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 18 September 2016

Maiden flight of the PSS Aermacchi MB339

Saturday morning was lovely and sunny but, the tree tops were not moving a lot, not a good sign.

The forecast was for a north westerly of 9 - 14 mph which wouldn't have been enough to maiden the Aermacchi on any ordinary slope, but then the slopes at the Bwlch are far from being ordinary and I was sure there would be enough lift generated to get, and keep me in the air.

On arrival at the Bwlch I parked up in my usual spot by the forestry gate in readiness for the short walk to the Ice Cream Slope.

Already there was a camper van with German plates and its owner was prepping some models. We had a chat and it transpired that he and his wife had come to the Bwlch from Munich and he had flown the Ice Cream Slope the previous day and described it as, "paradise", but today the wind wasn't on the Ice Cream Slope as had been forecast, but it was on the north facing VR98.

I parked the car behind Mark's car and checked out the wind, which was square onto the slope and was measuring 12 - 14 mph.

Mark and I launched a couple of foamies to check out the air and there was plenty of lift there, so Mark landed and assembled his Pitbull F3F and launched. He pushed out and discovered that there were plenty of thermals to take him up to height so that he could then power dive down to do some aero's.

Having watched Mark, I decided that there was enough lift out there to enable me to maiden the Aermacchi and so I began to assemble and then check all the controls were working as they should.

So now I had no excuses and Mark asked me if I'd like him to launch for me, which I was pleased about because I was unsure about whether I'd set the CofG correctly, I wanted to be able to be on the sticks from the word go.

Mark threw it and off it went. It dipped and almost skimmed the long grass but then began to climb away as I applied a small amount of up elevator. Once it was away from the ridge, I had to add quite a lot of up elevator trim, but once that was sorted I cruised around trying to gain some height so that I could carry out a dive test to check the CofG. It did struggle a bit to gain the height but once it had, the dive test showed that the model was a little nose heavy, which I was pleased about and had actually planned as the last thing I wanted was to launch a tail heavy model which could have been so tail twitchy that I'd have struggled to control it. So all I have to do is remove a little of that extra weight in the nose that I'd added as security.

The model showed itself to be very stable. It seems to roll well and I even managed a 4 point hesitation roll without any problem.

After a few minutes the lift  had deserted me and so I brought her in towards and across the slope for a very easy landing in the long grass. Yayyyyyyyyy.

I had a further two more flights, all very much like the first with no problems or issues. I shall look forward to getting the Aermacchi up in a 20 - 30 mph blow and also flying it off the Orme in Llandudno at the PSSA meet in October.

Check out the video and happy flying.

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