About A470 Soaring

This is the blog for a few guys who spend their time flying radio controlled gliders, or slope soarer's, from the many and varied slopes around SE Wales.

This usually begins at the northern end of Cardiff, driving north up the A470 up to the Heads of the Valley's and the southern fringe of the Brecon Beacons. But the A470 road continues its windy way all the way to N Wales.

There are many slopes available for most wind directions, the most famous being the area between Nant-y-Moel and Treorchi known as The Bwlch, which has some of the best slopes and flying in Europe with many F3F competitions being held there each year and visited by many fliers from Europe and around the world. At 1500 feet (450m) above sea level, there is usually more wind than not, and certainly more than at sea level.

If you require any further information, are new to slope soaring or are visiting the area, please contact Steve at steve.houghton59@gmail.com . I look forward to hearing from you.

Take a look at Page 2 (look below and to the left here) for Google maps of our most popular Flying Sites.

Thursday 26 February 2015

A catch up on last weekends flying

Well Saturday was the only available flying day due to the weather, and I met up with Mark at Abertysswg as we had a north westerly blowing in. We had thought about going to the Bwlch and flying on the Ice Cream slope but, with snow showers forecast, we thought being close to the car would be good so that we could take shelter. As it happened, that was a good idea. Phil turned up a little later with his youngest son and had a short while flying before the cold kicked in.

I arrived late morning with only 1°C showing on the car temperature readout. The wind was light and we could see bands of snow showers heading our way in the distance, coming in from the Brecon Beacons, so flying between them was going to be the order of the day.

As the day went on, the winds did pick up and Mark was able to fly his old Acacia F3F machine, whilst I flew the Whisper, Traceur and Wildthing.

The fin modification I made to the Wildthing, (see a previous post), worked well, which I was very pleased with. I'm still trying to get the settings right on the TX for the Traceur. For instance, when I first flew it, the elevator was far too twitchy with only a little movement input, so I added some expo. This worked, however, when I go inverted, I find that I have to push the stick well forward, and then all of a sudden the elevator kicks in too much and she shoots upwards. Maybe I should try reducing the movement a little more!

On Monday, Phil had another big angina attack and ended up in hospital, where he still is. We are hoping they will fit him with stents, which will help prevent the attacks. We all wish Phil a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back on the slopes soon, as I know he is dying to get out there.

It doesn't look like I will be flying this weekend. The weather forecast isn't good with rain for Saturday and 40mph blowing in on Sunday. As it happens, I am running in the St Davids Day 10k in Bute Park, Cardiff, so I wouldn't be flying anyway.

The following weekend I am heading to Crawley after work on Friday 6th, and then onto the slopes of the South Downs for some flying with Paul Hampshire and the boys of Slope Soaring Sussex on Saturday and Sunday, which I am really looking forward to. This will be my first of three "away" trips I have planned for this year so far. I love flying the slopes of S Wales but, it's nice to go elsewhere and try slopes in other areas.

Anyway, that is all for now and I hope to see you on the slopes soon.

Happy flying.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

PSSA event at the Bwlch

So it has finally been decided that the PSSA will hold their first ever, Fly for Fun event at the Bwlch on the 19th & 20th September 2015. If this proves to be a success, then hopefully we can have another next year also, which will also be the PSSA's 30th anniversary I believe.

It will be great to see such a variety of different models, of all shapes and sizes flying from our slopes.

And on the subject of PSSA events, there is one taking place in April on the Orme, and another in June, also at the Orme.

I shall look to go to the June event as my Lightning won't be ready to fly by the April one, and besides which, I am away on a sloping holiday in Cornwall then. But I will be looking to go to the June event and probably stay at the camp site where I stayed three years ago, when I flew with Tim Mackey and the boys, and a great time that was too. So if anyone fancies joining me on this jolly, I'd love to see you and we'll have a great time.

See you on the slope soon.

Monday 16 February 2015

SAS Wildthing fin attachment modification

For those of you flying the SAS Wildthing. Are you fed up with the model flipping over on landing and the fin being bust off? Well I have the solution. Attach the fin using rare earth magnets as per the photo's below.
I used a drill bit a similar diameter to the magnet and created a crater in the balsa side brace to one side of the fin and glued the magnet in. I then did the same diagonally across to the rear of the fin. Then corresponding craters in the foam wing with a magnet glued into each. The fin is now secure enough to fly but will come off in a heavy knock and, also makes the model easier to transport.

Friday 13 February 2015

I've succumbed to the PSS bug. Damned that Andy Meade!

So after having seen Andy flying some of his PSS models, I have been thinking that it might give me a bit more variety to have something different to fly.

I also want to fly some different slopes in different areas of the country, again for varieties sake. I've previously flown on the Great Orme in north Wales, Parlick Hill in Lancashire, and Rame Head in Cornwall, all of which offer great flying. So the weekend of the 7th March I'm heading to the South Downs to fly with the guys at Slope Soaring Sussex, and I'm having a weeks holiday down in Cornwall towards the end of April to fly some of the spectacular sea cliffs down there, St. Agnes Head in particular.

Anyway, back to the PSS thing. Paul Hampshire at Slope Soaring Sussex was advertising a Flair English Electric Lightning for sale, and I couldn't help myself and had to snap it up. It is in need of some attention, so I have a bit of work to do, but I know it flies.

This is it as it is now.

And this is how I'm hoping it will look once I've done some magic on it, in the colours of 56 Sqn, who I was with in the mid 70's at RAF Wattisham, although they were flying Phantoms by then.

And this is how she flies. I may have to add a ballast tray though.

Thursday 5 February 2015

February 6th & 7th Flying

Well I have tomorrow, (Friday) off work to go flying and go to the Wales v England Six Nations Championship rugby at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff.

So in the morning I'm heading off to Fochriw, and hopefully Mark will be meeting me up there, as the conditions are looking really good for some flying.

I shall be on Fochriw on Saturday morning as well for more fabulous flying and, our new visiting friend, Andy Meade will be joining us for the day.

Andy is going to bring some of his PSS models along with him, including a SAAB Viggen, which he hasn't maidened yet. Apparently this model has a very thin wing section and weighs in at a whopping 7lbs, so he's going to need a good deal of wind to get this thing in the air. Whether we shall see enough wind for that to happen, we shall see.

Unfortunately the wind is forecast to die away into single figures for Sunday, which means Fochriw will be swarming with para gliders, so I shall give it a miss. But at least I shall be getting two days flying in.

Here is a picture of Andy with his SAAB Viggen

Monday 2 February 2015

The Bwlch at its best

I couldn't make flying at the Bwlch but by all accounts the conditions were superb at the weekend.
Phil took this little bit of video with his phone. 

Sunday 1 February 2015

A smashing time on Meio

I could only manage a short time flying on Meio so I took the Traceur and the Polecat with me. 

The wind was about 25mph N to NW and I launched the Traceur. This plane loves stronger winds and she was flying fabulously until I pulled out of a manoeuvre a bit low, clipped the wing tip on the ground, and I bent the wing joiner. 

So I launched the Polecat, but after a few quick passes, I took the plane to far left, where the slope turns to westerly, lost the lift and she plummeted out of the sky. Oooops.