forecast was for a very light north easterly breeze. Our choices were the Wrecker at the Bwlch, but with this being a near vertical, 1000ft cliff, this can be a butt clenching experience flying in such light winds. I know, I've done it and lost a plane half way down. Fochriw would have been our favourite venue but you could bet the paragliders would have been there too. So we decided to play safe and head for Meio Common. 

On arrival it was obvious that we were going to struggle as most of the breeze in our faces were being generated by thermals, and that wind means sink. 

Mark managed to get his newly repaired Mini Graphite up, (good to see that flying again Mark), but ended up running out of air and had to land. Chris had the same even with his Experience Pro F3J. So most of the flying was done with Libelle and Blaster DLG's. 

I did try to give the Traceur it's first flight and walked back up the slope where the slope is shallow and gave her a chuck. She wanted to go down so I gave her six clicks of elevator up trim and threw her again. She flew nicely all tbe way down and over the steep part of the slope. I managed one traverse of the slope before I ran out of air to keep me up and had to land in the ferns 10 metres down the slope. 

Ah well, we occasionally get days like that. Hopefully next weekend will be better and I can give the Traceur a proper maiden flight. 


Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mickey's Magic

Last Sunday I met up with Big Phil, Wayne, Mark and Chris, the usual suspects on Mickey's at the Bwlch. The wind was light but we still had some good flying.

Chris had bought a Mini Graphite 1.9m which he successfully maidened. This is a marvellous little  plane which will fly in a gnats fart or in stronger winds. It's fast, agile, but most of all it's fun.

Here is a video of some of the action.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Traceur Build

Well it's taken me a while, due to holidays, and having to repair existing models but, the Tracuer is almost complete.

For a foamie there was quite a lot to do, and messy too, having to router out various holes for the RX battery, the RX, servos and all the cables. There was foam everywhere. It's a good job I'm not married or her indoors would have something to say I'm sure. But I'm sure I do faff about a bit too. But it is a model that you have to think about when building as the instructions are nigh on non existent. 

I did make a modification as well as to how the wing is joined to the fuselage. The carbon tube spar protrudes 20mm out of the wing at the root and enters the fuselage. Instead, I used a length of carbon tube of around 10 inches long, using it as you would a wing joiner on a moulded model, and slid over the top a short length of brass tube, just the width of the fuselage for the centre section. It's far more secure I think. The earth magnets supplied are surprisingly strong but I wanted the added security of a proper wing joiner. I'd have hated to have seen one wing come flying off during an aerobatic manouvre.

All I have left to do now is to permanently attach the tail feathers, connect the controls with snakes and rods, and add some colour. Unfortunately I'm away now for the weekend so that isn't going to get done until next week, but it's only an evenings work. 

So what next? Well, I'd like to build more and so there is a new model available called the Red Eagle, a 2 channel, 2m electric soarer. Those of you who get RCM&E magazine will know it. It was designed as a cheap club project for club competitions F5J style. A full kit with plan and DVD is available, so that is what I'm going to do next as a precursor to building the Climaxx, a 2.5m soarer with 4 servo wing, this will be my winter project instead of festering in front of the tv after work on weekdays.

Post Addition 4th September
Well the Traceur is finally finished and just waiting to be flown but, I only have this Sunday available to fly and at the moment we're looking at 7 mph northerly's, so I guess that means either the VR98 slope at the Bwlch or, Hirwaun Common just north of the Bwlch. My choice would be Hirwaun because it is a much higher slope, (1000ft plus), has a better landing zone and, as there is an open cast coal mine at the bottom, it gets very good thermals. I feel this may give me the better conditions to maiden the Traceur. But we all know the weather man can change his mind so we'll see nearer the time.

Hopefully I will post some completed and flying pictures/video next week.

So here are some build pictures of the Traceur

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Big Air Weekend

Well what a fab weekends flying that was! Mark, Chris and myself flew on Mickey's slope at the Bwlch where the air was booming but, it was flippin cold up there. You wouldn't have believed it is still only August. Brrrrr!

Here are a few pics Chris took of the landscape there.

Sunday saw Myself, Mark, Chris, Phil & Wayne at the Abertysswg slope where again we had booming lift. A few locals turned up too with foamies and at one stage I think we had 8 in the air at the same time.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Highway Code Refresher

I pinched this from another blog but I liked it so thought I would spread the word.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Weekend Flying 16th & 17th August

Well the forecast for this weekend seems ok with some dry weather ahead, wind westerly in the teens mph wise, so I guess a trip to Mickey's at the Bwlch is in order.

I've finally got around to building the Traceur, VTPR aerobat. The fuselage and tail feathers are done, tomorrow evening I'll sort out the wings and then that'll be it for this week. Next week I shall look to cover it in laminate film and add some decoration. I just need to purchase some snap link connector extenders to fit onto the snakes for rudder and elevator. So a trip out after work one evening may be on the cards to give it its maiden flight.

There are no instructions with the kit so it's a case of thinking carefully about how you're going to build it. As it is, I have made one or two errors but have managed to get around them. I will post a build blog once the plane is finished.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A mixed week

I met up with Phil and Mark on Thursday after work but the top of Meio didn't have enough wind to create any lift. I'd taken the high start with me also but the folliage on the top is about 3ft long and I felt that the line could get caught up so I didn't want to risk a launch.

After a while of chatting, the wind picked up to a very marginal, will it, won't it, speed. What the hell, and I threw off the Whisper. Now I love this plane as it will fly in the lightest of breezes or 30mph quite happily, and I needn't have worried as she flew straight and level.

I couldn't gain any height but it didn't look like it was going to sink to the point of me having to land out.

Phil was flying his Libelle and Mark had his Xperience Pro back from having a repair done. So we all managed a little bit of flying, which is better than non.

Saturday and I met Chris and Mark on Meio once again. We had a good, stiff breeze blowing in our faces, the lift was great and so was the flying, until the showers arrived, which brought an end to that session. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next weekend.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sun, wind and gliders too

Firstly I would like to say welcome to Andrew who came along to the Bwlch a couple of weeks ago to see what we at A470soaring.blogspot.co.uk do at the weekends. Andrew must have been impressed because he turned up at Meio Common with a Wildthing 60 today. With a bit of work the lads got his plane set up on his tx and it was out on its maiden flight and being trimmed out.

It wasn't the best day conditions wise to get Andrew on the sticks. The lift wasn't great, it was blustery, thermic, with big sink too. Hopefully in the weeks to come we will have better conditions to give him some stick time.

On the other hand, Wayne is now doing really well. His confidence is building with each flight and he seems to be loving it.

We did manage to get some flying in and were joined by three guys from the Gaer Park MFC who couldn't fly their power models due to the windy conditions at their flying field near Marshfield, between Newport and Cardiff, so they came to the Meio to get in some "proper" flying ;o)

The weather for the coming week looks unsettled but hopefully it'll calm down for next weekend. So we hope to see you on a nearby slope soon.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Another Fab Sunday at the Bwlch

Well the usual crew ended up on the Ice Cream Slope at the Bwlch on Sunday, with an estimated 20 - 25mph breeze blowing, huge thermals, we all had a fab time.

                                          Mark      Big Phil       Chris       Steve

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Big Air on Mickey's

Well Sunday saw the usual crew heading out to the furthest slope at the Bwlch, Mickey's West, with all sorts of models there to fly.

Halfway through the afternoon, a visiting couple, Steve and Jackie from Bern, Switzerland turned up with three models to fly. Apparently Steve had read on a forum about the amazing flying to be had at the Bwlch and so they decided to make the trip.

Well they certainly seemed to enjoy the smooth, booming lift, which Steve said was so different to back home, where the air is very turbulent. We hope Steve and Jackie will return again some day and maybe spread the word and bring a few friends with them.

Here is some video of the day.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Paul Hampshire is a jinx!

Paul from Slope Soaring Sussex was on a flying, (pardon the pun) visit to S Wales and joined me at the Bwlch for an hours flying on the Wrecker on Saturday before rain stopped play.

Now, whenever Paul visits the area, or threatens to visit, the wind all of a sudden decides to do a disappearing act, and this weekend was no different. There was barely enough slope lift to keep even a Libelle in the air, but thankfully the odd thermal came our way to keep us in the air and entertained.

Here is some video Paul took of our flying.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Dream Flight Libelle Blog

A blog specifically for Dream Flight Libelle owners has been created so that everyone can share their experiences, good or bad. So take a look, subscribe, and contribute if you like.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

DLG Addiction

I think I'm addicted to discus launched gliding! I've been out at every opportunity with the Libelle, chucking it up, and gliding it down but, I must have thrown it up hundreds of times and have only hit one decent thermal, and that was on the top of Meio Common. I've managed to circle at low altitude and just maintain height three or four times for a few seconds but that's about it. I just don't think that the Libelle can achieve enough height on the launch to be able to get into that rising column of air.

So what is the answer? Well, I think it's about putting my hand in my pocket and buying a glass and carbon ship, something that can get me up to around 30 - 40 metres on a launch. So I'm going to keep an eye open for something second hand, maybe a Longshot, Topsky or Blaster. So if anyone reading this has something suitable for sale, please contact me, either via the Shout Box, email, or phone if you have my number.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

It was a disaster darling!

Noon on Saturday saw me parked at the foot of the Meio Common slope, my intention to do some bungee flying on the flat top of the common as the wind forecast was NW and 5 - 7 mph. Once I'd got to the top of the slope the wind was minimal, but what there was, was north easterly, so I made my way over to the far side of the common.

I tried out the air by launching the Libelle, which confirmed the wind direction and so I put together the Whisper, checked out all the controls were working as they should, and set out the hi start bungee.

I attached the parachute ring to the tow hook on the Whisper and stretched out the line by 120 paces, which is tight enough for a good, steep launch but, not too difficult to hold the plane with one hand whilst you twiddle the sticks one last time before committing the plane to the air.

I gave her a good throw and she veered off to the left, something which it has done a few times before and probably the way I throw it. I immediately began to correct with rudder until my right hand could get onto the aileron stick. She straightened up but then at only about 10m above the ground, she came off the hook, banked over hard right, and spiralled into the ground nose first.

Fortunately the damage appears minimal. I thought the inner nose cone would have broken loose but it was solid. One of the V tail fins had come off but that proved to be ok. The steel wing joiner was now bent however, and I managed to remove it but it came out with the brass ferrule it slides through. I have had some issues with this ferrule in the past and a little thought will be needed to fix this back into place.

So now it was time to assemble the Elegant and give her a test fly. The last time I flew here she kept wanting to bank to the left, so I have made some adjustments which I was hoping would help.

After assembly I checked the controls and did a range check, all seemed ok except, the wind had changed direction and amazingly had swung around through 180 degrees to SW. So I wound up the bungee, collected my things together, and walked back across the common to the SW facing slope.

I decided I was going to hand launch the Elegant off the slope, and so with a good old heave ho, off she went.

She began to rise in the 5 mph breeze, to my relief but, she still wanted to bank to the left. One thing I had forgotten to do when I made my previous adjustments, was to zero the trims, doh, and so I had nothing to play with trim wise on ailerons, so I was having to hold on quite a lot of right aileron to get her to fly straight and level but, she was flying very nicely in that slight breeze.

I made a few passes further out from the slope, maintaining height, but then she began to descend slowly so I began to bring her into the slope, thinking that I could plonk her down, if need be, in front of me.

With little height I made a right turn and, as she came over the ridge, she then dropped a wing, fell out of the air and hit the ground. As I walked towards her, I realised that the shape of the fuselage was wrong and as I neared her, my first fears were realised. The fuselage had snapped about halfway between the wing trailing edge and the fin.

It is repairable and I will take a look at it at a later date, but I have other things to do first. But here is a picture of the damage.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Hitec Aurora 9

Ok, so I went and did it. I bought an almost new Hitec Aurora 9 transmitter off eBay so, this evening I've been reading more closely through the manual and I'm just amazed at what it can do. I especially like the feature for hi start launches where the full wing is cambered by flicking a switch but, once the plane reaches the apex of the launch, the launch position is automatically switched off when you push the nose down using elevator before you ping the plane off the line.
So once I'm back from my hols at the end of the month it's down to programming all my planes.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

What do they say practice makes?

I went out flying my Dream Flight Libelle again this evening. There were no thermals but my launch technique is improving, after watching countless videos. I've also been experimenting with adding speed flap on launch, about 1.5 mm of reflex on the ailerons gives you a much faster and steeper climb out.

At the top of the launch I'm trying to remember to level off quickly, before it reaches maximum height otherwise it stalls and you lose about 10' of height, and then flicking the switch to go from speed flap to normal. So on this evenings flights I was easily making an estimated 60' - 70'. Ok, that's nowhere near as high as the F3K guys go, but for a beginner flying an EPO DLG, that's not bad I think.

I've also added crow braking (on GLIDER set up, but you could set up Landing on an ACRO set up), which slows the plane down enough to be able to catch it easily but, if it is going to land on the ground, the plane adopts a nose down attitude, especially if you've set up elevator compensation. This has the effect of making the plane land nose first, so saving that delicate tail fin, (which I've already knocked off on mine).

So, the old adage of "practice makes perfect" is definitely true. Now all I have to do is find some thermals.

14th & 15th June Weekend Flying

Well the weather forecast looks good for this weekend, however, the wind is light and north west to north east mostly, 7 - 9 mph, which would normally mean flying at Fochriw but, when we get light winds like that, it usually also brings out the para gliders there. So I think I'll go up on Meio Common on Saturday as I still need to test fly my Elegant on the bungee. On Sunday I may just go up to Fochriw and hope that the wind is too light for the paras as I think there may be enough room on the other side of the road to lay out a bungee if there isn't enough wind to fly with a hand launch from the slope.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Thermal Soaring Meio

Well after this mornings thunder storm, and the heavy showers that followed, the sun made an appearance, so I got the Elegant & Whisper together and headed off to Meio Common with the hi start bungee.
When I arrived, there was no one else there so I slowly trudged up the steep slope to the flat top of the common and began to take the Elegant out of my bag when I realised I'd forgotten one vital item. The tailplane! Doh! I was so looking forward to giving that a test flight too. 
Not to worry, I still had all the items needed to fly the Whisper which I assembled. Upon switching her on and testing the controls, I found that I had a dodgy, intermittent fault with the right flap, which I had repaired 2 weeks ago and was fine flying all last weekend. 
Well I wasn't going to let a flap stop me so up she went on the bungee, launching her over the slope. 
There wasn't any slope lift and I couldn't find a thermal so it was a short couple of flights. 
By this time Chris and Mark had arrived and Mark had with him a Xperience Pro F3J machine, but I'll tell you about that maiden flight in another post. 
Third flight of the Whisper and by now there was enough slope lift to just keep me in the air until a thermal came my way, which it did and I spent about 20 minutes cruising around. So deciding to bring her in I picked up another thermal and she was heading up to the top floor again so I headed down wind, away from the slope, with the intention of circling to lose height, but she just kept going up, past the 500' mark I would say. 
Well, it took me over 10 minutes to get her down to a height where I could take her back for a long approach, (no crow remember) and a nice touch down. 
I'm certainly loving this thermal soaring lark more now, and when I can combine it with slope lift on light, marginal days, it gives an extra dimension to glider flying. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Thundery Showers

Well this weekends forecast isn't looking too good with heavy, thunder showers forecast for Saturday and a light S to SSW breeze, and Sunday is being forecast as wet with a 15mph southerly.
I was hoping to try my Elegant off the hi start bungee again, and may still do on the top of Meio if there is a gap in the showers on Saturday. I can't make flying on Sunday so I shall have to make do with what I can although if I chuck the Libelle in the back of the car I'm sure I'll get a chance to give that a chuck at some stage.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Whisper & Libelle

This is me launching my Whisper off the high start bungee over the slope on Meio Common as the slope wind was only about 5-7mph. The height the bungee gave me allowed me to go thermal hunting for a while.
Then flying my new Dream Flight Libelle, which is just as much fun on the slope as on the flat field.

Phil's Algebra 100"

This is Phil giving his Algebra 100 it's maiden flight off Meio Common last Sunday with an impressive landing overshoot.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Chris maidens his Multiplex Solius

On Saturday Chris gave his new impulse buy, the Multiplex Solius its maiden flight. This is what happened.

A weekends flying

Well what a fun weekend that was!

I met up with Mark and Chris on Meio Common on Saturday morning to find that there was hardly a breath of wind but, Chris broke out his new Multiplex Solius, which tuned out to be a nice, light wind flier, and for me it was my new Dream Flight Libelle DLG. I also set up my high start bungee to give me some height advantage, launching the Whisper over the slope.

I maidened my new Elegant thermal soarer but quickly realised that there was a problem as it kept wanting to gently turn to the left and for all my efforts, it did not want to turn to the right. All the wing control movements are identical and I can see no sign of a warped wing. So I'm going to have to look at that before I fly it again.

On Sunday I was joined by Mark, Chris, Phil and Wayne. Conditions were very light to begin with but picked up in the afternoon.

Phil maidened his Algebra 100 off the slope and then we gave it a few launches from the bungee, this being Phil's first ever bungee launch, and very successful it was too. I think Phil just needs to get some experience and build his confidence in flying a rudder/elevator only model.

Wayne had his first proper flight with his Wildthing, which was successful too.

Chris, amongst other models, was flying his Blaster 3 DLG, both on the slope, and further back away from the slope on the commons flat top.

I launched my Whisper from the slope and with the bungee but I had the most fun with the Libelle. Later in the day I was flying it back from the slope, it was just hovering, maybe only 40' off the ground when it began to rise up in a thermal, and went up and up and up. Eventually, as my neck was aching so much from looking up, I tried to break out from the thermal by circling it behind me but it picked up so much speed that the ailerons became ineffective, as did the elevator, but fortunately the rudder was still functioning and got me out of trouble.

Anyway, here is a snapshot video of the weekends action. I shall put on some separate videos during the week of the various models we had flying this weekend.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Preparation for weekend flying

Well I've been busy readying models for this weekends flying. The forecast looks warm and dry but with a very light breeze on Saturday, so I've readied the Libelle for some DLG fun, fixed the flap problem on the Whisper, (a soldered joint had come apart) and the Elegant, which I am still looking to maiden, so both of those will be able to go up on the bungee or off the slope if the wind is strong enough but, I really want to get in some thermal action off the bungee.
I reckon the Meio will be the best bet as it has both a slope and a flat top to bungee from and, if the paragliders turn out, the bungee could be a good option.
I hope to see some of the guys up there either on Saturday or Sunday.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Libelle Maiden Flight

Well I had an hour to spare early this morning, the sun was out, the breeze was light, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to head over to a local football field and try out the Libelle.
The first few throws were javelin style to test the trim, which only needed a few clicks of up elevator.
After that I tried the discus style launch and tested the landing flaps, which needed less down elevator compensation. The next throw proved my adjustment to be spot on.
For about an hour I launched, and launched but I couldn't seem to achieve any real height, so I guess some practice is in order whenever the opportunity arises, particularly after work in the evenings.

Wildthing in the doodas!

I knew I wasn't really going to get a chance to get much flying in this weekend, if any. Partly due the the weather and other commitments I had planned.
On Saturday my girlfriend and I had planned to go for a walk up Cwmcarn Forest Drive and to the Silurian hill fort, which dates back to 500BC, on the top of Twmbarlum, a 1,375 metre mountain which overlooks Newport and Cardiff.
This was the place where I took my very first foray into the world of slope soaring 3 years ago so, I couldn't go up there without at least taking with me some foam to throw off the hill which, just happens to have a SE facing slope, and which direction was the wind blowing that day? Yep, you guessed.
So I threw off the Wildthing and, to be fair, the flying was pretty good although a little turbulent if you got a bit too close to the ground, so I made sure I kept some good height.
The landing was text book and I walked the few yards over to where it had come to rest only to find the nose buried in a very wet, sloppy, fresh, cow pat.