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, 22 May 2015

Hitec Aurora 9 fault

Well I received the tx back from J Perkins, the UK distributor for Hitec, and they couldn't find anything mechanically wrong with the J3 gimbal, and they said it must be a programming fault.

Well I spent hours on it last night trying to sort it out. I even reset the settings on one model and began programming it from scratch. All was fine until I got to setting up CROW, and that is where the fault still lies.

When I sat down afterwards and thought about it, the fault seemed to occur after I had done a firmware update on the TX, so to my way of thinking, this is not a programming issue, but a software issue.

I've sent off another email to J Perkins but I don't think they will be able to help. In the meantime, next week I will try performing another firmware update to see if that resolves the problem, and if it doesn't, I have downloaded instructions on how to perform a factory reset.

So this evening I am going to set up the Thermal Instinct on my old Eclipse 7 Pro. This will mean the motor will be straight into full throttle when I hit the switch, so I'm going to have to keep a very close eye on that first launch to kill the motor immediately should the plane decide to do something silly, like a big loop and end up in a crumpled heap behind me.

Happy flying

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bank Holiday weekend flying and latest news

Hi all. Well another bank holiday weekend is almost upon us and weather wise it's a bit of a mixture.

Saturday looks like being very light, (4 - 5 mph), N - NE and a lovely, sunny day, so I am going to try out the Thermal Instinct for the first time. Hopefully Phil will come along and capture the event on video for me and I can try out some thermal hunting.

Sunday is looking cloudy with a 14 mph W - SW forecast, so hopefully this will equate to about 20 mph on the slope at Mickey's. Paul Hampshire of Slope Soaring Sussex is visiting this weekend so I shall be meeting up with him for the walk along the gravel track.

The weather man still can't seem to make up his mind about Monday and I have seen a couple of different reports, so I guess we shall have to take a look nearer the time and make a decision about flying then. But currently it's looking like a north westerly, so the Ice Cream Slope could be a good bet.


Next week I need to get on and make repairs to the Lightning in readiness for the trip up to N Wales on the 12th June, and get the Impala at least in a flyable condition.

I believe Phil has begun work on another correx build project, this time a MIG 7, or is it a MIG 3? either way, it's a WW2 Russian fighter which he is building for Andrew Meade, who is currently engrossed in completing his 1/6th scale PSS A10 Thunderbolt (Warthog), which he is trying to complete in time for the same event in N Wales.

I guess that's about all the news for now and I hope to see a few faces out and about on the slopes this weekend.

Happy flying

Sunday, 17 May 2015

PSS Lightning Maiden flight

So out on Meio Common today. The conditions weren't ideal really with the wind a little off the face and about 15-17mph in the compression zone, but I didn't know what strength of wind would be needed to keep my PSS Lightning in the air. The launch went well but I struggled to gain any height. I was able to make a couple of passes along the slope but then as I turned, the nose went up, I pushed the stick forward to lower the nose but she stalled and spun into the ground. Fortunately the damage is minimal. 
Here is the video.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Thermal Instinct F5J

Well I collected the Thermal Instinct today, after a terrible journey up to Tamworth to collect it. The M50 was closed between J1 & J2 and I was diverted all the way down to Gloucester where I crawled along in 1st gear through road works. 

I finally got there and met Colin, who is a lovely 80 year old guy with 60 plus years building experience, and it shows in this model, which is superbly built. Colin even gave me a lipo RX battery pack and a XT type connector to match the fitted ones on the model so that I can charge up the battery. 

So all I have to do is fit a RX, set it up on the TX and give it a chuck, for which of course I will create a video

Back soon

Friday, 15 May 2015

Flying Weekend 16/17th May

With a NW wind forecast for Saturday and West to WSW for Sunday, it was looking to be a good weekend to fly up the Bwlch. However, it appears that those pesky F3Fers are hogging the slopes again all weekend again.

Fortunately it isn't the end of the world and we have other, cracking good slopes to fly from locally. So I guess Abertysswg is the place to be on Saturday, and Meio Common on Sunday.

I have to drive up to Tamworth first thing tomorrow morning to collect my Thermal Instinct F5J, so I shall take my slope models with me and just head for Abertysswg on my return trip, so I should be there early afternoon. And as Abertysswg is a "park & fly" site, I may just take the Lightning with me to give it its maiden chuck there.

I hope to see some of you either on Abertysswg or Meio this weekend.

Happy flying

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

PSS English Electric Lightning

So back in March I purchased from Paul Hampshire at Slope Soaring Sussex, a Flair models English Electric Lightning PSS model, which had been stripped down to the bare balsa.

My intention was to have this ready to fly in time for the PSSA event at the Great Orme in Llandudno on the 27th/28th June and also so I'd have something to fly at the PSSA event at the Bwlch in September.

So with this in mind I got down to doing some refurbishing. There wasn't that much to do really apart from a lot of sanding down, which it really needed before the iron on film went on.

It's been 35 years since I last applied shrink film to a model and I was really impressed with the stuff I bought from Hobby King, which was a fraction of the price of the more popular brands but I found was applied very easily and shrinks very well. In particular the backing peeled off very easily. I will definitely be using this stuff again.

I had originally got some paint to apply to the plastic canopy, but then as I looked at it, I had an idea and tried a different approach. This was to use coloured parcel tape which I just happened to have in the right colours. It took a bit of shaping and may look a little rough around the edges on close inspection, but from a few feet away it isn't noticeable.

So what's left to do? I have to spray paint and attach the belly bulge, find and fit a pilot figure, fit elevator & rudder servo's, battery and RX, buy some decals and chuck it off a hill on Sunday.

Heres a few pictures.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Hollein Thermal Instinct F5J

Well after months of umming and ahhing, I've finally found a thermal soarer for this season to fly from the flat field, and the slope, specifically Meio Common, on those almost windless days. You know the ones, the sun is shining, the birds are twittering, you're sat there on the grass enjoying the sunshine and taking in the views of the Welsh valley's, whilst waiting for a puff of wind to come along in which to launch your pride and joy.

Well now I will be able to assemble my 2.85m Hollein Thermal Instinct F5J. By all the accounts I've read, Hollein produce first class balsa kits, and the gentleman I am buying this from, who I think said has 60 years building experience, agrees with this. And with his building experience, I'm expecting a cracking model.

Here's some video of someone elses Thermal Instinct.

Faulty Hitec Aurora 9

I was on the slope yesterday and had just assembled my Whisper 2m and was checking out the controls.

The first thing I noticed was that the elevator and rudder on the V tail was not operating smoothly, nor did it have the full amount of movement it should have had.

Secondly, and more worrying, crow would not operate on the throttle stick, and yes, I had the switch in the ON position. But also, on switching on, the flaps immediately went down by about 5mm. I checked the sliders and all was ok there. Obviously I didn't fly it and decided to check it out on my return home.

Once home I checked again and all was the same as before so, I reset all control settings to default and rebound the RX and began the set up procedure again.

The rudder and elevator worked perfectly but I still had the same issue with the flaps and crow so, I brought out my FVK Signal and tried that and had exactly the same issue with the flaps and crow. And just to be doubly sure, my Libelle DLG exhibited similar issues.

So it looks like a have a fault and will have to send my A9 away for repair.