Element Track:Race tutorial

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This section explains step-by-step how to use the Flytec Element to perform your best in competitions using the "Berga Invitational" as a step-by-step example. If this is your first comp, don't panic! Learning the ropes is not as complicated as it might seem, and we will make it as easy as possible. That way, all you need to focus on is flying the race.


We have summarised all the information on this page in a video tutorial on youtube, if you prefer watching to reading.

Prepare for the competition


You take the first step to success well before race day when you receive the waypoints file from your competition organiser and then import those waypoints into your Element. Typically, competition organisers will designate a large number of waypoints to give themselves flexibility when creating the competition tasks later. They will save the waypoints as a file, and then they will either email the waypoints file to you as part of your registration package or else make the waypoints file available for download on the competition website. In our example, you've downloaded the file from the Berga Invitational site and are dragging it into the folder “waypoints” which appeared on your computer once the Element was connected with the USB cable.

Next you click "eject," then disconnect the Element from the computer.

  • Loading competition waypoints onto the Element

Switch the Element on and use MENU > Waypoints > Import WP to add the waypoints to your stored waypoints list, as explained on the pages waypoints.

Note: the Element stores 350 waypoints. You may have to delete some waypoints from your Element's memory to clear enough space before importing your competition waypoints.

Task briefing

Your competition organisers will host a briefing during which they explain the day's "task". A task is just a route flown over designated waypoints, as fast as possible. There are several things that you need to pay attention to in order to give your Element the information it needs to guide you along the task.

  • Start time. The task will begin at a designated time called a start gate. Sometimes the task may specify multiple start gates, meaning you may start at one time, or ten minutes later, or ten minutes after that, for instance.
  • Start type. The task will begin as either an EXIT cylinder (more common) or as an ENTER cylinder (less common). If your start is an EXIT cylinder, then you must be inside the cylinder when the start gate opens and fly out of the cylinder to begin the task. If your start is an ENTER cylinder, you must be outside of the cylinder when the start gate opens and then fly into the cylinder to begin the task.
  • Waypoints. Which waypoints make up the task route, and in what order? Critically, what is the cylinder radius for each waypoint?
  • Goal. Is the task complete when you cross the cylinder of the final waypoint, or must you cross a goal line defined by the final waypoint? With this information you are ready to load the task into your Element. The Berga Invitational has briefed you on today's task:
  • The competition route

Entering the competition route

If you have a route already active on your Element, deactivate it. If you have a route already stored on your Element, erase it.

Now enter the task waypoints:

Press and hold MENU, then select Route. Press OK.
Select Edit. Press OK.
Press F1 to open the list of waypoints. Use the arrow keys to highlight T02. Press OK.
Use the arrow keys to enter 1000 m for the cylinder radius. Press OK.
Repeat for all required waypoints.
Press ESC to save the route and return to the Main Setup Menu.

Activating the competition route

Now you must activate the route. Note: selecting "yes" at the prompt "Enter start time" automatically activates the Element's competition mode. Warning: make sure your Element's time zone setting matches your competition location or you will not start the race on time.

Press and hold RTE. Confirm Route Start by pressing F2.
You will see the prompt Start time. Use the arrow keys to select yes. Press OK.
Use the arrow keys to enter 11 for the start time hours. Press OK.
Use the arrow keys to enter 30 for the start time minutes. Press OK.
Use the arrow keys to select 1 for the number of start gates. Press OK.
Use the arrow keys to choose EXIT cylinder. Press OK.

Flying the competition

Flying before the official start

You'll want to be in the air, jockeying for height and position, so that when the start gate opens you are as close to the starting line as you can be. The Element will help you get an optimal start. In the air, use the arrow keys to select Flight Information Display Page 7, which will indicate your position relative to the start cylinder as you wait for your start time.

  • Position relative to cylinder, and +/- start time
  • Speed required to reach the cylinder edge at start time
  • Distance to cylinder edge
  • Flight page 7

Pre-start Position Symbol

  • you are inside the start cylinder
  • ←you are outside the start cylinder

(Flashing if you are on the wrong side of the cylinder for a successful start.)

  • Start cylinder

Compass Rose: Before Start Gate Opens

If you are inside the start cylinder, the compass rose will show you your position within the cylinder, as well as the direction to the next waypoint. If you are outside of the start cylinder, the compass rose will point the way back inside.

  • Compass rose before start gate opens

The Element will give two separate notifications of a successful competition start:

  • First, a tone sounds when the countdown timer reaches 00:00:00, meaning that the competition has begun and the start gate is officially open.
  • Second, a Start OK message will appear and a tone will sound when you cross the start gate correctly.

Special note: Multiple start gates

If your competition specifies multiple start gates and you've input that information when setting the route in your Element, the device will assume you want to take the first start gate and watch for you to cross the start cylinder once the start time countdown reaches zero. If you wish to skip a start gate and use then next one, you must enter the route menu and re-select the first waypoint. Then the Element will reactivate the start cylinder and reset the start time countdown according to the start gate interval.

Flying after the official start

Once you cross the start cylinder, the Element will guide you through the waypoints just like it does during a normal navigation. At any time after the official start, use Flight Information Display Page 7 to see your elapsed race time, distance to goal and distance to the next waypoint along your task.

  • Position relative to cylinder, and +/- start time
  • Distance to goal (once started)
  • Distance to next waypoint

Crossing the goal line

The final glide to goal can make or break you in a competition. Be sure to use Flight Information Display Page 1 to judge if you have enough altitude to glide to goal. Page 1 shows you your current glide ratio along with the required glide ratio to reach the next waypoint at the saved waypoint altitude. If your L/D ratio is higher than required, you should reach goal. If you are under the required glide ratio, you need more altitude to reach goal. For more information about this display, see flight pages. It is also important to remember how your competition defines the goal. The Element will notify you that you have reached the final waypoint as soon as you cross the cylinder boundary defined by its radius—but that might not satisfy the task requirements! It is always best to fly straight for a minute or two after crossing the final cylinder boundary to ensure you cross the virtual goal line defined by the task.

  • Flight page 7
  • Flight page 1
  • Crossing the goal line

After the race

Scoring the task

Even if you are first across the goal, you can't win unless the judges can download and verify your tracklog. Bring your USB cable to the competition, and use it to connect to the scorer's computer. Drag and drop your winning IGC file onto their desktop. See you on the podium!

  • Downloading the track file for scoring

Note: Remember, in case of any accident where you or the judges accidentally delete your IGC file during the download, you can always manually export the flight and create another IGC file.