A New Era for Competition Flying!
In the search for a new and simple system for live tracking and scoring of competition flying, Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen and Espen Grønstad from Norway, ended up in building a brand-new system. The system provides competition setup, task manager, crew registration, and online live tracking with real time scoring. “This is a truly milestone in our sport history!” – Says Yago Osset from the Spanish national competition team.
Live on National Television
The strength of this system was demonstrated this summer when the Norwegian National Broadcaster - NRK, decided to follow the Norwegian championship in precision flying live for almost three full hours on a Friday afternoon 25th of June. This was such a success that the Norwegian Air Sports Federation and NRK are already starting to make plans for the broadcast of the 2022 championship. The broadcast was a part of the versatile national championship in different sports.
Air Sports Live Tracking was an essential part of the broadcast. The ability to follow the aircrafts and the crews through the task with real-time scoring allowed the public to take part in the suspense when the aircrafts crossed the timing gates. Without the Air Sports Live Tracking system, there probably would not have been a full broadcast, was the feedback from the producer at NRK. This was the first time a National Television company followed the full length of an air sports competition in Norway.
“This was a test for all parties. The number of viewers was in general better than expected, in fact they were the largest of any of the versatile national championship broadcasts. An important observation was that a large majority of the viewers watched the competition in full length. They didn’t turn off the TV or switch channel. This confirms the entertainment value and shows that competition flying belongs on TV together with all other sports. We are very happy and proud of the result.” Says Espen Grønstad, Co-founder of Air Sports Live Tracking. Wolfgang Lintl - President FAI Microlight and Paramotor Commission commented: “I am impressed by the publicity and media coverage you got with this event. Bravo and thank you for sharing this." The Norwegian Air Sports Association also stated in its July newsletter that the tracking system developed by Espen Grønstad and Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen was a decisive factor for the TV program to be good. The system worked flawlessly and helped the TV audience get a good understanding of what the competition is about.
You can watch the broadcas in the NRK archive:
What is Air Sports Live Tracking?
Air Sports Live Tracking is an online system for creating and hosting flying competitions. It is based on FAI rules and you can arrange tasks like Precision Flying, Rally Flying or Air Navigation Race. You can even find modules for Pilot Poker Run and landing competition. It is free to use and everyone who wants can become an organizer. It allows you to create your own competitions with different tasks, and it helps you with crew registration etc. The participants do not need a logger to attend, a smartphone is sufficient for competition tracking. The Live Tracking system also works together with other programs like Flight Contest, if you are already familiar with this. The goal is just to go flying and watch the competition on airsports.no.
Unique stand-alone solution – no logger or software needed!
The most unique part of the Air Sports Live Tracking system is the stand-alone simplicity. At no cost you can create a competition on the website and prepare everything. The system automatically generates a flight order; including map and images - ready to fly. The Only thing the pilot need, is to download the APP, print the flight order - and go flying.
The Air Sports Live Tracking system even has an integration with Microsoft Flight simulator 2020 + Flight Order
Creating a competition!
After logging in to airsports.no and requesting competition privileges you get access to the competition management. With the help of an integrated online route editor, you can create a competition task with; track, gates, prohibited areas, penalty areas and information boxes etc. This you can go directly to satellite mode for precisely placing gates and also include an overlay from OpenAIP, to avoid airspace intrusion challenges. When finished, you create a precision or ANR task from your route. To schedule the start of a task the organizer has two options. 1. The organizer can register the crews and schedule the starting times, or; 2. Let the pilots do it themselves. The pilot/crew can easily register and schedule their takeoff time through the global map page in the app, after which the pilot receives an email with an automatically generated flight order. This explains the scoring for the specific task, and gives the calculated start and finish times. It also includes a pre-prepared map with track, heading, wind correction, minute marks, speed and photos of the turning points. The turning point photos are automatically cropped satellite photos, orientated in the track heading. “We can also include more free map tiles, if they are given to us.” – Says Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen
The Air Sports Live Tracking route editor lets you easily make your own task. Including flight order instruction!
APP for competition and leisure flying!
When someone has created a competition, the only thing you need for participation is the Air Sports Live Tracking app. This sends your position every 5 seconds in leisure mode and every second in competition mode. The system interpolates between the positions so even if the phone is not able to send as rapidly as every second, it determines your position quite exact. Each user has a unique profile which is verified when installing the app. This allows you to include a profile picture and an aircraft id. If you are in a competition or just flying for pleasure, you can see yourself and everyone else in the global map in the app or at www.airsports.no. This helps you to get a better understanding of the traffic information around you. This can also help you to be aware of situations or aircraft you did not know about. “We see from our experience that the mobile coverage is in general verry good, and the accuracy definitely gives us a good picture of the traffic around you. But even with excellent accuracy we emphasize that this is not intended as a safety tool, but for entertainment use only.” – Says Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen witch is the lead engineer in his spare time, and a satellite systems developer in his day job. Like every other tracking system, when you are flying VFR the most important part is keep a good look out.
On the global map you get local events and general traffic information! APP development by CreoIT.com
Passion not business!
“We started with just a small idea of a Live Tracking system for local competitions. But the idea grew, and soon the system and hours grew exponentially.” says Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen. As we speak Frank Olaf and Espen have spent an estimated more than 1500 hours to get where they are now. And they are not finished!
Unlike many other systems in aviation, the Air Sports Live Tracking system is free to use. Until recently all costs were covered by the developers. But after promising results, the Norwegian Air Sports Federation (NLF) agreed to help. “We are very glad for the financial support we have received from NLF. It does not cover the total cost, but it was an important contribution to keep the cost of the APP as low as possible.” – Says Espen Grønstad who handles financial and commercial operations. Today the APP has a subscription cost of $8.49 pr year. This is also for financial safety in case of increased usage that will require a bigger server and to prevent unwanted usage from people outside the aviation community. It is not sufficient to cover the development, especially after fees and taxes etc. But Espen and Frank Olaf are not doing this for financial gains. “We do this because we want to help other aviators to find the joy in competition flying, and help with recruitment.” – Both Frank Olaf and Espen reply.
Even if the Air Sports Live Tracking is not motivated by financial gain, the project is not free to make. Espen and Frank Olaf are looking for partners and beneficial sponsors. “We are looking for a partner that can help us finance the next step in development. We can’t promise much in return, but styling and logo on the web page is a good trade off.” Says Espen Grønstad. If you have any knowledge of potential partners, we advise them to get in contact. For future development, they are looking at the possibility of integrating several types of competitions modules, creating integration with SkyDemon, AirNavPro etc for traffic awareness and professionalizing the system with an external gps for use in international championships, etc. The list is long and the potential is huge, but it needs some funding. “We are using an external company for APP development. Creoit.com has done a fantastic job and helped us a lot. They are extremely good at APP development, but if we want to move forward with our plans, we cannot expect everything to be done on charity.” Says Espen Grønstad.
Team Air Sports live Tracking
From left: Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen and Espen Grønstad with their Pipistrel Alpha Trainer (Photo: Anders Gundersen)
Air Sports Live Tracking
Air Sports Live Tracking is an online tracking platform for use in competition flying and social flying events. Use your cell phone as a tracker for leisure flying or competition! It was founded by Espen Grønstad and Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen in 2021.
Local competition in Bergen, where the excitement on ground is following the finale! (Photo: Espen Grønstad)
NEW AIR RACE COMPETITION TASK
Welcome to an introduction of a new TV-friendly task in competition flying. This is a teaser for the upcoming Norwegian championship in 2022. The video shows a suggestion of the new Air Race task using Air Sports Live Tracking together with the live broadcast of the Norwegian championship in 2021. The competition was broadcasted by NRK. Overall, this video shows what is possible to achieve when the air sport collaborates with the media. THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN APPROVED BY NRK, FOR THIS INTRODUCTION PURPOSE.
Join us for Precision Flying, Air Navigation Race and Pilot Poker Run in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – We Fly Together!
TUTORIAL - SELF REGISTRATION COMPETITION
Air Sports Live Tracking gives you live tracking and live scoring of competitions in Precision Flying and Air Navigation Racing. GA pilot? We also provide an open GA flight tracking service. Using your mobile as a tracker you can follow it live on airsports.no. WWW.AIRSPORTS.NO