Whilst the scenery is awesome, the views outstanding, and the lift abundant, it is a long way to South Wales – 4 hours for me and the best part of a day’s travel with stops for a nice lunch on the way. I took the day off on the Friday of the 20th/21st May weekend and travelled down.
I arrived at 5.30pm to meet Steve Houghton who organised the weekend. He runs the A470 Blog site and has just taken over the running of the local club. He is a tower of force and just the person who has the energy to improve the sociability of slope soaring, which can be a rather isloating experience. There is another event not to be missed very soon – Bwlch Fest which promises to have foreign visitors and another PSS Calendar event – 10th/11th June 2017.
The wind was SW/WSW so I drove my car up the rocky road right over to the far side of Mickey’s where the lift is smooth and magnificent. The conditions were perfect – 20mph and sunny – eventually the sun sank in the sky and made flying difficuilt. We were all flying sports models. I managed to wreck my Stormbird when it tip stalled after an Innelman turn. Very disappointing.
I gave the lads a lift back to their cars as I had ventured further than the others, and wended my way back to the lodgings. Dirk Tinck turned up at 9pm which was a great relief to the landlady who went to bed at 10pm. He had travelled 12 hours all the way from Belgium to fly his marvellous Fouga Magister for which see the last PSS event where he won model of the weekend with it. We shared Belgium sausage and cider and turned in.
The following day saw an excellent turn out at the Ice Cream car park. The wind was South West so Steven opened the gate and we made our way in crocodile Mickey’s slope again (named after Mickey who was in attendance and used to live at the bottom of the slope, which made telephone enquiries as to the conditions ideal).
There was an extensive collection of models including Andy Meade’s U2 alll in matt black which got quite a lot of air time over the weekend. I always think it is cheating to buy 2nd hand models and that you ought to make them yourself, which Andy does to an incredible standard – I wonder where he stores them all at home.
- 3 A4 Skyhawks from the Msss build by Christ Barlow, Phil Cooke, and myself. We had a great session later in the day flying in formation with no md airs
- John Treble of BMFA column fame brought along an early Avro Vulcan prototype from the free RCME&E plan. Sadly it had a bad mid air collision with Phil May’s Mark Kettle kitted Vulcan and went home in bits. John may be putting somethign in his column about the weekend – hopefully not with regret.
- A Canberra of huge proportions was brought by Scott Edwards. Deservedly it won model of the weekend
- 3 B52s again of enormous proportions by Dave Gilder, Harry Twist, and another. Dave won best flown jet.
- The Fouga Magister of Dirk Tinck, which sadly had a small mishap arising from taking weight out of the nose to compensate for the huge pilot. Dirk, however brought along a Blenheim which won best flown prop aircraft.
- A Lancaster bomber I think – could have been a Halifax by Scott again. He had previously brought along and flown to great effect a huge Lancaster. They look so good in the air.
- A very fast flying Aermacchi MB339 which is shown in the photograph in white and yellow.
- Andy Meade’s huge Vulcan Bomber which I didn’t see flown.
- A gaggle of Hawks as usual.
- Steven McLaren’s usual perfectly finished collection which included his Tornado, an Mosquito
- The usual collection of Jet Provosts of myself, Chris Barlow, and Phil Cooked from the 2014 Mass Build
There were many others whic are too numerous to mention. There must have been over 100 models there on the Saturday and a car park full of flyers.
There was a torrential rain shower about midday, which cleared to provide excellent conditions until we drew stumps at around 7pm. The lift was booming at around 20 to 25mph.
Some of us enjoyed an excellent meal at the Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd
At the age of nearly 60 I should know better than to drink more than 1 pint of the best 5% real ale home brewed by the pub that money could buy, but somehow weakness of the spirit prevailed which resulted in my feeling tired, groggy, and hung over the next day.
The wind was SSE to South the next day which meant that we move to Back of Wrecker ajacent to the road. Due to unfortunate adminstration, the F3F had organised their qualifier competition for the Sunday, so we had to share a slope, which was fine because we were on the right less rotor affected end of the slope and they were to our left. It meant we could watch from above. As I own an F3F plane, I was very interested to see the skillful lightening responses of the pilots – well beyond what I am capable of.
Not so many turned up on the Sunday, but some good flying was done by many who also attended on the Saturday.
The lift up the right hand side of the valley is not as smooth as Mickey’s due largely to the large forrest below, which admittedly does generate thermals, but principally because there is more undulating ground in front of the slopes.
I left around lunchtime somewhat exhausted and facing the long journey home. Many flew on, and the prizes were awared around 4pm by Steve who, of course, organised the event.
Whilst the flying is enjoyable, it is always nice to engage in banter with old friemds who share a common interest. I always think there is a more gentlemanly atmosphere to a scale type event in a fly for fun setting than you inevitably get in the highly competitive world of F3F, which, dare I say it, is a tenser experience. One can also fly all day with as many different models as you like rather than being confined to 5 minute slots every so often. That is not to say that F3F is very intriguing. I won’t deny it.
Oh and my BAE Hawk failed to sell for £150ono.
Till next time then – the Lleyn at the begiining of July – keep shaving (balsa)