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.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Visitors from Slope Soaring Sussex

Sunday morning was beautiful, as the weather had been from the beginning of the Easter holiday on Friday. However, there was very little wind, which we had anticipated from looking at the weather forecasts so, when Paul and Ian of Slope Soaring Sussex told me that Sunday was their only available flying day of the extended weekend, we told them to bring light wind models with them, with also something that could fly in a slightly stronger breeze, just in case.

Paul and Ian had only arrived at The Wrecker lay-by at the Bwlch  just a few minutes before me and the weather forecast was accurate so far with a cloudless sky and a very light north easterly breeze, so we began flying from the Wrecker. They unpacked and assembled a couple of F3J models, Paul an Xperience Pro and Ian a Nan Shadow, which flew very well in the light breeze. There were some good thermals beginning to show also but, very quickly the wind began to shift around to a south easterly direction as had been forecast. We had anticipated this and moved over the hill behind us to the Back of Wrecker slope, however, at this moment there didn't seem to be enough slope lift to risk launching even the F3J models, so we gave them a throw from the top of the hill between the two slopes and managed to pick up thermals to give us some altitude. I cheated and used the motor on my Multiplex Heron to gain some initial height and quickly got into a thermal that took me way high. So much so that I had to bail out of the thermal and use crow braking to bring it down to a reasonable height.

The wind did pick up a little with an estimated 6 - 7 mph on the edge. The F3J models didn't have a problem with this at all but, as the lift was coming and going, and there being huge patches of sink being left behind by the thermals, when the lads tried to fly their F3F models, they would have to make a hasty retreat back to the grass for a landing, as landing out is definitely not an option on this slope.

The weather could only have been better if we'd had another 10 miles of wind to play with but, we still had a lot of fun. Check out the video below.

Friday, 12 April 2019

A strange wind day at Manmoel

I met Nick at Manmoel at around 12:45, it was a cloudy day with sunny intervals and a very chilly wind blowing in from the east. I walked the 200 metres or so from the car to the slope edge where Nick was already in the air with his SAS Mamba and I measured the wind speed at 18 - 22 mph, but it was north westerly and Manmoel is definitely an easterly slope. At least it was flyable, it just meant that our models would be a bit slow when traversing from right to left.

We were joined by David who had brought a couple of models with him just as the wind began to change direction to a full blown easterly, and the lift was fantastic as Nick and I raced each other along the slope, he with his M60 and me with my Ballistik, I think I had a slight edge speed wise 😉

 Nick walked back to his car to fetch his 3 metre B4 and I assembled my Valenta models L213 A. This would be the first time I've flown this since last autumn so I was a little nervous about it being chucked off the slope. I needn't have worried though as it flew away nicely, in fact it was absolutely rocking in that superb lift.

I made two passes to gauge the landing zone and then came in for an attempt at landing. The crow and spoilers slowed the speeding model down nicely, in fact so much so that with it still about 4 metres above the ground I closed crow and spoilers and landed sweetly without them. Nice 😌

We were joined by another couple of guys but shortly afterwards the wind just died off and we were reduced to flying our light foamie models and scratch around a bit for lift. It was strange how the wind and lift varied so much in the space of four hours.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Featured Post - foamie fun on Blaen Bran

Hi guys, check out the featured post on the left which goes back to 2016 and a fun, foamie model flying session we had on Blaen Bran, Cwmbran.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Fochriw gate - again

Three of us arranged to meet up at around midday ish at Fochriw for a flying session. As I was driving along the road towards Pontlottyn, with the steep slope on my left I could see a para glider in the air, which made me happy because that made me think that the access gate to the top of the hill was still open. My friend, (who lives locally), had contacted me the previous day to say that she had driven past and the gate was open. But upon my arrival the gate was firmly shut and locked with several vehicles parked outside the gate. So I checked the Slope Soaring in Wales group page on Facebook to see if there were any comments about this, and if not then I could warn the others about the closure. Nick had already beaten me to it, had seen the locked gate and driven down to the slope at Manmoel, near Ebbw Vale instead. So I messaged Phil to let him know and I headed off to Manmoel.

Nick was there as I walked the 200 metres from the car to the slope edge. The wind was blowing more easterly than the NE that had been forecast and around 10 mph, which was enough to fly a light foamie model, and that model for me was the Genesis chevron wing which I had built specifically for flying combat.

The air was smooth with no turbulence, which was nice as sometimes the air at Manmoel can be very turbulent and horrible to fly in, but not this day. It was a day for cruising back and forth along the slope as there wasn't enough wind to perform big aero's, but it was just nice to get on the sticks again.

Phil turned up with his youngest son Tom in tow and Phil launched his Spectre foamie wing and together we cruised the slope. I decided to syncronise my passes with Phil's, turning together at each end of the pass until we collided when I came up from behind and below. Phil's model went down and I managed to recover mine and continue flying, and there were no obvious control issues with my model, unlike Phil's who had a elevon control linkage break.

So that was that. Nick and I continued to fly for a little while until that chilly easterly wind got the better of Phil and I and we decided to head back to the warmth of our cars and head home.

Check out the video where I did manage to capture the collision.