Live Tracking

Live Tracking is a remarkable feature for paragliding pilots with regards to situation awareness as well as to enhance and maintain safer skies. In the following sections our preferred service for live tracking - SafeSky - and the integration into our vario apps will be focused.  Using live tracking enables you as pilot to make more informed decision based on remote information while enabling others to see you and with that following a see and avoid strategy during flight.  See how SafeSky and theFlightVario team up to integrate in flight traffic information.

SafeSky And Paragliding

To our understanding SafeSky is the most complete traffic information system available for integration in a vario app today, enabling pilots to anonymously share their position in flight and receiving the position of other pilots in return. This way paragliders using specific equipment like FLARM or FANET can actually be seen by pilots who are not using this type of equipment. It is an affordable solution enabling pilots and aircrafts to BE SEEN and to SEE each other in the air. This helps to improve situation awareness and can act as an extra margin of safety!

live tracking paragliders and hang gliders via Safe Sky in theFlightVario's  XC Vario app

How SafeSky Works

The relevant information for paragliding pilots can be briefly summarized as follows:

SafeSky Services aggregate information from different sources relevant in paragliding like (but not limited to) the Open Glider Network (OGN) as well as FLARM and FANET which are both frequently used by commercial varios and ADS-B

The technology is extremely lightweight in terms of data so that even weak cell signals or limited connection is sufficient to exchange or update location data. With SafeSky this traffic information will be visible in theFlightVario’s XC Vario starting now.

Technical Details from SafeSky can be found here

Starting Livetracking

After successful registration (link)  theFlightVario will be ready for live tracking. Currently two modes exist:

Especially while flying, the connection status of the network becomes relevant. There are three status.

These status are indicated in a respectively colored Wifi Symbol on the vario app's main screen.

Enabling SafeSky

Upon first enablement or in case you deleted your SafeSky account you will be requested to sign in to be registered as a user in the SafeSky network.

Go to the Feature Selection by hitting the Settings Button on the main Screen. Select Safe Sky. Sign In. Upon successful registration you will have associated to your account

Currently no separate distinction between Hang Gliders and Paragliders exists.

Updating SafeSky

Go to detailed settings, change call sign as wished and click Update. Use this to be easily distinguished by other pilots, paragliding buddies or your friends and family.

Deleting SafeSky

In case you really don’t want to, simply hit ‘Delete’. Just be aware that using a shared medium, the air we are all flying in’ sharing really means caring by letting others pilots know where you are. This can be an extra margin of safety at basically no cost.

Data Usage With SafeSky

Note: This is more technical information for the interested reader.

theFlightVario vario app uses UDP as transmission protocol as provided by SafeSky. UDP is a connectionless protocol with a few advantages when it comes to live tracking.  UDP will be faster and there is less overhead sent which makes the packages sent much smaller as opposed to using connection oriented protocols like TCP.

Small Packets Sent Frequently

Since packet sizes are very small, the chance of these smaller packets getting to the receiver is on average higher and sending multiple packets at higher update rates will result in more reliable location information while keeping data usage low. To make the story complete, UDP packets are not guaranteed to reach receivers. In practice this is less critical as it sounds due to the fact that multiple small UDP packets are sent and in this case TCP most likely will face problems initiating a connection at all. UDP can be seen as a bandwith efficient means of transporting small chunks of data on low performing networks using mobile devices - perfect match for an vario app with livetracking capabilities like theFlightvario!