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 28 April 2017

Bank holiday flying forecast and other stuff

So another bank/public holiday is upon us once more, which gives us working folk an extra opportunity to get out there and do some flying.

So without further ado, here are your flying prospects.

Saturday - A dry day with a S to SSE wind of about 10 mph. So your choices of slope will be Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch, where you could have up to 20 mph on the ridge. You could also try Southerndown.

Sunday - Rain is forecast to arrive in the early afternoon. Winds SE 19 mph, gusting to 32 mph.
As for slope choice? I think this is a case of a bit suck it and see. It could be on Back of Wrecker, although if there is too much east in it, you may need to head over to the far side of the Crest, or find another more SE slope like Blaen Bran at Cwmbran. (Have I spelled that correctly?).

Monday - A dry and bright day with a possible shower or two, with a WSW to SW wind of 14 mph. Your slope choice will be Mickeys at the Bwlch or, Meio.

I am intending to fly on Saturday, and possibly on Monday, depending on family commitments, but where I haven't decided yet.


The Whitesheet Radio Flying Club in Wiltshire hold regular Open Slope Fly Ins, and the next one is on Sunday May 14th.

This is an event I have been meaning to go to for some time, so weather and wind direction permitting, (a SW or NW wind is preferable), I hope to attend this one.

A PDF map of the area and slopes can be seen by clicking HERE


Also, just a reminder that a PSSA Fly for Fun meet will be held at the Bwlch over the 20th & 21st May. It would be great to see many of the S Wales fliers attend this one.

And Bwlchfest is getting closer, (June 10th/11th), and Robin is doing a fantastic job with the T shirts and caps, payment for which needs to be made by May 7th for those that have pre-ordered them.

Hopefully I will see some of you over this weekend. Until then, happy flying.


Friday 21 April 2017

Weekend flying forecast 22nd/23rd April

So after a short week in the office due to the Easter break, we'd be expecting the temperature to be increasing. However, the forecast is for colder weather next week. Brrrrrr.

I had to take Tuesday as a days leave also as my boiler needed a service in the morning. The engineer had left by midday so I headed down to my local field for an hours thermal soaring.

The thermals were few and far between, with hardly anything at low level, but I did manage a couple of rises with the Climaxx Compact E.

But back to this weekend and conditions are not looking good if you are intending to head to a slope in S Wales.

The wind is forecast to be predominantly from the south west for both days, but at only 5 - 8 mph it may not be worth the effort, just to cruise back and forth slowly along the slope.

So if you do fancy trying the slopes, your best bet would probably be Mickeys at the Bwlch. You could also give Meio a try also.

Whatever you end up doing, have a great weekend all.

Happy flying

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Rhossili Magic

Sunday morning began fine and bright, but with only a light breeze blowing when I met up with Phil and Josh just off the M4 motorway north of Cardiff.

After picking up a McDonalds breakfast, we headed west for a 1 1/2 hour drive to the fabulous Atlantic coastal site of Rhossili in South West Wales.

We arrived at the small church car park at about 9 AM and it was empty, not even any cars belonging to para gliders.

Once we'd walked up to the top of the slope and made camp by the trig point, the wind was square onto the slope and blowing about 15 mph.

We were joined shortly afterwards by Richard, and then by another guy who spends half of the year living locally, and the other 6 months in the Midlands.

As the day progressed, the wind slowly picked up until it peaked at about 38 mph.

My new Valenta L213 flew perfectly nicely in the earlier 15 mph breeze, but in that 38 mph blow it was seriously rocking. Hopefully I can get some video soon of it performing in higher wind speeds, and also once I've gained some more confidence in flying it.

PSSA meet 8th/9th April 2017

I'm not going to say a lot about this meet, except that we couldn't fly on the Saturday due to a lack of wind, but Sunday made up for this and the lift wasn't bad at all.

Hopefully I have now broken my jinx and we will have plenty of wind for the rest of the years PSS events.

There were plenty of models taking to the skies, including some new ones, in particular Dirk Tinck's Fouga Magister and the P51 Mustang by Matt Jones.

Hopefully I will see some of you at the next PSS event at the Bwlch over the 20th/21st May.

Thursday 13 April 2017

This months featured post

Take a look at this months featured post which is taken from April 2015, when I was on a camping trip to Cornwall.

As I remember, the weather was lovely apart from the wind being mostly in the east, which isn't good when you are on the west coast of Cornwall. 😞

Anyway, there are three videos for you to enjoy.

The first was an hour I spent just south of St Ives flinging my Libelle DLG into the air. The second was some flying done at one of my favourite places, St Agnes. And the third was flying my Wildthing on the Lizard peninsular at a small place called Penhallow.


Easter weekend holiday flying

Hi all

With the Easter holiday upon us, it's time to get some flying in I think.

I went out last night to get some more air time with the 213. A westerly of 16 - 20 mph was blowing so I flew from Eglwysilan and had great lift and good flying. It was pretty cold though.

So this weekend is looking like being cloudy but dry with mostly westerly winds of 12 - 15 mph, so there should be some great flying to be had with maybe up to 25 mph on the slopes.

Your slope choices will be Mickeys at The Bwlch, Rhossili and Eglwysilan. Some people don't like Eglwysilan due to the lack of parking and prefer to fly at Meio, although the air flow will be really off face on Meio. You could fly the point there but it isn't particularly good. I would prefer Eglwysilan if I wanted to stay local.

But I will probably fly at The Bwlch tomorrow, (Friday) and I think a group of us are looking to head to Rhossili early on Sunday morning, as the church car park can quickly become full with the para glider crowd.

Hopefully I will see some of you on a slope over the weekend. If not, have a great weekend whatever you are doing, and don't eat too many Easter eggs and hot cross buns eh.

Happy flying

Tuesday 11 April 2017

FMS Chuckie Alpha Jet RC conversions on the Orme.

So Saturday on the Orme was a non flying day, due to the total lack of wind. Well, PSS wise, although a few managed to fly electric powered gliders or DLG's.

Eventually people get bored and they then tend to do silly things to entertain themselves.

A few of the guys had bought the FMS Chuckie Alpha Jet, a foam chuck glider, and converted them to 2 channel RC and given them a good paint job.

So the challenge was on then to see how they would perform as a chuck glider, as there was no wind to chuck even these light models off a slope.

Enjoy the video and don't forget to change the quality to 1080p in settings.

Thursday 6 April 2017

Weekend flying forecast 8th/9th April

Hi guys. I'm posting the flying forecast today because tomorrow morning I shall be on a 5 hour road trip to sunny Llandudno, to attend the first PSSA meet for 2017.

The general forecast looks great, with it being sunny and warm in SE Wales. However, there is usually a downside, and in this case it is the wind speed.

Saturday - A sunny, warm day with a 8 mph SSE breeze.

Sunday - This is much the same as Saturday with a 7 - 8 mph S to SSW breeze.

Your slope choice will be Back of Wrecker at the Bwlch, and maybe Southerndown.

There are those that will tell you that whatever wind speed is forecast, you can expect up to an extra 10 mph at the Bwlch. My personal experience is that this is not often the case once the wind speed drops below 10 mph.

I have gone up to the Bwlch on many an occasion when such light winds have been forecast at Cardiff airport, and found that the wind speed on the slope has only been that forecast, or in some cases, less.

So my advice to anyone intending on flying at the Bwlch this weekend, is to take something along that will float in the lightest breeze. I usually take along my 2m Climaxx Compact E, a balsa built thermal soarer from Hollein.

Here is a video taken between Christmas and New Year 2016 when Phil and I met up with Paul Hampshire on Back of Wrecker. The forecast on XC was for 17 mph, but we struggled to get 8 mph.

Have a great weekend all.