Competition Tutorial

XCTrack has full featured support for navigating in paragliding competition. The following short tutorial will show you how to use XCTrack for navigation in a competition task.

Before the first task

  1. Obtain the waypoint file: This file is provided by the competition organizer. XCTrack supports most waypoint file formats generally used. Just take the file the organizer provides you and put it into your XCTrack/Waypoints directory.
  2. Select the waypoint file in XCTrack: In most navigation screens (menu -> navigation), you have a waypoint icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Click it to enter the waypoint manager screen, select the FILES tab and select the file with competition waypoints.

Enter task into XCTrack

Task information

  1. Enter menu -> navigation and select Competition. If there is a navigation to waypoint selected, you will need to enter the navigation chooser first which can be done by clicking the navigation icon in the upper left corner.
  2. Clear the previous task by clicking the trash icon in the upper right corner
  3. On the EDIT tab, enter all the task properties as seen on the task board.
  4. Click Add turnpoint to enter the turnpoints screen and add all the turnpoints

Enter TAKEOFF, or not?

It does not matter if you enter the takeoff point or start your turnpoint list with the first turnpoint (usually SSS). First turnpoint if marked as TAKEOFF is never the target of navigation, but is used to correctly compute the task distance (see Distance check below). If you start editing the empty task (or clear the task) and already have the valid gps location available, XCTrack will automatically insert the nearest available turnpoint as the TAKEOFF turnpoint. You can specify the radius for the TAKEOFF turnpoint, but this radius is never used and even not displayed in the turnpoint list, unless you unmark the TAKEOFF flag (by Make this turnpoint SSS button).


SSS stands for Start of Speed Section. This is usually called start cylinder in PG comps, but XCTrack uses the SSS term just because it is easy to remember and short. ESS stands for End of Speed Section and is generally used in task briefings. ESS is the cylinder (unless it is identical with goal line), where your task clock stops.

EXIT type turnpoints?

Except for start turnpoint cylinder, XCTrack does not distinguish between ENTER and EXIT cylinders - you have to cross the cylinder boundary in order to make the turnpoint. This works very well for all the tasks ever seen in paragliding scene. For common enter turnpoints XCTrack navigates you inside the cylinder in order to make the turnpoint, for (rare) exit turnpoints the XCTrack navigates you the shortest way outside.

New waypoint on the task board!

It happens time to time that organizers need to put in the new waypoint for the task. In such a case, proceed with the following steps:
  1. on turnpoints screen click the waypoint icon in the upper right corner to enter the waypoint manager
  2. in waypoint manager, click the plus icon in the upper right corner and enter the name, coordinates and altitude for the new turnpoint
  3. go back to the turnpoints screen and you will see the new waypoint available in the dropdown list

Save battery?

Do not worry about quiting XCTrack if you wait on the takeoff too long. Once you leave the task edit screen in XCTrack, the task is saved and you can safely quit XCTrack or turn off the device right away. The task will be loaded and ready to fly once you start XCTrack again.

Distance check

After putting in the task, check the distances at the bottom of the EDIT screen with the task board. The min distance is the shortest distance calculated from the takeoff turnpoint all the way up to the goal line (or to the boundary of the goal cylinder if goal cylinder is used). If the TAKEOFF turnpoint is not specified then the distance is computed from your current location. The distance through centers is the task distance not counting in the turnpoint cylinders, useful as reference value for checking with simple instruments.

Sharing task

There are multiple ways to share a task with your fellow pilots on a competition.

Task navigation

Waiting at the start cylinder

On the default comp navigation page there is an useful widget called Time at start. There are two values: The value displayed is the amount of time you have to start gliding to the start cylinder from your actual position. Negative values mean you can wait for the defined time, positive values mean your are late. To compute the value, algorithm uses trim speed you have set when setting up XCTrack (you can change it in Preferences -> Glider - > Trim speed). Do not trust these values too much, because you should consider actual conditions, wind speed and also optimal place to start the task (which may be different from the start point optimized by XCTrack!).

Turnpoint navigation


Manual turnpoint switch in flight

If you ever want to switch turnpoint manually, do the following:
  1. Select the menu -> navigation option. This will take you on the competition task screen with the FLY tab activated.
  2. Click the turnpoint you want to switch
  3. Confirm the dialog that you really want to navigate to the selected turnpoint.

Glide to goal


Useful widgets


Task result

Curious about your result? Just select menu -> navigation option after landing and you will see how you did in the task - number of turnpoints or goal reached, your distance and time flown in the task.


Please read the following carefully and keep that in mind while flying competitions!

Measuring distance

XCTrack supports both FAI Sphere and WGS-84 ellipsoid for computing distances. Choose it in Perferences -> XC Disciplines and Competition -> Model of Earth. Most competitions nowadays seem to require WGS-84 model. The two formulas give slightly different results. Depending on your Earth location you can expect the difference of about ~0.5%, with FAI sphere formula giving bigger distance in usual competition venues. This is important to have in mind nowadays with large cylinders becoming popular in PG comps in recent years. On 50km cylinder radius the difference between FAI sphere formula and WGS-84 formula can be about 200-300m, which can very easily result in making the cylinder in XCTrack yet missing it in the view of the scoring software (!).
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