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.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter Fun Day on Mickey's

Hi all

So yesterday most of the boys were out flying on Mickey's slope at the Bwlch. The wind was south westerly and around 30 mph, so the lift was pretty damned good, as is normal for Mickey's.

On arrival there was a group of lads from Bristol already there and flying. Their glass ships were flying fine, but they were having trouble launching their foamies, as was our Clive who had a bit of a mishap whilst launching his correx Mig. In fact, watching him trying to launch was quite comical, as you'll see in the video. Sorry Clive.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Manmoel Common Soaring

Yesterday, Clive and myself met up at Manmoel Common.There was a little more wind than expected and the thermals were difficult to find because of this.

Anway, here's the video.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Rhigos Mountain (Hirwaun Common)

Hi guys

So yesterday I had decided I was going to go and do some flying of the slope variety. The weather forecast was for it to be cloudy with a 9 - 12 mph NE wind blowing.

Now this would normally mean flying at Fochriw for us, but with such low wind speeds I knew the para gliders and hang gliders would be up there in force, so I decided to seek out an alternative.

The Wrecker at The Bwlch would be my next obvious choice, however, there was a F3F competition taking place up there, so that was out of the question.

I remember, probably a couple of years ago, flying on a north facing slope on the top of the Rhigos mountain with Mark and Roger, and it had been Roger that introduced Mark and myself to the site. Roger called it Hirwaun Common.

Rhigos mountain is 1,690 feet high and overlooks the old and now derelict Tower colliery, but it still has an active surface mining operation. It has magnificent views across the Heads Of The Valley's road of the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains and has slopes facing north west, north and north east. I had previously flown the NW and N facing slopes, but never the NE slope.

I decided the easiest, and probably the quickest route for me to take to get there from Cardiff was probably by driving straight up the A470 to Merthyr Tydfil, then hang a left onto the A465 Heads of the Valley's road, following the signs for Hirwaun. At the roundabout with the entrance to Hirwaun Industrial Estate, I took a left to follow the sign for Treherbert, which takes you past the old Tower colliery on your right before the road begins to climb up the windy mountain road.

As the road takes a long right hand bend towards the top, there is a small entrance, marked by two wooden posts, to a small area where you can park a few cars. Or, if you don't fancy that, you can continue further along the road where there is a lay by with parking. This just means you have a longer walk.

From there you turn left out of the car park, walking down the hill towards the left hand bend, and then you bear right off the road before the banking on the right becomes higher.

You then follow a vague track made by a vehicle towards a gate, then just continue through the gate and on up the hill following the track.

At this point, you can fly anywhere along the ridge on your left which is facing NW once the ground has leveled off.

 Then, 20 minutes after leaving the car, the ridge changes direction and faces north where, a curious steel post, about 30 cms across and 1 metre high sticks out of the ground. This marks the spot for flying in a northerly wind. The landing zone is perfect! It is flat and grassy with no rocks anywhere.

The surface mining operation in the picture below. When the sun shines, this area gives off some cracking thermals.

To reach the NE slope, you continue walking along the track for another 6 minutes until you reach a fence. Follow the fence until you find a piece with the barbed wire missing and sneakily climb over the top and walk down to the ridge line.

As you can see from the picture above, you could continue your walk along to the higher ridge. But this ridge is vertical at the top with a sharp leveling out at the top, and although it does produce great lift, (I know because I flew my model towards and along it), I suspect that there would be a great deal of rotor in the landing zone.

I was travelling light and only took with me the NCFM Moth, as this is quite happy cruising along in light winds and is very light to carry.

The launch was simple, nothing untoward happened and she rose into the sky nicely. The air was very smooth with no turbulence at all, which I expected. The wind speed was at best 10mph but it was gradually decreasing as my session progressed.

Landing was a little more difficult as the landing zone was sloping and the Moth was coming in pretty quickly, so I found a long traverse from left or right, keeping her low was the way to do it before turning into the wind, or even across wind. Even so, the model was still travelling pretty quickly in the light air.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Me 109 completion and maiden flight.

So as mentioned at the end of the last part of the build blog, I started to paint the now pretty much completed model.

Some minor detailing has been added with some 3D printed parts.... a scale spinner, a pair of exhaust manifolds and a super charger intake  (thank you Andrew Meade) also I've included a scale WW2 Luftwaffe pilot bust.
Non-functioning tail support struts have also been fitted.

Balancing and setting up .

When it came to balancing the 109 I needed to add approx 160g of weight up front.
 In my true cheapskate building method  (and the fact I'd run out of lead) I used chippings from my garden which fitted nicely between F1 and F2. Once test flown I poured 2 pack epoxy over them to hold them secure. This brought the all up flying weight to 1.6kg....Heavier than expected to be honest.

Aileron  throws were maxed out on high rates, approx 20 mm and 12mm on low rates.
Elevator travel was again maxed out on high rate and 50 % on low rate, one thing must be noted is that too much elevator travel can force the horizontal stabilizer to bed so I set the adjustment to the point where it starts to bend and then back off until there is no distortion in the tail,

I tend to fly with a fair bit of expo so added 30% on both ailerons and elevator.

Maiden Flight

The day I planned for the test flight the chosen slope was Abertysswg, which is a few miles East of Merthyr Tydfil.
Wind was light and far from ideal for a maiden, so we gave it a couple of glide tests on top of the slope which went pretty much perfect, straight and true.
We did try one flight but straight away I knew there was not enough lift and brought it  around for landing.


So a couple of days later Josh my son and I met up with Mark Williams at Manmoel, which is above Ebbw Vale.
Conditions were better with wind speed approx 25mph with plenty,  but very turbulent lift.

After a couple of flights with another model that I was comfortable I decided to give the 109 another go, this time there was no excuses.
Mark gave it the old heave-ho and out it went, it was being thrown about a bit by the afore mentioned turbulence and was not helped by the fact I had set up the expo wrong which made it super sensitive to aileron!!!
It flew pretty well considering and after landing I corrected the expo issue and had a couple more flights with it later on in the day, these were significantly better but still buffeted about by the turbulence.

Here's a brief video of the maiden flight filmed with a phone so not the best quality I'm afraid.

Since the day of the maiden flight it has had a couple of successful outings, both at Fochriw (oh boy I love that name...) which is a perfect park and fly NE facing slope with only one problem, the Para-gliders on lighter wind days.

Well that just about wraps up the  blog on this Me 109 build and if anyone is still reading it...thanks guys.


Monday, 14 March 2016

Sunday 13th March, Manmoel slope.

The weather forecast was not promising – 8 to 9mph easterlies was not a good strength and neither was the direction. The two slopes on offer for this wind bearing was the Crest on the Bwlch, with it’s long trudge and rotor, or Manmoel, a slope that was new to me. I duly phoned up Mark to see if he was flying and he informed me that he was already at Manmoel and the wind was stronger than forecast – good news, as I had a correx MiG 3 to maiden.
I decided that I should cover all bases with the models that I took to this new slope, so loaded up the aforementioned MiG, a Speedo that I know is happy in both light and heavier winds and my trusty X-It EPP wing. I was told that the walk from the parking area to the slope would take a few minutes and that the cars would be out of sight, so I just took enough models that I could carry in one go. With SatNav to guide me, Manmoel was reached in about thirty minutes from my house and I duly unpacked and got suited and booted for the slope.
Mark was having a great time in what we estimated was a 15+ mph breeze with help from a little thermal activity. His new Baudis Pitbull was beating up the slope and gracefully pulling some huge aerials. Before too long we were joined by Chris, who himself had a model to maiden – the M60 EPP racer, finished in eye damaging fluorescent pink!  We were all set for a good day’s sloping.
I would love to report that both the maidens themselves were non-events with the MiG and the M60 flying straight away after launch, but only my MiG launched well off the slope, initially. Chris’ M60 was blown back after being thrown off, the inherent criticality of the tailless model’s C of G position combined with small elevon movements was always going to be a challenge to a successful launch. However after some tweaking of control surface centres, a second launch proved fruitful and both models were aerially trimmed and then landed to have their expos inputted (is that even a word?).
We all had a blast with the models we brought, Chris having his newish Needle with him which cuts a nice dash in the air and performed really well. The air was slightly bumpy but the day was bright and warm and the landing area huge and rotorless so it was a pleasant introduction to this new (to me) slope. By early afternoon we decide to call it a day and a satisfying drive back home in the sunshine was topped off with a chocolate thick shake from the local MacDonalds. Another good day on the slope for the A470 soaring massive - well, the handsomest ones, anyway..

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Thermal Soaring on Manmoel Common, Ebbw Vale

I had some time off work on Friday, and as the weather forecast was good for some thermal soaring, I loaded both the 2m Climaxx Compact and the 2.85m Thermal Instinct in the car and headed up to Manmoel Common, Ebbw Vale.

The air was very still but I could feel the warmth in the sun as I launched the Climaxx Compact.

Almost immediately after shutting down the motor, I was into a thermal, which took me way up until it was a speck in the sky. At one stage, even a Buzzard came and joined me in the thermal.

Then a Police helicopter came along which had been hovering about a mile away but seemed to want to take a look at what I was doing and then, satisfied that I was ok, he turned back to where he had been hovering previously. But because he had come so close to me, I had to bail out of the thermal I was in and lose some height rapidly.

Anyway, the following video tells the story, so enjoy.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Me 109 built continued

Sorry I've not finished the blog but I've been tied up with another Mig build for a friend and flat out with job hunting.

Anyway, where were we.....Ah yes, the tail assembly.

So the completed tail is fitted into the slot at the rear of the fuselage and glued in place ensuring it is at 90 degrees.
I installed a plastic snake running through the formers from the rear of the fuselage to under the wing seat area where I will fit  a standard size servo. Alternatively a smaller servo can be fitted to the rear of the fuselage under the tail assembly with a short push rod operating the elervator   ( no working rudder on this model )

Wing continued

Ailerons are operated by a small servo fitted in each wing. 
A small section on the upper wing surface is cut and 'hinged' to allow the servo to be glued, again with hot glue, to the base of the wing.

These photos are again from an Impala, but the procedure is the same for all my builds.

Short push rods are used to operate the ailerons which as you can see are, again made from 4mm correx and will be hinged with cross weave tape.

A narrow piece of correx is glued to the top and bottom of the wing on the join to give a bit of extra support.The slot at the l/e and t/e of the wing is so the wing will sit against a couple of formers in the fuselage  (dimensions found on the plans)

The wing is now complete and ready for trial fitting to the fuz.
The wing seat is cut as per the dimensions on the plan but may need so fine timing to insure the tail assembly and wing are parallel.

The wing is secured to the fuselage with elastic bands with are secured to a couple of wooden dowels, which run through the fuz, one in front and one behind the wing.

Again an Impala photo showing wing seat and forward dowel  ( no matter how many photos I take during a build I always seem to miss a couple of important details )

So the basic fuselage and wing is pretty much complete now and ready for some colour.
I chose the camouflage colours of the 109 - e  used during the invasion of Poland in 1939.
My chosen paint was brushed on enamel.

Canopy was sourced on line and decals ( keeping to my budget build ) I made using fablon and permanent marker.

That's all I have time for now guys, I'll try and get back latter if able to.

Thanks for following the build....


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Phil's BF109 Maiden

Phil, Josh, Mark and myself made the longish trip to the Abertysswg slope as our preferred slope, the VR98 on the Bwlch, was being used by the F3F fraternity. Phil was determined to try his new correx Bf 109 whilst I brought some foam and a few crunchies. Unfortunately what I did not bring was a transmitter for the crunchies - D'Oh! Mark had a car full but elected to fly only his Oddessey as the lift wasn't stellar and a bit on/off as well. Josh had a Zagi clone and flew that but his Hawk was similarly rested.
A couple of the local fliers had expressed an interest in joining us and they did not disappoint, bringing mostly foamies for the prevailing conditions, although one of the lads had a fully loaded Quadcopter which gave me my first taste of FPV - and impressive it was, too. I can see why FPV has gotten popular in recent  times.
Anyway, the "Big Event" was Phil maidening his correx Bf109 and I managed to get a shot of it in the air, although It wasn't the best conditions for a test flight. The flight lasted about ten seconds but then common sense prevailed and the Messerschmit was landed, taken apart and put back in the car for a better day. We all had a few foamie flights and some light combat (Which I still insist I won!) until the cold and poor nature of the lift prompted us to pack up and return home, me bringing one more model home that I left with as I picked up the correx MiG3 that Phil had kindly built for me.
A couple of photos from the day.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Bombs Away!

So you guys remember I acquired the PSS Hawker Typhoon.

Well if you look closely under the wings you will see that this is fitted with rockets under each wing, which can be released before landing.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea if I fitted a couple of bombs under the wings to drop on a bombing run, and I found such a bomb at HobbyKing

These bombs are supplied with their own servo less release system, but I wasn't going to use these as I wanted to use the rocket release servo already in place. For that I needed to fabricate mounting plates.

And then glue them onto the bombs.

And fitted to the Tiffy.

But better still, watch the video.