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 May 2016

Weekend Flying - May 28th/29th

Well guys, I'm not going to be around to fly our lovely, big Welsh slopes this weekend as I'm off to W Sussex to join Paul Hampshire and the boys of Slope Soaring Sussex flying on the South Downs.

Conditions look light for you guys with a predominately NE breeze of about 8 mph. Of course there will be a bit more on the slopes, and if you decide to fly at Fochriw, there will also be a lot of para gliders I expect.

Your alternative choices will be the Wrecker at the Bwlch or Hirwaun Common, but Hirwaun is a good 25 minute walk from the car park.

For me the weather looks like sunshine and showers on Saturday with an 8 mph NE breeze, turning drier with a northerly 14 mph breeze on Sunday.

Whatever you decide to do, have a good holiday weekend.

Happy flying

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Some more PSSA pictures

Here are some more pictures from last weekends PSSA meet. These are mostly of our local lads with a couple of extra pictures thrown in that I particularly liked.

I'm beginning to wish I hadn't sold the Lightning, which looks fab in flight.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun - May 2016 - The Video

Here it is guys in all it's glory, but it's a little long so I suggest you make yourself a cup of tea, take the phone off the hook, recline in your favourite chair and enjoy.

Monday, 23 May 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun Meet Report

Hi all

Well what a weekend that was.

Friday - I got home from work, quickly got changed, loaded a couple of models into the car and then drove to Abergavenny to collect the Mickey's gate key. From there I headed to the Bwlch along the A465 Heads of the Valley's road, which as the locals know is full of road works as they make it an all dual carriageway road, and boy it seemed to take ages to get through that lot.

On my arrival I could see Harry Twist and Pater Garsdens cars parked by the gate, so I drove up to Mickeys and saw Harry flying and Peter walking back to the track with a broken model in his hand. So I gave them a lift down the track to collect their cars but, on the return trip up the hill the rain began, so flying was abandoned.

Saturday - I arrived at the lay-by by 9:30 but the rain was pouring down and the clag, generated by the forest on the windward side of the Ogmore Valley was pouring over the top of Back of Wrecker and right along that stretch of the cliff, and with a southerly wind blowing, there was no way we were going to be able to fly in that. But we chewed the fat until noon, hoping that a change may happen, which of course it didn't, and so once again we abandoned the session.

Sunday - This was much more promising with only showers forecast, and in fact I drove through one particularly heavy shower as I headed towards Bridgend along the M4.

By the time arrived, it was bright but with some formidable looking cumulus clouds floating by on the breeze, so we all drove up to Mickeys.

Flying conditions were light but as the morning and early afternoon progressed, the wind speed picked up a little with big, fat thermals coming through. These of course left big, fat patches of sink behind them, and with the variable wind speed, this left some people stranded and looking for lift. Consequently there were a few landings out. I think the locals among us fared better with this as the big thermals and sink are a phenomenon we are very used to, and recognising which air is constant and which is sink also, knowing not to launch during that patch of sink. You're better off launching when the air is still than when sink air is blowing onto the slope, but even the knowledgeable among us make mistakes sometimes, me included, although I didn't land out this week I hasten to add. That was last week, lol.

Lots of PSS models managed to fly and indeed Phil Cooke's Sea Fury and my Typhoon dropped our bombs on the target, as did Mike Grey whose bomb aiming was superb. However I think he cheated as his model was only about 2ft off the ground when he released his bomb. Mine were way out, mostly because I was too busy looking at the model, but also because I hadn't realised that a target area had been set out. Doh!

The wind swung around in the early afternoon from south westerly to westerly, so we walked the short distance over to the westerly facing side of Mickeys. There were those that questioned that wind direction, thinking it was maybe more north westerly, but the A470 Soaring boys knew this wasn't the case. Fortunately we weren't left with egg on our faces as upon arrival at Mickeys west, we were indeed in the right place.

Once again the air was full of JP's, a Hawk, Tornado, Grippon, EE Lightning and others until the rain showers began again. By this time, time was getting on and with long drives ahead for some, we decided to call it a day.

Thanks Andy Meade for these pictures, I shall have some video ready to post in the next few days.

Happy flying

Thursday, 19 May 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun Update

So here is the latest weather info.

Friday (For those travelling down and with some spare time to fly) Wind turning from SW to southerly, 14 mph (24 mph at the Bwlch) but rain forecast to arrive around 6 PM . 

I have to collect the Mickey's gate key from Abergavenny about 5PM so I should be at the Bwlch between 5:45 - 6PM but with a southerly blowing, we would fly Back of Wrecker, so at the Ice Cream Van Lay-by you take the road opposite for Port Talbot and drive for approx ¾ mile until you come to another lay-by on your right. This is the Wrecker. Once parked you walk up and over the slope BEHIND you to reach Back of Wrecker.

Saturday - Some forecasts are saying prolonged, steady rain, others say showers. Some are also saying south westerly and others southerly, 18mph (28 mph at the Bwlch) It's a case of suck it and see. We will meet as planned at the Ice Cream Van lay-by for 10AM, and please be prompt as I have to lock the gate behind us.

Because the Bwlch is so high, it can become shrouded in low cloud, or clag as we locals call it. If this is the case then we have an option of moving to another slope, Meio Common, approximately a 30 minute drive away, as long as the wind is south westerly. We can drive together in convoy for those who don't it.

Sunday - Forecast as sunshine and showers, south westerly but turning westerly, 12 mph (24 mph at the Bwlch).

I'll keep you informed of any changes that may occur and will be posting tomorrow evening after my flying session.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Very light lift on the VR98

Last Saturday was my only possible flying day of the weekend, but with winds forecast at 8 mph north easterly, Fochriw would have been heaving with para gliders, so I decided to fly the Wrecker at the Bwlch.

It appears the light wind conditions had put off my fellow fliers as when I arrived shortly after midday, I was the only soul there.

As it happened, the wind was northerly and not north easterly, so a move just a few hundred metres along from the Wrecker and I was on the VR98.

I decided to fly the Wildthing first of all to test the air, and it soon became apparent that I was going to struggle with lift. The lift would be fine for a while, then I'd pick up a nice thermal to get me some height so I could dive and pick up some speed to do some aeros, then I'd be left with a huge patch of sink and struggle to keep flying.

This in fact was the case and I lost the model down the cliff, which led to a long, and very dodgy traverse along the slope to retrieve it, but all was OK in the end.

I also flew the Moth which performed well in the light lift conditions.

Anyway, here is some video of the session. Enjoy.

Monday, 16 May 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun - May 2016

Hi all

Well this weekend sees the second PSSA Fly for Fun meeting being held at the Bwlch.

I hesitate at this early stage to mention the weather, but at the moment it is looking like a good west or south westerly with possible showers, but we all know how these forecasts can change. We'll have a better idea on Thursday evening.

We will all meet at the lay-by with the ice cream van at 10 AM on Saturday and Sunday and move on to which ever slope we are flying from, and from there we will have a short briefing about safety and the slope itself for the benefit of those that have not flown these slopes before.

I shall post an update on Friday evening in regard to which slope we are likely to be flying from. In the meantime, happy flying.


Monday, 2 May 2016

Foamy fun at the Bwlch

So here is some video showing various foamy models being flown yesterday on the Ice Cream slope.
At the end of the session, the guys were given instructions to destroy a HK model of a sea plane, which had its motor removed for the slope. It was just a bit funny!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Maiden Flight of the PSS SU-27 Flanker

Hi all

Well  yesterday there were a whole load of us on the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch, in fact I don't think I've seen that many locals out for a fun days flying.

When I arrived, the wind speed was topping out at about 15 mph, but was slowly increasing. The Ice Cream slope is fairly consistent and you can usually guarantee a good days flying on it, however yesterday was different, the lift kept coming and going, was swinging from north westerly to westerly, big thermals coming through with equally big patches of sink following.

As the wind speed increased to 18 mph, Andy Meade decided it was time to give his newly built PSS SU-27 Flanker it's maiden flight.

Initially from the launch it looked very promising, however seconds after the launch, the wind direction shifted and he also ended up in a big sink patch.

Andy kept his head and although the model was losing height, he persisted with traversing the slope until eventually he regained enough height to land. Phew.

Almost immediately he relaunched but this time he was not so lucky and he had to land out, maybe 100m below the ridge line, but he did make a perfect landing and no damage was sustained to the aircraft.