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.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 9th/10th December

Winter has certainly arrived in S Wales with a light dusting of snow today, and it is looking like there could be more snow on the way during today, Saturday and Sunday, but with rain following the snow on Sunday.

Saturday - Snow showers on high ground interspersed with sunny periods but bitterly cold with sub zero temperatures at places like the Bwlch. A NW wind of 9 mph at Cardiff airport so probably about 15 mph plus on the slopes. Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope, Abertwssyg and Meio Common.

Sunday - There could be significant snowfall on higher ground but turning into rain later. Wind westerly 25 mph plus. Your slope choices will be Eglwysilan, Mickeys or on the point at Meio. Your better option though maybe Rhossili where you may escape the snow and rain.

I'm off down to Cornwall for the weekend, so have a great weekend guys.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 2nd/3rd December

December is here, and the beginning of winter, and so it does become more difficult to go out flying with temperatures on the higher slopes dropping into minus °C, when just trying to keep warm can be a challenge in itself. 

So here is your forecast for all of those brave souls intent on getting some air time.

Saturday - cloudy but dry with temperatures around 6°C, (but will probably be more like 2°C) at altitude and with the wind chill), wind NW 8 mph.

Sunday - a brighter, dry day, temperatures around 8°C, wind 11mph NW.

So your slope choices will be the Ice Cream Slope, Abertwssyg and Meio Common.

Unfortunately I won't be flying as I have to get some Christmas shopping done before Wales kick off against S Africa at 2 pm in the rugby on Saturday. And Sunday I have a family lunch to attend.

So if any of you do hit the slopes, keep warm and stay safe.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Genesis SL maiden flight

Yayyyyyy I've finally managed to maiden the Genesis 😊

On Saturday afternoon I took the Genesis and Wildthing up to Meio Common for an hour or two's flying session. I was the only person there, the wind was a bit variable, WNW - NW and chilly.

I had been having some issues with one of the elevon control snakes on the Genesis as I had used CA to glue them into the quick link extender. It just wasn't taking for some reason and once on the slope I discovered that this was the case again. I really should have checked it before leaving home. Fortunately I still had the Wildthing to fly. But there was something very strange happening with that also.

Upon launching I needed loads of down elevator trim, but also, a ton of right aileron was needed also. I can understand a few clicks of down elevator and aileron but the amount I had to give it was ridiculous. So I don't know why such a drastic change was needed as I haven't altered anything, so a major inspection is required.

I did get the Wildthing flying well and the wind was quite good, although with some thermals coming through I did get caught out once or twice in the black hole left behind in the thermals wake and the model would sink like a stone.

Chris turned up, shortly followed by Nick. Chris set up his Ascot F3F but there was a problem with one of the aileron servos not wanting to work, so he had to resort to only flying his M60.

A passing shower of rain mixed with hail curtailed flying for a short while, but once the sun reappeared, the wind died along with it and we found ourselves scratching around for lift. So Chris and I decided to pack up for the day and headed on home and watch the rugby.

I had been to a charity fundraiser on Saturday evening with Michelle, who had stayed over at my place, but after she left me by mid morning I was able to use 15 minute epoxy to glue that snake into both extenders on the Genesis and I headed up to the Bwlch where I knew a few of the guys were heading to fly on the NW facing Ice Cream Slope.

As I was beginning my walk up to the slope, I heard my phone bleep with a message and noticed a couple of the guys beginning to walk back to the lay-by. The wind was changing direction and so a walk over to the westerly side of Mickeys was required.

Mike and David decided they'd had enough and were going home, which left Richard and myself to carry on and walk up the track.

We did try to fly right at the top of track, just where it levels out, which gave me a chance for a couple of tentative throws over a gentle part of the slope, before it went over the steep part, to check out whether I had added enough balance weight into the nose and also to check the control throws and trim.

With a couple of adjustments made, I launched it off the slope, and it flew OK with just a couple of clicks of trim required to get it to fly straight and level. I made a few gentle figure of eight passes along the slope and I gained some height in order to perform a dive test to test the C of G position, although I was sensing it felt good, and in fact it was spot on, neither wanting to pull out or tuck under in the dive. It did need more aileron authority so I flicked a switch on the TX to change to high rates, and that improved the roll rate immediately with much quicker rolls and sharper turns.

The wind was still changing direction and it was becoming increasingly difficult to fly from left to right, so we moved a bit further along, and shortly after we had to move again to the furthest westerly part of Mickeys, where it was better but the air was very turbulent, which is strange for this slope as the air is usually very smooth.

It didn't take me long to get used to flying the Genesis and before long Richard and I were performing some formation flying with his Genesis and generally having a good time.

Eventually the cold got the better of our hands and we decided to call it a day after a couple of hours flying.

It appears that my idea of changing from exposed elevon control rods, (which could be susceptible to damage during a combat session), to burying snakes into the foam, was a good one as they worked very well. My "sandwich" method of covering this type of foam model works very well indeed too. My Wildthing was the first model I tried this method on and two years later, with a lot of flying under its belt, it still looks superb.

So check out the video guys and let me know what you think.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Weekend flying forecast 25th/26th November

Well guys, there are only four weeks to go until the big, Ho, Ho, Ho and Santa comes knocking delivering all sorts of RC goodies. But until then there is still some flying to do, including this weekend. But you'll have to wrap up warm because it's going to be mighty cold on them there slopes.

Saturday - A sunny day but with temperatures at sea level of around 2°C it's likely to be a hell of a lot colder at altitude. Wind is NW around 14 mph, so likely to be 20 - 25 on the slopes.

Sunday - A cloudier day with temperatures around 4°C and a 12 mph NW wind, so roughly the same as Saturday.

Your slope choices will be Mickey's, Abertysswg and Meio. I'm probably going to have an hour or two on Meio on Saturday as I want to maiden the Genesis. But I really need to do some Christmas shopping on Sunday. Oh joy!


Monday, 20 November 2017

Zagi Bash

So I was up at the crack of dawn yesterday so that I could be at the Bwlch for a 9 AM start but, upon arrival there was barely a breath of wind.

A few of us local, hardy souls made it by 9 AM but we quickly realised that there wouldn't be enough wind that day in order to hold successful combat sorties, so after chewing the fat for an hour, we decided to call it a day and we went home. I believe a few guys went back in the afternoon but from what I could gather there was only enough lift to just cruise gently along the slope face.

This event will now be held on Thursday 28th December. Unfortunately I can't make that date as I'm away in Lancashire visiting family, but I hope some of you will attend.


Friday, 17 November 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast & Zagi Bash

I hope everyone has had a good week? This Sunday is looking like being the best flying day of the weekend although the wind is looking light.

Saturday - Rain is forecast with a 14 mph westerly wind, so if you can get away from that rain then there could be some good flying to be had either at Rhossili or on Mickey's at the Bwlch.

Sunday (Zagi Bash day) - A dry but cloudy day with a 6 mph south westerly forecast. So your slope choices will be Mickey's at the Bwlch or Meio Common.

That being the case, Zagi Bash will take place on Mickey's, but I'm guessing that people will meet up at the Ice Cream slope lay by.  Now the Bwlch can be a bit of a funny place when wind under 10 mph is forecast. Usually you can count on there being up to 10 mph more wind up there than is forecast for Cardiff airport, but if less than 10 is forecast than one of two things can happen, in my experience.
  1. You will get more wind, and so with 6 mph forecast there could be 10 - 12 mph, or
  2. The wind remains at 6 mph.
I have experienced both. There have been days when I've driven up there and the leaves on the trees have barely been moving, and I have convinced myself that there will be more wind up there. However, upon arriving at the slope there has still been barely a breath of wind. That has happened on more occasions than I care to remember.

The first time we held a PSSA event on Mickey's, we walked up to the slope and I had to resort to flying a powered thermal soarer as there was barely a breath of wind. The wind did pick up by midday to about 12 mph if my memory is correct, but this is hardly what you want for a slope combat competition. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the forecast changes before Sunday and we have some fun, combat flying.

See you there.

The Bwlch

Monday, 13 November 2017

Demise of the Moth?

Yesterday I headed up to the Bwlch for a foamie flying session, where I met up with Mike, Phil, Josh and Clive.

I was intending on checking the balance and control throws on the Genesis before next Sunday's Zagi Bash, but it was clear as soon as I launched it that the model was tail heavy, as the elevator was extremely sensitive, and it hit the ground with a thud, causing one of the elevon snakes to become unstuck from the metal snap link. So with the Genesis safely back in the car I grabbed the Moth to give that a fly.

Now in colder conditions I wear a pair of thermal, finger less gloves to keep my hands from getting cold, but they also allow me to operate switches etc easily enough. But after attempting to fly the Genesis, my fingers were frozen and I decided to put on a pair of proper gloves.

The launch of the Moth was fine, however it needed some up elevator trim adding as it constantly wanted to dive, and I attempted to do this by feel whilst keeping my eye on the model. But the next thing I knew, the model was diving and I had no control over it. I looked down at the TX and noticed that I'd only gone and switched it off by mistake and I then quickly turned it back on again, but by this time it was too late and the model had already disappeared below the ridge line.

I got as close to the edge of the ridge as I dare but I could see no sign of it, so there was nothing else to do other than drive down to the lay by close to the hairpin bend in the road and walk up the side of the slope to see if I could find it.

As I left the road, I found the ground was very deceiving. It was very long, tufty dried grass, but underneath it was full of deep holes, and boggy too, which you just couldn't see. All the while my eyes were scanning the slope for any sign of the purple and yellow colour scheme.

Now it had to be around the slope somewhere as it wasn't that far out when it went down, and the 25 mph ish wind would have pushed it closer into the slope, but I was having no luck where I was and so I decided to go back up to the top and then traverse the slope about 30 metres from the top, beginning at the far end where the access is easier.

The closer I got to the Wrecker part of the slope, the more difficult the terrain became and I felt I could go no further as this could compromise my own safety, and so I headed back.

By now I was wet and tired and ready to go home. Mike said he'd be taking his dog for a walk on Monday and so would have a look for it then, and today I have heard from him and he couldn't see it, so he's going to send a drone down for a closer look.

The NCFM Moth 48"

Friday, 10 November 2017

New Featured Post

Winter arrives at the Bwlch was published in November 2015. I remember this well as Phil was flying for the first time the 2ch (rudder/elevator) glider he'd picked up. No sooner had he landed it then he was selling it on eBay.

Wayne was struggling to get his Mk3 Wildthing in the air and keep it there in the light air, a problem I didn't have with my Mk2 Wildthing, which flew lovely as usual. I still say the Mk2 wing is way better than the Mk3, particularly in lighter conditions.

Whatever happened to Wayne? We don't see him anymore. Maybe wifey banned him from coming out with the boys and having fun.

Anyway, check out the post and video in the left hand side bar.

Weekend Flying Forecast 11th/12th November and other stuff

So it's the middle of November and apart from a couple of frosty mornings, it still isn't very cold, which suits me fine as I'm definitely a warm weather person.

Saturday - a rainy day with a 15 mph NW breeze.

Sunday - a bright and sunny but cooler day with a 16 mph NW breeze

Your slopes of choice will be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch, Abertysswg, or if you only have an hour or two to spare and don't want to travel very far, Meio Common.

I have some time available on Sunday so I may just head up to Meio or the Ice Cream slope, depending on where others fancy flying.

Zagi Bash 

Just a reminder that Zagi Bash is taking place at the Bwlch on the following Sunday, the 19th. Obviously we won't know which slope until nearer the time as it is weather forecast dependent.

I have just finished building my Genesis SL for this event and I used my usual laminate sandwich method for the build, (see my Wildthing rebuild for details). This has really stiffened up the foam wing and adds plenty of bash resistance. I also used control snakes for the elevons instead of wire rods, and buried the snakes into the foam as exposed wire control rods are easily damaged as a point of contact during combat. In fact I have tried to reduce any point of contact that could result in damage to the model.

This needs a test flight this weekend. I balanced it roughly last night so I need to get that right before next Sunday, even if it means going out the day before too.

The top

The underside

Valenta L213A Video

A few weeks ago I was on Meio with a few others and Chris took some video of me flying my L213. The wind was light, at about 15 mph ish if I remember correctly, but Big Bird, (as I affectionately call the L213), flew very nicely indeed. Here is the video and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 28th/29th October

What a weird month weather wise it has been! I can't remember a October as warm as this. Now I'm not complaining because I don't particularly like the cold, especially when I'm top of a Welsh mountain and exposed to whatever weather nature sends my way.

Anyway, here is your flying forecast for this coming weekend.

Saturday - Cloudy but dry with a NW - WNW wind of 15 - 28 mph, depending on what time of day you're flying as the wind appears to be gradually increasing until the middle of the evening when it begins to subside again.

Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope, (if the wind is NW), or Mickey's (if it turns more westerly, although it will probably be a little off face). The Ice Cream slope doesn't perform well if the wind shifts from NW to WNW as the air flow appears to become disturbed as it passes over Back of Wrecker. If the opposite were to happen and you get a NNW, the Ice Cream slope remains flyable, just about, but then I would probably move over to the VR98 anyway.

Your other slope choices would be Abertysswg and Meio Common.

Sunday - Another cloudy but dry, chilly day with a NNW of 13 - 22 mph but slowly decreasing to 10 - 13 mph. So your slope choices would be the VR98 or Hirwaun Common. Possibly the Ice Cream slope if by chance there is a little more west in the wind.

I am hoping to try the Ice Cream slope on Saturday, so hopefully I may see some of you there.

Happy flying

Friday, 20 October 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 21st/22nd October

Firstly let me begin with apologies for not providing a flying forecast for last weekend. It was my birthday on Sunday and I made a last minute decision to take the Friday off work, as the weather conditions looked like some decent flying might be possible. As it turned out, I did have some decent flying and I also managed to fly on the Saturday. More of that later.

So without further ado, here is your weekend flying forecast.

Saturday  - Don't bother, stay in bed, build a model, go to the pub, anything else but find a big hill to fly off as severe gales and heavy rain are forecast.

Sunday - A better looking day but with possible showers. Wind NW to WNW 30 mph gusting to 45 mph, so lead sleds and ballast at the ready. Your slope choices will be the Ice Cream slope at the Bwlch or, Meio Common or, Abertysswg.

So as I said earlier, I went flying on Friday and Saturday last week. Friday was the better day wind wise with 25 mph constant and gusts to around 36 mph on Meio Common. The L213 got an outing and flew very well, but I also had my first flights with the Phoenix Models Carrera that I bought from Big Phil. What a superb little model that is! Very stable but also aerobatic. I can see I'm going to have a lot of fun flying that.

The following video of the Carrera was taken on the Sunday when the wind speeds were an awful lot lighter than on Friday.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast

Here is your forecast for the weekend. Don't bother! 😞☂

Saturday - Showers with a SW 10 mph wind. So if you do fancy braving the rain then Mickey's or Meio will be the place to fly. However, Mickey's could be shrouded in clag, so Meio may be the better bet, and you can make a hastier exit off the slope there too.

Sunday - Prolonged rain with a 15 mph SW wind, however I have seen reports of 25 mph wind speeds. Your slope choice is as per Saturday, but personally I wouldn't bother.

So instead, why not come along to the centre of Cardiff and watch me and 25,000 others running in the Cardiff half marathon, in the wind and rain. Yuck 😞

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, I hope it is a good one for you.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Featured Post

Hey guys - I've changed the Featured Post which goes back to the end of October 2014, when Phil took some video whilst we were flying on Meio Common.


Friday, 15 September 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 16th/17th September

Hi all.

This weekends weather forecast is a bit of a mixed bag, as indeed it has been for the last two or three weeks.

Saturday - Showers or more persistent rain with a 7 mph north easterly wind. Your slope choices, (should you wish to chance the rain and possible low cloud), will be Fochriw or Meio.

Sunday - A cloudy but dry day with a 10 mph north easterly wind. Your slope choices will be the same as for Saturday.

Of course there should be a bit more wind on the slopes than the forecast shows.

You may have noticed that I haven't included the Bwlch in the slope choices. This is because the Bwlch is hosting the Eurotour Welsh Open F3F competition, with about 50 competitors from all over the world taking part. If the wind is north easterly then they will take up the whole of the Wrecker.

I am hoping to fly at Fochriw on Sunday, as long as that NE wind forecast remains true, so hopefully I will see a few of you up there. Which reminds me, I need to fix a flap control ball link on the L213 this evening so I can fly that.

You may remember that last year the Zagi Bash Slope Combat weekend was held at the Bwlch, in December I think it was. Well Zagi Bash will be back again this year, to be held on the 19th November. Watch this blog for details as they emerge and get building your EPP combat wings.

You may also have noticed that I haven't done a lot with this blog for a few weeks. This is because I had a lovely holiday, and then last weekend I was up in Newcastle upon Tyne to take part in the Great North Run, the biggest half marathon in the world with 57,000 runners taking part. You can read the full story and watch the video of that at my other blog by clicking HERE.

Until next time, happy flying.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Banging Wind at Rhossili

The weather forecast for Saturday was good with some sunshine and a good breeze blowing, and this turned out to be the case as I was walking up the steep slope that overlooks that very long Atlantic beach and Worms Head.

I was expecting 20 mph plus on the top, but as I arrived at the trig point and walked towards the ridge line, I could feel it was way more than that. In fact my anemometer was reading 55 mph with gusts up to 59 mph. Of course this was just in the compression zone and if I walked back from the ridge by about 20 - 30 metres, it was probably more like 30 mph. So as long as my models could penetrate that initial, increased compression wind speed, the wind further out wouldn't be a problem for my lightest model, the X Models Whisper. But I made the decision to move down the slope from the trig where I measured the wind at around 46 mph.

I usually take a foamie with me and knowing there would be a good wind up there, I opted to take the EPP60 racing model, the Polecat, which weighs in at about 2 ¾lbs and would fly well up there. And I wasn't disappointed as it carved up the sky at a good rate of knots.

I'd also brought the L213 with me and went to launch it but, the wind was just too strong, and the TX which was dangling from a strap around my neck was being blown from side to side and I just didn't feel comfortable chucking it off the slope like that. So I moved back a few meters and decided to try it again, but the model went straight down and hit the ground. I couldn't see any damage so I decided to wait.

I set up the X Models Whisper and was able to throw that off the slope without any problem, but then it is very light and only a 2 metre wing span, and just as I had thought, once I'd got it through the compression zone, it was flying very well indeed.

No sooner had I launched the Whisper, I noticed a figure in the corner of my eye and it turned out to be Paul, on his summer holiday from Slope Soaring Sussex. He'd brought along his M60 foamie and a hybrid F3F machine that he called the Merlow. I think it was the fuselage of a Merlin and the wings from a Willow.

I launched the Merlow for Paul and it was banging in the booming lift, and Paul was obviously loving it.

Once the Merlow had landed, Paul launched his fully ballasted M60 and I launched my un ballasted Polecat. Both models seemed pretty equal speed wise, with the M60 maybe only having a slight edge. We both raced across the face of the slope and then put the nose up into a vertical climb before performing a stall turn at the top and accelerating down again. What fun that was.

I had a final, relaxed session flying the 2m Whisper before packing up and heading home. It was great to see Paul again and I must try to get down to Sussex before the end of the year on his home patch, flying on the South Downs.

Check out the video.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 19th/20th August

Is it the weekend already? Where has this week gone?

If you are intending on doing some flying in S Wales this weekend, here is the weather you can expect.

Saturday - A dry but cloudy day with a westerly wind of about 16 mph, so that should easily give you well over 20 mph on the ridge. Your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's and Eglwsylan.

Sunday - Sunday is looking like being wet with a SW wind of 13 mph. If you do decide to chance the rain, your best options are Mickey's and Meio.

This weekend is the penultimate PSSA Fly for Fun weekend of the year taking place at the Orme, Llandudno. Saturday is looking like being the best day with a 22 mph westerly, whilst Sunday is showing the wind veering all over the place, starting off at SSW in the morning, then in the afternoon going to ENE, then WNW, then back to S and SSW.

I'm not going to the PSS event this time as I'm on my summer holiday from the following weekend, then the weekend after I return I'm going to Newcastle Upon Tyne to compete in the Great North Run, Europe's biggest half marathon. So instead, I'm going to make the trip on Saturday to Rhossili to do some flying there, and meet up with my ole buddy Paul, from Slope Soaring Sussex, who is holidaying in the area.

So wherever you are flying this weekend, happy flying guys.


Friday, 11 August 2017

Flying forecast weekend 12th - 13th August

Our weather hasn't changed at all this last week, it's been changeable with sunshine, showers and cool temperatures. It's not like summer at all.

If you are planning on doing some flying, here is your weekend forecast.

Saturday - A dry but cloudy day with a NW breeze of about 13 mph, so you should get about 20 mph on the top of a slope. Your slope options are the Ice Cream Slope at The Bwlch, Abertwssyg, and Meio.

Sunday - Another dry but cloudy day with a SSW breeze of 5 - 8 mph. Your slope options are Mickey's at The Bwlch or Meio, but the wind could be a little off the face with a bit too much south in its direction. Time to break out those very light wind models I think.

I'm not flying this weekend as I have a music festival to go to on Saturday, and on Sunday I'm running in the Port Talbot half marathon, which doesn't take place in Port Talbot at all, but in the scenic Afan Forest. I shall be flying next weekend though as Paul from Slope Soaring Sussex is holidaying in the Rhossili area, and I intend on having some slope time with him.

Happy flying everyone


Friday, 4 August 2017

Featured Post

Hi guys - I haven't changed the "Featured Post" for a while, so I thought it was about time that I did.

So this one goes back to an absolutely fabulous days flying we had in early September 2014 on Mickey's, at the Bwlch.

I have to say that when the conditions are good on Mickey's, there are few slopes in the UK that can better this one.

Take a look and enjoy the video.

Weekend flying forecast 5th/6th August

This has been a week where southern Europe has been basking in 40° temperatures, but back in good ole Blighty, the weather has been total pants! In fact if I didn't know better, I'd have said that it was late October, with heavy showers and temperatures around 18°C. And guess what? This weekend isn't looking a whole lot better.

So if you're wanting to know what the weather has in store for some flying in SE Wales this weekend, then read on.

Saturday - A day of sunshine and showers, (no surprise there then), with westerly winds of around 15 mph. So your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's and Eglwysilan.

Sunday - A drier day but with possible showers later in the day further out west. Wind starts out being westerly, 14 - 15 mph, but changing to south westerly by mid morning, so I wouldn't bother with Rhossilli today but head to Mickey's or Meio Common.

As for me? I'm probably going to chance the showers and head up to Mickey's for around midday on Saturday for 2 - 3 hours. I have race training to do on Sunday morning, followed by a hike up the Skirrid, Abergavenny in the afternoon.

If anyone is interested in my running exploits, you can check out my blog, Steve - the purple plodder.

Have a great weekend all.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 29th/30th July

What a month July has been weather wise. We've had sunny, hot days, and then very autumnal days with strong winds, heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures. A typical British summer really I guess. And now we're coming into August, the UK's rainy season lol.

Saturday - A mostly dry day but a possible stray shower or two could come in, with a light SW breeze of about 8 mph. So your slope choices will be Mickeys or Meio.

Sunday  - A day of sunny intervals and showers with a SW wind of about 16 mph. Again your slope choices will be Mickeys or Meio.

If you can live with the showers, Sunday, with the stronger winds, will be your best flying day. For myself, I'll play it by ear. I could take a gamble on the wind being stronger on Mickeys, but its a longer journey time if it isn't, so I may just take the 2m Whisper and a foamie to Meio for a couple of hours.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

St. Agnes Head Flying

Here is some video of my flying during a recent trip to St. Agnes Head in Cornwall. As you will see, the wind was very light and regular showers on the Saturday.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 22nd/23rd July

This is supposed to be summer! So why do we have October weather? This is our British summer of course and warm, sunny weather is never guaranteed.

Saturday is looking like a grey and wet day with a SE wind of around 12 mph, so if you did decide to try chancing your luck on our beautiful Welsh slopes, then it would have to be Back of Wrecker, although it may be a bit off the face here. The alternative is to walk over to the far side of the Crest instead, but that's a long old trudge. I suspect that the cloud base may be too low to have a successful days flying at the Bwlch.

Sunday is looking like the better day with a SW wind of around 13 mph, so on Meio or Mickeys you're likely to have 20 mph easily, and those would be my slopes of choice for Sunday.

Unfortunately I won't be flying this weekend, but weather permitting I certainly will next weekend.

I have a little bit of video to edit of my trip to Cornwall last weekend, where I did manage to do a little bit of flying, in between the bands of drizzle that was coming in off the Atlantic, so I hope to have time to post that, maybe on Monday night.

Until next time, happy flying people.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Weekend flying forecast 8th/9th July

Here we go again and I can't believe we're into the second half of the year already.

Saturday - A dry but cloudy day with temperatures around 19°C.  A light breeze of around 9 mph starts off north westerly but shifting to south westerly by mid morning. So your slope choices will be Mickey's of Meio. With such a light forecast, Mickey's would be my slope of choice.

Sunday - A very similar day to Saturday with a light breeze beginning north westerly but then turning westerly. Slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eglwysilan or Meio. My choice would be Rhossili or Mickey's.

But once again I am running instead of flying as I am running the half marathon section of the Long Course Weekend at Tenby. I will be flying next weekend, however that will be from St Agnes Head in Cornwall.

Have a great weekend all.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Weekend forecast 1st/2nd July

I'm writing a short but sweet post today, so lets see what your flying possibilities are.

Saturday - A dry day with sunny intervals and a westerly of 13 mph. So your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eglwysilan and maybe Meio

Sunday - Another dry day with sunny intervals and a south westerly of 9 mph. So your slope choices will be Mickey's and Meio

I'm off to the Wales air show in Swansea on Saturday but I may get a chance to fly on Sunday, so I'll pack something light into the car.

Wherever you're going, happy flying.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Valenta L213 A on Meio Common

This was the first time I'd flown the 213 on Meio, so I was looking forward to it.

It's often a bit disconcerting when you arrive at Meio, get out of the car, and there's barely a breath of wind. But experience told me that at the top of the slope there should be more than enough to fly. And in fact, as I arrived, Chris was walking back down the slope having had a good flying session, and he confirmed that the lift was good and there were some good thermals coming through also.

There was a good 20 mph on the ridge, the air was smooth with great lift, and yes, some big thermals were coming through regularly. The only downside was that the air in the compression zone was pretty bumpy, but hey, you can't have everything.

I'm so glad I've mixed the spoilers in with crow which is making landing an absolute doddle and makes me look like I'm good at landing 😉

Check out the video.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Flying forecast - weekend 24th/25th June

The steaming hot temperatures of the last week are behind us and the typically British summer weather has returned, which means better flying conditions. So without further ado, lets see what awaits us for this weekend.

Saturday - A dry day with light cloud and sunny intervals, winds westerly at around 13 - 15 mph, which hopefully will give you 18 - 20 on the slopes. Your slope choices will be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eglwysilan and Meio, although it will be off the face at Meio, but I know some of you prefer this to flying at Eglwysilan, due to the lack of car parking at Eglwysilan. Personally I would fly Eglwysilan to Meio in a westerly.

Sunday - Much the same as Saturday only a slightly stronger breeze at 14 - 17 mph.

I will probably fly at Egwysilan tomorrow afternoon for a couple of hours, and I know Big Phil is intending on going to Rhossili on Sunday. I would have joined him but I am running in the Swansea half marathon.

Have a great weekend all, whatever you are doing.

Happy flying.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Bwlchfest 2017 - The Video

Hey guys. Check out the video below of last weekends Bwlchfest, and if you haven't visited this blog during the past week, scroll down to see the full write up and pictures.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast - 17th/18th June

So after the pretty awful, autumnal weather we experienced for Bwlchfest last weekend, this weekend is looking quite the opposite with very warm, sunny weather but light winds.

Saturday - A hot, sunny day with temperatures around 23°C and a light, westerly breeze of around 9 mph.
Your slope choices would be Rhossili, Mickey's, Eqlwysilan and Meio, in that order I think.

Sunday - Another hot and sunny day with temperatures around 25°C and a light SSW breeze of  4 mph.

Your slope choices will be Mickey's and Meio, but the wind will not be square onto the slope face if the SSW is correct, if you stick to the usual flying positions on Mickeys. You can also fly at various points before the cattle grid, which will put you squarer onto the wind.

If you do hit the slopes, you will need something that will fly in a very light breeze, particularly on Sunday, when you may have to dust off the DLG's and e-soarers.

As for me? I'm not going to fly this weekend. I'll be at Parkrun as usual first thing on Saturday morning then having a lazy day. Sunday I am running in the annual Caerphilly 10k race, around the town and its famous castle before enjoying a Fathers Day BBQ.

Have a good weekend all and happy flying.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bwlchfest - More Photo's

Just to let you know that I've added some more photo's to the Bwlchfest Review post.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bwlchfest 2017 Review

I awoke on Saturday morning and leapt out of my bed to draw the curtains to see if the previous evenings weather forecast was correct. It was cloudy but dry at least in Newport. BBC Wales had said that rain was due in around mid afternoon, but the BBC mobile phone app gave rain at Nant-y-moel from the early morning and all day long. I was hoping that the TV forecast was correct. I looked at a couple of other apps as well, and they all gave a different outlook to the days weather.

I went through my usual routine of getting myself dressed, have some breakfast and check that I have everything I could need for a full day on the slope.
Flask? - Check.
Food? - Check.
Models? - Check.
Transmitter? - Check.
And then I proceeded to load the car.

These days I tend to drive to the Bwlch by heading along the M4 motorway to Sarn Services, and then head north following signs for Bryncethin and Ogmore Vale, as there are fewer sets of traffic lights etc to slow me down.

As I was approaching my motorway exit junction, a few spots of rain began to appear on the windscreen, and by the time I had reached Ogmore Vale, the rain was lashing down, and by now I could see Back of Wrecker and Mickeys, both of which were shrouded in low cloud, or clag as the local fliers call it.

It was still only 9 o'clock when I arrived, and the snack van was already there parked in the lay-by, so I ordered a bacon butty and a coffee and chatted to the guy in the van before sitting back in the car and out of the rain to eat my food.

The snack van. Normally you could see the gravel track beyond which leads to Mickey's

Gradually, one by one, fliers arrived, I greeted them, we talked about the weather a little before getting back into our cars to shelter from the rain, which by now was flowing like a river down the Bwlch road.

By 11:30 I decided enough was enough. Even if the rain did stop, the ground on top of the mountain would be as soggy as a rice pudding, and not very pleasant to stand around in. So I made the decision to cancel Saturdays flying and informed everyone who was sat there and had waited patiently.

Sunday morning I went through the same routine as per Saturday and I began my journey.

Upon arrival there was low cloud, but it looked like it could clear, and there seemed to be enough wind but, it is sheltered at the lay-by from south westerly winds, and only upon arriving at the slope would I know what we were likely to be in store for.

Car after car arrived, and I was thinking, "this looks promising", and I greeted fliers as they approached the snack van to grab a coffee and a breakfast bap.

Kevin the sheep arrived and took a fancy to Andy Meade's bap. 

I had already mentioned on various internet posts that I would unlock the gate at 10 o'clock, and that is what happened and the procession of cars headed on up the winding gravel track, until we could go no further, which meant that we had arrived at the south west facing slope of Mickey's.

Once everyone had arrived, I gathered them all together for a short briefing, and then without further ado, the flying commenced, in wind speeds constantly of 36 mph but gusting to 44 mph.

Quite a lot of guys turned up with models that were pretty light, mostly chevron type wings, and they struggled to launch as the wind in the compression zone would just blow their model backwards but, if you got someone to launch for you, and they walked down the slope a little way, they could manage to launch, and with the pilot holding the elevator down a little, they were able to be on the sticks straight away and push the model through the compression into clear air with fabulous lift.

The PSS guys that had turned up were well used to this as they had flown on Mickey's before but, they are also used to flying on the big rock, otherwise known as the Great Orme.

Andy Meade had brought along his unflown ¼ scale Fox to maiden, which didn'y go quite to plan as it was a little tail heavy and really twitchy on launching. The second attempt saw it take to the sky.

When it came to landing it, he made the same error I did when I began flying my L213 in that it looked a lot closer to him than it actually was, and in fact it landed in the field beyond the track, causing a control snake to snap in the tail and a loose part of the canopy. I'm sure it will take to the sky again very soon.

Gradually during the day, people left in dribs and drabs until finally it was just the hardcore PSS guys and myself left, and by 6:30 we had cleared the slope.

So my thanks go to everyone who made the effort to travel, and it seemed we had people from most areas of England and Wales, but also to Robin who came from Germany and who also supplied T shirts and caps, and also to Dirk and his friend who made the trip from Belgium.

Enjoy the following photo's and I'm sure we will do it all again next year. If you have some more good quality pics, let me know and I will add them to this post.

Gathered together for the pre flight briefing

Gauging the surroundings and 40 mph + wind speed

Maiden flight of the Fox

Get ready .......

Oooops 😓

Away on the second attempt

The PSS posse 

See you all at Bwlchfest 2018 😊

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bwlchfest - The day after

Hi guys.

I would like to thank all those who turned up yesterday for what turned out to be a great days flying, I think we had 33 fliers there sporting all types of model, from a ¼ scale Fox to chevron foamie wings, which I know some of you struggled to fly in the 40 plus mph winds.

Andy Mead with his big Fox on its maiden launch. Ooops!

Unfortunately Saturday was a total wash out with the rain just hammering down and a river running down the Bwlch road.

My Valenta L213 just loves big winds

I will follow up with a full report in the next few days.

A few of you were making enquiries about flying at the Bwlch and other local slopes and how to find out where people were flying on a weekend. Well I usually give a Flying Forecast on this blog on a Friday, and there is the Facebook group page, Slope Soaring in Wales where people often arrange to meet up. But I know some of you don't use Facebook.

I used to have a feature on this blog called the Shout Box, where you could register as a user and leave and receive messages, but I removed it because no one used it. If I felt this would get some use, then I would be happy to reinstate it. This could be used to contact other users and find out who was flying and where. The blog, Slope Soaring Sussex uses this very well, (you can see it on the right side of the main page). So if you think you would use this feature, drop me an email at steve.houghton59@gmail.com .

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Bwlchfest Sunday Update

Sunday is looking like a fine flying day with light cloud and a good south westerly blowing.

Meet at the ice cream slope lay-by before 10am ready to go through the gate. Late comers will need to park in the lay-by or on the grassy area opposite and then walk up the gravel track to the right of the snack van.

I will leave a poster with the man in the snack van.

See you there.

Bwlchfest weather update

The weather forecast is constantly changing depending on which weather service you look at.

Some say the rain is due in between 2 pm & 3 pm, others say from about 10 am. Who do you believe?

I shall be there by 9 am and probably pick up a coffee and bacon butty from the van on the ice cream slope lay-by.

There could be a possible Plan B. If the rain, and that is a big IF, stays clear of the coast, we could always move to Southerndown and fly the sea cliffs there.

I shall wait at the Bwlch for a while to see who turns up and then we can make a decision there.

Looking on the bright side, Sunday is looking much, much better.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Bwlchfest Saturday further weather update

So the latest forecast for tomorrow, (Saturday), is showing dry but cloudy with a southerly wind, (which still means flying on Back of Wrecker), until about 3 pm ish, when the wind shifts to south westerly and rain is due in.

If the rain keeps to the north of us, then we can up sticks and move over to Mickey's, the SW slope. But if the rain comes in, then a move to another slope is pointless, but at least we will have had a good few hours flying.

See you in the morning

Bwlchfest weather forecast

Hi all, I have to say I'm beginning to get a little excited, and nervous at the same time about my first Bwlchfest.

Yesterday the forecast was pants for the Saturday, and I was thinking that we'd have to give up on the flying and do a pub crawl in Cardiff instead.

Oh how 24 hours can make a difference.

Saturday - This is now looking like being a dry but cloudy day with a southerly wind, possibly swinging to south west later in the afternoon, of about 20 mph plus on the ridge.

Our choice of slope will be Back of Wrecker, so car parking can be in the Wrecker lay-by and along the road.

Ignore the Flying Area Here in the pic as this is the Wrecker. The Back of Wrecker is out of shot, just beyond where it says Landing Zone Here. You can see the track leading to the slope.

From the lay-by, walk across the road where you will see a trodden track leading to the brow of the hill. Take this track to the top, walk just a little further, and stop before you fall off the very steep cliff face.

I may just take us down to the left of the ridge a bit as the lift can be a bit better there, however you do have to land a little further back as it can suffer from a touch of rotor, whereas the higher point of the ridge doesn't suffer from rotor that much.

Sunday - This depends on which forecast you look at. The Met Office says rain but the BBC say mostly dry, and I don't trust the XC forecast any more as it has been wrong too many times for my liking.

But we are looking at a south westerly wind in excess of 20 mph, and so that means the Mickey's slope.

I will take a look at the forecast later this evening and post again should the forecast change, then again on Saturday evening and post anyway.

I look forward to seeing you all there 👍

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Bwlchfest update - Thursday 8th June

The current weather forecast for Saturday is total pants, with rain for most of the day. 

With the Bwlch being around 1400 ft ASL, this means that the cloud base will be very low also and so visibility is likely to be nil.

Sunday is looking like being the better day with sunshine and showers.

But I'm not going to be all doom and gloom just yet, because as anyone who flies slope regularly will know that the forecast can change overnight.

If the weather is rubbish on Saturday and we can't fly, I think Robin is interested in checking out the pubs in Cardiff, and I will be more than happy to be his guide 😉

Watch this space

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Bwlchfest - 3 days and counting

So with only three days to go, I couldn't help but check out the BBC weather this morning and, at the moment, they are forecasting sunshine and showers, with Sunday being the better day. I'm sure other weather apps will tell a different story, they always do. By tomorrow evening we will have a better idea as to what we can expect weather wise.

Sunshine and showers I can cope with, heavy low cloud could be a problem as the Bwlch is so high above sea level that it can easily become shrouded in cloud, known locally as "clag". This will totally ruin our flying, and many a F3F competition has been cancelled on the day due to the clag.

But the clag can also clear, as it did a couple of weeks ago when a PSS meet was held here. The band of rain cleared, and the clag dissipated, and the slope was totally clear by 11am.

Keep your fingers crossed guys.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Weekend Flying Forecast 3rd/4th June

Here we are again with another weekend upon us, and if you're thinking of getting out to the slopes, here is what you can expect.

Saturday - A sunny, bright day with a 12 mph westerly, which means about 20 mph on the slope.

Your slope choices will be Mickey's, Rhossili, Eglwysilan and Meio, although this will be a off the main face. You can fly on the point but due to its shape, the lift isn't great.

Sunday - Sunshine and showers are the order of the day with an 11 mph south westerly, so your slope choices are Mickey's and Meio.

I may be able to get a couple of hours flying in on Saturday afternoon. I will probably try Eglwysilan , and as I have to drive past Meio to get there, I will stop to check that the wind direction is actually westerly, and not south westerly.

My friend Robin should be arriving in the area on Saturday with his Austrian friends, and I did say that I would try to get out to fly on Monday or Wednesday evening, however, the forecast looks like total pants for Monday, with rain and a 20 - 30 mph southerly wind, and Wednesday is much to far away to take a forecast seriously. I will be keeping a very close eye on the forecast though over the coming week and keeping my fingers crossed for favourable flying conditions for Bwlchfest next weekend.

Until next time friends
Happy flying

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cardiff Area Flying Restrictions

Due to the Champions League football finals, the authorities have created a "no fly zone" around Cardiff, effective from 10:00 hours today through to 17:00 hours on Sunday 4th June.

This will effect Cardiff MAC, Gaer Park MAC, but Eglwysilan MAC may be just on the edge, the map isn't clear enough but I would think they'd be OK. Which means that for us slopers, Meio Common is likely to be the only slope affected, but as this is next to the Eglwysilan MAC, I doubt whether there would be an issue.