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 11 September 2020

Banging Slope Soaring session on Mickey's

What a fun days flying that was!

I arrived at the lay-by at The Bwlch at 10 AM on Saturday and waited for a bunch of other guys to arrive and, they duly did in dribs and drabs over the next 30 minutes or so.

The forecast was for a NW breeze of about 16 mph at Bridgend, so I was expecting about 20 mph in the compression zone on the slope as we marched in single file along the narrow track to our flying spot. On arrival the wind was slightly more westerly than we'd have liked, and it would come and go a bit, which was fine for flying foamy models but no one wanted to risk launching an expensive moudie. 

So after about an hour a couple of the guys decided to head off to Mickeys, the westerly slope to see if that was any better and, after about 30 minutes we received a phone call to say that Mickey's was flying very well and so we packed up, decamped and trundled over to the far westerly slope.

This was a good move with the wind being bang on square to the slope and about 18 mph, so all the big guns were brought out, including a 1/4 scale ASW20 belonging to Mark, one of the two visitors flying with us that day.

Check out the video of the days flying activity and don't forget to subscibe to my YouTube channel.

Thursday 3 September 2020

New Glider Project - Part 3 (Streamline 350)

 Light north to north east winds were forecast for last weekend and so I put the call out on Facebook to see where people were intending to fly as I wanted to give the Streamline 350 its maiden flight, and flying buddy Nigel came back and invited me along to fly at the Eglwysilan model flying club near Pontypridd, so how could I refuse. 

Sunday was bright but windier than expected although the forecast was for the wind to ease during the day as I assembled the Streamline. One thing I did notice with the assembly was connecting the aileron servo wires together using the JST type connectors as the servo wires are too long and are difficult to tuck into the wing cavity. I could just cut the wires short and reconnect but it may actually be easier and a neater finish to replace the JST's with the MPX 6 pin plugs & sockets.

Eventually the wind eased and I couldn't put off launching any longer. Nick was volunteered to do the honours and I asked him to perform a power off throw, just to ensure that I hadn't got the all flying tailplane, (horizontal stabiliser), position terribly wrong, or anything else for that matter. And just to ensure the 1st throw wasn't a fluke, the 2nd throw was equally as good. So without further ado Nick launched the model and I fired up the motor and away it went, albeit a bit sluggishly, and she struggled to climb so I gave it full throttle, which it didn't like at all and the prop was making one hell of a racket, and after climbing to a safe altitude I turned off the motor and managed to gain a little extra height using natural lift before bringing her downwind and into base for a landing. I had plenty of room so I didn't have to worry about using CROW braking at this time and she landed well.

After chatting with the lads we decided that the 13" x 6" propeller was too big so I fitted a 12" x 6" and we did a ground run for about a minute, which was much better and with no sign of the ESC even getting warm, so with that we launched her a 2nd time. This was much better! She climbed steadily but was no rocket ship, which I sort of expected because I wasn't using the recomended motor, just one that I had spare in my box of bits that had been bought for another project, trying to save a few £, and this model is quite a heavy lump, (which reminds me that I need to try and find a way of weighing it). Anyway, I flew it briefly, testing the controls and concluded that my control settings weren't far out with only minor elevator compensation adjustments being required for the speed and thermal flap settings and CROW braking. On my landing approach I came in a bit high but CROW soon brought that down to land just a few meters from me. 

I made some adjustments to elevator compensation and also added aileron differential, something I'd forgotten to do on my initial setting up on the transmitter and launched her for one final flight. Everything went to plan this time and I managed a good flight. For such a heavy model she doesn't lose height too rapidly at all, and although thermals helped her to maintain height, she wasn't climbing away in the thermals. Whether this was because I wasn't locking in to very strong thermals or because there weren't any strong thermals at this time in the afternoon, I don't know? I'm sure future flights will shed more light.

So the question at the end of the day was, do I splash out and purchase the recomended motor, along with the recomended 6 cell 5000mah LiPo to help with the climb outs or, do I leave it as it is? After all, I bought this model with the intention of flying it from the slopes on light/marginal wind days, and the motor is a get out of jail clause. But if I want to fly it on slightly windier days from a flat field then the extra pulling power of a bigger motor would be advantageous.  After watching the video footage I took I decided to purchase the motor and battery pack. But this also meant I've had to also purchase a new battery charger as mine only charges up to 4S packs, but hey, it's only money, right! 

So check out the video, hit the LIKE button and please subscribe to my channel and hopefully I can produce some more videos of this fine bird.