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.

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.