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, 23 June 2016

The Final Countdown

Hi all

No, I'm not on about the EU Remain/Leave vote today, but I'm on the countdown to having a week off work.

So I shall be heading down to Cornwall to spend a couple of days and nights with my son and his family, then I am heading to Prisingoll Farm Camp Site, located about a mile south of St. Agnes for four days of flying at St. Agnes Head.

To fly these stunning sea cliffs

I have flown here a couple of times before and the flying is superb, with car parking only a few metres from the flying area and several different places to fly to accommodate different wind directions.

No doubt I shall bump into a few of the local lads, James Clarke and maybe Martin (Slippery Sloper) to pass the time away with idle flying chit chat also.

I will see you on my return with hopefully some video to share with you.

Happy flying

Monday, 20 June 2016

More foamie fun on Meio

On Saturday, Phil and I decided to fly on Meio Common as it is much closer to home than the Bwlch and we both had other things we needed to do that day.

The forecast was for a 9 mph north westerly at Cardiff Airport, but when we arrived, there definitely wasn't that wind speed. I tried launching my trusty Wildthing, which will just about keep airborne in about 8 mph, but it was struggling.

So we sat around for a little while, chatting, until the wind seemed to pick up just a little, so I launched again and managed to keep the Thing in the air, gaining some height using the weak thermals that were floating by on the breeze.

Josh was flying his Beevolution but struggling to stay in the air, and Phil launched his Speedo, which also struggled, and in fact came down on the slope face.

Now the north west facing slope of Meio is covered in thick, 3' high ferns, and it must have taken Phil, his two sons Josh, Tom and myself a good 20 minutes to locate the model.

By this time the wind was slowly beginning to pick up and it was swinging around to a more westerly direction, so we upped sticks and moved a couple of hundred metres onto the point and we flew again, but we were probably only there 15 minutes before we ended up having to move again to the favoured south westerly slope.

By this time there was enough wind to keep the foamies in the air, and Phil decided to stand a pop bottle on the ridge line to see if we could knock it over with the models, and so we had a bit of fun doing that as the video below shows.

I'm glad that we didn't decide to go up to the Bwlch as with the wind shifting direction, we would have had a long walk between slopes. Also, we can see the Bwlch from Meio and it looked like it was clagging over, so I think we made the right choice of venue.

Enjoy the video, which I took using my iPhone and edited using the iMovie app.

Happy flying

Friday, 17 June 2016

Weekends Flying - 18th/19th June

Hi Guys

It's that time again when all eyes are on the weather apps, and this weekend is looking like light conditions.

I can only fly on Saturday, and then I shall have to stay as local as possible due to other commitments. So with a north westerly of about 9 mph forecast, I think I'm just going to head up to Meio Common for a couple of hours around lunch time to make the most of any thermals coming in.

For those of you who are looking to fly on Sunday, the forecast is for a light 9 mph SSW, so you may be best flying Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch.

I am taking part in the Caerphilly 10k road race, and then having a Fathers Day dinner with Michelle's family, so I won't be out.

Maybe I'll see some of you on Meio on Saturday? If not, have a fun weekend guys.

Happy flying.

Monday, 13 June 2016

PSS Fly for Fun Report - June 2016

Hi all

 Well as it turned out, there's really not a lot I can say about this weekend, except that we stood around chatting for two days, or in my case, 1½ days as I left at 1:30pm on Sunday.

 I arrived on Friday afternoon and took a drive along Marine Drive up to the tank track car park.

 Standing on the edge of the cliff the sea was as calm as a mill pond, with mist hovering over it and there wasn't a breath of wind. In fact, the only sounds were the birds chirping and the tinnitus buzzing in my ears.

 Saturday morning and I arrived on the "rock" at 9:45am and the conditions were much the same. People arrived, stood on the cliff edge, walked away, chatted to old friends, made new friends and laughed and joked. I felt sorry for the guys who had made the journey from Ireland, and I thought I had traveled a long way.

 I left at about 4:45pm to go and watch the Wales v Slovakia game, but I did hear that the wind did pick up and some of the guys managed to fly for about an hour from 8:30pm.

 Sunday morning and there was a very slight breeze which was coming in from the south, but very slowly it was moving around to the favoured south west slope, but still it wasn't possible to fly unless you had a real floater of a thermal soarer or, something with a motor up front. But the wind carried on swinging around to about north westerly and it didn't increase with speed, and then the rain came in a little after midday.

 I stood around, in the light rain waiting to see if it was just an isolated, quick shower. And it probably was was, but I made the decision to pack up and make my way home as it seemed unlikely that the wind would pick up any strength to enable us to fly.

 You can organise and organise but, there is one thing out of everyone's control, and that is the weather. It was a shame because there was a really good turn out with people having traveled the length and breadth of Britain.

 The next PSSA meet is at the LLeyn Peninsula in August, but I doubt if I will be able to make that one, so I need to plough on and try to complete my A4 Skyhawk before the September meet.

Andy Meade's Avro Vulcan

A few of the PSS models lined up on Saturday

Until next time, happy flying.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Rhossili Flying Trip

Hi guys

Those of you who know me, know that I like to spread my wings and fly in other areas around the country, variety being the spice of life as they say. And although I still think that the Bwlch and other slopes around SE Wales are the best in Britain that I have flown from, it is still good to try the slopes that others rave about so that I can form my own opinion and extend my knowledge.

There are three premiere coastal sites to fly from in England and Wales. The Orme at Llandudno in N Wales, (which the modelling press rave about as being "the best in GB"), St Agnes Head in Cornwall, which I love flying and personally I think is better than the Orme, and Rhossili in SW Wales.

Rhossili is the closest to me, being about a 1 ½ hour drive away, and ironically is the only one I haven't flown, and I need to put that right. So after this weekends PSS meet at the Orme is over, (and btw the weather for this is looking total pants), I am going to keep an eye on the weekend weather forecasts in the coming weeks, and once a favourable westerly is forecast for a Sunday, I'm going to make the trip and have a full day there.

It will be a short notice trip but if anyone fancies coming along with me, I'd be most welcome of your company. I will keep you all posted here or on the Slope Soaring in Wales Facebook group page.

We used to have a great fella called Roger who used to fly with us at the Bwlch. Sadly Roger is no longer with us, but Rhossili was his favourite place to fly, and living in Swansea it was very local to him also.

Roger used to love making videos of his flying adventures, so here are a couple of his videos flying on the big hill at Rhossili.

48" foamie Acrowot,slope soaring in 25mph from Cliff Hanger on Vimeo.

Phoenix 2m slope soarer in good lift from Cliff Hanger on Vimeo.

Monday, 6 June 2016

PSSA Fly for Fun Reminder and other stuff

Hi guys

Just a little reminder, (although I'm sure you don't really need it), that this weekend sees the 3rd PSSA Fly for Fun meeting of 2016, taking place on the Orme in Llandudno. So if we have weather like today, (sunny, warm and breezy), we should be in for a good weekend. But don't count your chickens as they say, this is Britain after all.

I know Big Phil is going along for the Saturday only, as am I, but for the whole weekend, but I don't know who else from S Wales is making their way north this time.

Other Stuff

In order to fund another model purchase, I will be selling one, possibly two of my models, the Thermal Instinct F5J is definitely up for sale at £300.00 ovno, and if I really need to let it go, the FVK Signal too, but I'll have to see because I do like flying that one.

Anyway, if you are interested in my Hollein Thermal Instinct, (It's the larger, blue, white & red model in the picture), 2.85m, all balsa built, c/w servo's, motor & ESC, drop me a line.

I shall probably be advertising this nationally next week after the PSS meet.


Friday, 3 June 2016

Weekends Flying Forecast - 4th/5th June

Good morning fellow glider guiders.

Well this weekends flying forecast isn't looking to great with light north easterlies. So Saturday is 5 mph and Sunday 9 mph. Of course there will be a little more on the slopes, but is it really worth the effort to drive for up to an hour just to cruise back and forth along the ridge line, hoping for a passing thermal to get you some height, and then playing "dodge the para glider" if you decide to fly from Fochriw?

I think with June's PSS meet at the Orme next weekend, I may just give this weekend a miss but, if I were wanting to go out, I think my preference would be to fly the Wrecker, if only because of the para gliders at Fochriw.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun.

Happy flying

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Slope Soaring on the South Downs

Hi all

Well I could go into a long, blow by blow account about my weekend away flying with Paul and the boys from Slope Soaring Sussex, but actually, the video says it all really.

The weather turned out better than was forecast, winds being light on Saturday to average on Sunday, but we did see more sunshine and clear skies than we thought we'd get. We did see some pretty spectacular bolts of lightning around lunch time on Saturday over Brighton way though.

Anyway, a big thanks goes out to Paul and Ian who were my flying buddies for the weekend, as well as the other guys who turned out on Sunday, and I hope to see some of you soon at the Bwlch in S Wales.