Narrow Roads and Flight

Norflugel design (German soaring event) plank wing

My quest to fly at other flying sites is still on, last weekend I went to Long Mynd in Shropshire, we got there easily enough and then got lost getting to the top and ended up on a very narrow single track, with a long drop at its side, that I wouldn’t have given the word ‘road’ to, it climbed at what seemed like 45 degrees and was negotiated in 1st gear with my foot flat on the throttle, fun and games! I met up with the locals and on hearing a ‘hello Mark!’ from behind me, realised that I knew some of them from the scale soaring events, a nice welcome.

The site I flew was the Pole Cottage one, which gives lift from south through to west, the westerly I encountered was 10-20mph and enough at the lower end to take large scale models up of which there was about half a dozen along with some 1.5m models and mouldies. My sight took in the Welsh hills (when does a hill become a mountain?) in the distance with not much in between us and even with all this space and eight large models up at a time it was getting crowded or so it seemed.

Earlier whilst putting our luggage in the car I touched the tail of my mouldie only to notice that the tail wasn’t quite as stiff as I remembered and sure enough something had happened over the last ten years or so, I haven’t had much time to investigate but I am guessing that the hole for the joiners has worn and needs some work to refurb it. So with less than a few minutes to go before we were due to leave I hurriedly put my 2.5m wing in the boot, its built up and glassed, weighing around 2kg and manoeuvres well with good penetration and a fair turn of speed so at least I had something at hand to fly.

The Norflugel design (German soaring event) plank wing has a large spoiler which when raised 90 degrees from the middle section encourages the wing to take a vertical nose dive to terra firma, exciting stuff if you’re not on top of Long Mynd! With this behaviour in mind I landed without the spoiler and managed to find the rear edge of the slope where the lift was dead and set the wing down on the soft and springy heather. I have now programmed in some up elevon compensation and reduced the throw of the spoiler to about 30 degrees and whilst I was doing this I rechecked the CoG which after setting the four cell NmiH pack half an inch back is now perfect. On its first flight I had added two tuppenny pieces just to play safe and reduced the throws only to find the controls were decidedly non active which made for an interesting time on Oxo.

An hour and a half after leaving the car my OH reminded me that I must be thirsty (I can take a hint haha) which I thought odd since I had only thought it twenty minutes……? Time flies when you’re having fun. The local gliding club provides a warm welcome, food and drink.

The slope conditions are what I would call a ‘big air slope’ and suitable for any type of glider that you could carry there, the space and lift are vast with excellent landing as long as you don’t mind setting down in the heather. In my eyesight were parascenders, hanggliders and full size gliders, each having their own sites, very well organised by the National trust which has agreements with the associations. The area is used by many groups, motorcyclists, downhill MB’s, racing road bikes, X-country Bikers, walkers, runners to name a few while I was there.

The weather should have enabled me to fly again on the Monday but on arrival the top was cloaked in low cloud so I shall have to look forward to a return in the future.

Mark Deverell