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.

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.