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 20 December 2015

Final flying session before Christmas

So I met up with the usual crowd on the top of Meio with a good 25 mph blowing, the rain held off, and it wasn't too cold.

There was a good mixture of foamies, including my newly rebuilt Wildthing, a PSS Vulcan bomber, and Chris had resurrected his old M60. Phil and Josh were also flying their Impala and Mig 3 correx models, Mark and Chris were also flying various mouldies.

As time went on, so the wind picked up to an estimated 35 - 40 mph and our models were beginning to struggle to penetrate the ever increasing wind, so we decided to call it a day.

Here's a couple of, "ooops" moments for you.

Wayne loses it in the suns glare

Friday 18 December 2015

This Weekends Flying & Christmas Plans

So this is the last weekend before the big Ho, Ho, Ho, (Christmas), and Saturdays forecast looks like being rain ,rain, rain. Which suits me as I have a family, Christmas get together to attend on Saturday afternoon anyway, after going out to the pub for a few beers with friends this evening, so I wouldn't be flying anyway.

Sunday looks like being quite breezy with rain showers and a south westerly blowing in. So I think I'm just going to grab a couple of foamies, the rebuilt Polecat and Wildthing, and chuck them off Meio for a couple of hours from late morning.

I finish work on Christmas Eve and am not back until the 4th January. During that period I have a window of three days, the 27th, 28th & 29th when I'm free to fly before I have to make a trip up north for the New Year celebrations, but hopefully I should be returning home on the Saturday and so free to fly on the Sunday. So I hope to see some of the familiar faces on the slopes of S. Wales sometime over the period.

So I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Happy flying

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild - The Finale

This evening I've completed as much as I can do, and that was to just add some extra decoration to the fin and to the centre section of the wing.

That's the first time I've used a spaghetti measurer to draw circles on shrink film. 

And here is the almost complete model. 

I'm just awaiting some threaded control rods to arrive in tomorrow's post. I can then connect the elevons to the servos and fix the wing to the fuselage. 

Hopefully the next time I post with the Wildthing, it will be with a video of it being chucked off a big Welsh hill. 

With this rebuild I've tried doing things I haven't done before, and fortunately they all worked very well. 

Some things worked particularly well, sandwiching shrink film covering between two layers of laminate film for instance. Using glass fibre tape will probably become a thing of the past for me. 

But I've also learned that if gf tape is used, to run a hot iron over it, which sticks it down better and gives it a very smooth finish. 

So I can now take what I've learned from this and the Polecat rebuild and use these techniques in my next project in January. 

Catch you soon & happy flying. 

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild Continued

So this evenings first task was to cover the correx fin.

My plan was to cover it with shrink film, however, I had no idea what the melting point of correx might be. So, I covered it first with glass fibre tape, in the hope that would protect it somewhat. 

The tape went on as usual and then I decided to try the iron on it at 120°c, as I had done on the wing. 

This really does wonders for this tape, really sticking it down well and it makes it very smooth. 

Then it was just a case of adding the heat shrink film on top, again at 120°c, which turned out fine. 

In the crash, I lost one of the elevon control rods but I couldn't find anything suitable in my box of bits, so I attached the one I had then refitted the receiver, battery pack, switch and balance weight.   

I shall have to nip out to my local hobby shop on Saturday to get myself the correct thickness of control rod. Then I can attach the wing to the fuselage and add a couple of little pieces of trim decoration and then the job is a good un! 

Monday 14 December 2015

PSSA Flying Event at the Bwlch

Hi all

I am pleased to be able to announce that a date has now been set to hold a PSS Fly for Fun meet at the Bwlch over the 21st & 22nd May 2016.

I have spoken with the other flying groups that use the Bwlch and the F3F guys have nothing currently booked for these dates, and the South East Wales Paraglider & Hang Glider Association are keeping those dates clear for us also.

The date is now logged into the BARCS calendar and Phil Cook of the PSSA will announce the dates in due course on the PSSAonline website and elsewhere.

2016 is the 30th anniversary of the PSSA and there will be many flying meetings over the year around the country, and following the success 2 years ago of the Jet Provost mass build project, this year there will also be a mass build project of the A4 Skyhawk, culminating in a special mass build meet at the Orme in September.

So whether you are into PSS models or not, everyone is welcome to come along and watch or even fly whatever you have, provided you have BMFA insurance.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Happy flying.


Sunday 13 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild Continued

So I've added the decoration to the wings and I was going to leave it at that. However, the covering will take some abuse during landings on rough terrain so I've decided to cover the wing and fuselage in 42 micron laminate film.

This is very thin and very light. I added a strip to the underside of the Polecat fuselage and you really can't see that it's there. But it will add some protection and help to stiffen the wing also. 

So this is the top side before the lam film goes on. 

And the underside. 

Friday 11 December 2015

This weekends flying

Christmas is looming fast now and I have Christmas things to do on Saturday, but I will be flying on Sunday. 

At the moment it's looking like light, south easterly winds will be the order of the day, so I guess the slope of choice will be Back of Wrecker st the Bwlch. Hopefully up there we'll get double figure wind speeds. 

Paul from slopesoaringsussex is visiting this weekend and will be joining us on the slopes. I see he's bringing the weather with him again, lol. 

So I hope to see some of the usual faces on Sunday. 

Happy flying. 

Thursday 10 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild continued

This evening I have been covering the wings. But first I had to do a soldering job.

In the crash, the servo connectors going into the receiver were broken, so I found a couple of old servo extension leads, cut the wires and spliced them onto the existing servo leads. 

This proved to be more difficult than I anticipated as my soldering iron decided it didn't want to work properly. I think the thermostat has gone. So I'll be down to Maplins on Saturday to buy a new one. 

So back to the covering. 

The underside was done in Hobby King iron on shrink film, which I already had, and the top was done in Easycover shrink film. 

The HK film seems thicker and able to take higher temperatures. The yellow Easycover went on fine but you could see the GF tape underneath through it.

But this is a cheap foamie model and I wasn't about to use something expensive, such as Oracover on it. This'll do for my purposes. 

So now I just have the fin to recover, fit the electrics and connect the elevons to the servos and add a little wing decoration and I'm all done. So it should be ready to fly next weekend. 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild continued .......

So I haven't been lazy the last few evenings, I have been doing some work on the Thing.

I began using cocktail sticks pushed into the foam in the fuselage where the break in the fuselage was, to help reinforce the join and glued it together using UHU POR. 

Once joined, it wasn't a perfect fit so some rubbing down with sandpaper was done before I applied a patch of glass fibre cloth over the break point and gave it five coats of Poly C. 

This was then rubbed down until smooth before covering in 75 micron laminate film.

Then finally I covered the whole thing in iron on shrink film. 

I will probably add a layer of the very thin 42 micron laminate film, just along the bottom to protect the black film on landings. 

PSSA Events Calendar 2016

Hi all

For those of you interested in the PSS side to our hobby, the PSSA have firmed up the following dates to add to your calendars with some more dates to follow, including a date at the Bwlch.

Orme event 1 (APRIL 16/17th)
Orme event 2 (JUNE 11/12th)
Lleyn MAC event (August 13/14th)
Orme event 3 A-4 Skyhawk Mass Build Event (10th/11th September)
Orme event 4 (October 8/9th)

And just to remind you, 2016 is the 30th anniversary of the PSSA, so there could be some non flying events taking place also. Watch this space for details.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Mill Mill, Shoreham by Sea

Hi all

Paul Hampshire of Slopesoaringsussex and myself had a blast this morning flying our EPP60 racers at Mill Hill, Shoreham by Sea. Wind speed in the region of 35 - 40 mph and there was only one other guy there, flying a SAS Wildthing, which was being blown backwards mostly. 

Anyway, we had a couple of hours racing back and forth across the slope. 

Unfortunately my hat cam video footage isn't usable as I had to wear my ski goggles and consequently my hat was tilted to far upwards, so all the action was in the very bottom of the frame. But the footage shown below taken on our smart phones gives you an idea of the flying conditions.

Enjoy and happy flying.


Friday 4 December 2015


So with a little time on my hands this morning, I headed up to Meio Common, just north of Cardiff to give the Polecat a thrashing. 

The wind was 30 - 35 mph, good lift but a little turbulent at times. 

I haven't got any ballast slugs for the Polecat yet but it still penetrated and flew very well. So it should go ok when I hit the slopes of W Sussex tomorrow. 

W Sussex Flying Weekend

Well today I'm heading off to visit friends in Crawley, W Sussex and to do some flying with the boys at slopesoaringsussex. 

The weather looks to be dry for Saturday but Sunday may be wet, but the wind forecast looks very lively with 50 mph possible on the slopes. 

Hopefully I shall return with some good video and pictures. 

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Wildthing Rebuild Continued ..........

There wasn't a great deal I could do this evening, but I have learned something new.

I closely inspected the wing and the GF tape was quite well wrinkled and there were lots of little dents and dings in the foam. This wasn't going to make covering with shrink film particularly easy or attractive to look at. This may only be a foamie model, but I am taking pride in rebuilding it and what it will look like. There's nothing better than receiving compliments from fellow modellers over the quality of a build.

I began by removing the elevons and the packing tape I'd covered them with.

I then turned my attention to the wing and wondered what effect adding heat would make, running a covering iron over the GF tape? I had used the iron on the Polecat and saw that the heat helped to remove creases in the foam.

I tried various temperatures beginning at 100*c but found that 120*c seemed ideal.

As I slowly ran the iron over the tape, I could see the wrinkles in the tape coming out and the tape seemed to become very shiny, as if the adhesive was being activated and sticking it down better to the foam.

By the time I'd gone over the the entire wing, I was very happy with the result and reattached the elevons.

That was all for this evening and I hope to continue tomorrow.



Wildthing Rebuild

So now the rebuild on the Polecat is finished, it's time to move on and rebuild my trusty Wildthing. The Thing was the second slope glider I purchased after only flying slope for the first time 2 months previously. The maiden was on the Wrecker slope at the Bwlch back in June 2012, I think. What a slope to maiden a model on, especially when you're a newbie at flying gliders.

So I began by stripping the packing and GF tape covering from the fuselage so that I could see the true extent of the damage, and yes, the fuse had broken into two pieces.

The piece on the right had also split for about half its length, so I've glued that back together.

I've ordered some UHU POR to join the two halves together as it is naturally elastic in nature once it has set. So once that has arrived I will use wooden cocktail sticks pushed into both halves of the foam to re-enforce the join before gluing them together.

So as I couldn't do anything else to the fuse, I stripped the vinyl covering off the wing but left on the GF tape. My plan is to cover the wing in Easycover, a cheap iron on film, then cover this with 42 micron, (really thin) laminate film. This will provide stiffness and protection for the covering but with minimal weight increase.

So this evenings job is to remove the elevons from the wing and strip the black packing tape from them. The GF tape hinging is showing signs of degradation so I want to renew this.

I have some black HK iron on film which I will apply to the underside of the wing once I have re-attached the elevons, then I just have to wait until I've taken delivery of the yellow Easycover before I can continue.