1. General

Top Pilots aims at bringing traditional championships to every pilot and simmer. Therefore, its rules are inspired by non-virtual and virtual championships such as FAI Flying Precision Championships or FFVP Series & eSeries

The following rules apply for the competition Top Pilots Edition 2021 category Precision

1.1 Description & Objectives of the e-Championships

Top Pilots is a competition of simulation flying inspired by precision flying competition and e-driving competition.

This competition, opened to all pilots and simmers, is a remote competition with some events (finals) that can take place in physical location.

This competition is based on the flight simulation software Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 used with Top Pilots Precision additional software.

The objectives of the e-Championships are:

  • To democratize precision flying for all pilots and sim-flyers
  • To promote world-wide expansion of sim-flying and precision flying among pilots, simmers and mass public.
  • To foster friendship, co-operation and exchange of information among pilots and simmers of all nations;
  • To encourage the development of safe operational procedures, good sportsmanship, and fairness in piloting and distinguished the most precise and safe e-pilot.x

1.2 Top Pilots Officials

Top Pilots competition is directed by a competition director. The Competition Director is in charge of the definition and organization of the missions and in charge of the definition of the notation. Top Pilots competition Director is in charge of mission briefings. Top Pilots competition director is in charge of announcing winners and qualified competitors at each stage. Top Pilots competition director is in charge of Top Pilots rules application and can penalize a competitor for not binding by the rules.

In case of complaints, competitors must refer to the Director. If the issue can not be settle easily, the competitor must submit a formal complaint to the competition Director who will make his final decision and formally communicate it to the competitor by email.

1.3 Stages

The competition is divided on several phases. Some phases are open to any competitors, others are reserved for competitors that had successfully passed previous phases.

Each stage is described hereunder for the Top Pilots 2021 Category Precision eChampionships

1.3.1 Training Stage

Date: July 15th 12:00PM (GMT+2) – September 24th 2021 11:59PM (GMT+2)

The Training Stage is open to all competitors duly enrolled in the competition

The Training Stage is exclusively online and remotely held

The Traning Stage is made of 3 Missions that are accessible to all competitors to train during the whole duration of the Stage.

Each mission can be attempted an unlimited amount of times

It is not mandatory to attempt any of the 3 missions of the Training Stage to be qualified for the rest of the competition.

1.3.2 Open Stage

Date: September 25th 08:00AM (GMT+2) – October 3rd 2021 11:59PM (GMT+2)

The Open Stage is opened to all competitors duly enrolled in the competition

The Open Stage is exclusively online and remotely held

The Open Stage is made of 1 Mission accessible to all competitors to compete during the whole duration of the Stage.

This mission can be attempted an unlimited amount of times

It is mandatory for every competitor to attempt and register a score at least once during the defined period of time. Competitors that do not register a score during the allowed period of time will be automatically graded with the score 0 and will not be qualified for the following stage.

The 50 Pilots with the best score on the stage qualify for the following stage of the competition. Qualified pilots will be announced by Top Pilots Director and published on Top Pilots website. Qualified pilots will be notified by email.

In case of joint, the pilot with less penalties will outrank the other. If the joint remains, the pilot with less registered attempts will outrank the other.

1.3.3 Qualification Stage

Date: October 16th 2021 00:00AM – 11:59 PM (GMT+2)

The Qualification Stage is only opened to the 50 qualified pilots who have succeed in the Open Stage.

The Qualification Stage is exclusively online and remotely held

The Qualification Stage is made of 3 Missions accessible to all 50 qualified competitors during the whole duration of the Stage.

Each mission can only be attempted 3 times.

It is mandatory for every competitor to attempt and register a score at least once on each mission during the defined period of time. If a competitor does not register a score for each mission of the qualification stage, a score of 0 will be applied on the un-attempted mission.

The 12 Pilots with the best overall score on the stage (average score of the 3 Missions) will be qualified for the following stage. Qualified pilots will be announced by Top Pilots competition Director and published on Top Pilots website. Qualified pilots will be notified by email.

In case of joint, the pilot with less penalties will outrank the other. If the joint remains, the pilot with less registered attempts will outrank the other.

1.3.4 Finalist preparation stage

Date : October 17th – November 5th 2021

The Finalist preparation Stage is only opened to the 12 pilots who have succeeded in Qualification Stage. It is not a qualification stage.

It is mandatory for the qualified pilot to take part to events planned during this stage.

During the Finalist preparation stage, qualified pilots will be trained by their coach to perform better during the final stage. Training will be mostly online but pilots can be asked to attend physically held events.

During finalist preparation stage, finalists will be mediatize and properly agree with that.

1.3.5 Final Stage

Date: November 6th – November 7th 2021

The Final Stage is only opened to pilots who have succeeded in Qualification Stage

The Final Stage is physically held in France. The exact location will be communicated to qualified pilots no later than a month before the event take place. All qualified pilots must attend physically to the event or face disqualification. Qualified competitors for the Finals shall therefore expect to travel accordingly at their own costs if necessary.

The Final Stage is made of 5 Missions accessible to qualified competitors one after the other. A briefing will be held by the Director before each mission.

The 5th mission is a specific mission with a higher coefficient than the others (see 5. Scoring & Penalites)

It is mandatory for every competitor to attempt and register at least one score on every mission.

Competitors that do not register a score on a mission are disqualified.

Each mission can only be attempted once and according the competition planning

4 ranking categories will be announced on this final stage :

  • Top Pilots based on best overall performance (overall score),
  • Top Lander based on overall landing score,
  • Top Achiever based on overall mission score
  • and Top Spotter based on overall observation score.

In case of joint, the pilot with less penalties will outrank the other. If the joint remains, an additional mission can be used to decide the winner.

2. Competitors

2.1 Competitor criteria

Any pilot or simmer can enter the competition.

There is no limitation for entries regarding nationality, gender, or physical requirements. Disabled competitors can enter the competition

The minimal age for entering the competition is 12 year old. There is no maximal age to enter the competition.

For minor competitors (under 18 years old), a parental consent must be transmitted to the competition director

No previous flying or flight simulation experience is required.

The Finals will be located in France in France at a place defined by Top Pilots. . Qualified competitors will be advised about the exact place no later than a month before the event takes place. The physical attendance is mandatory for qualified competitors. Qualified competitors for the Finals shall therefore expect to travel accordingly at their own costs if necessary

The PEGI of MSFS2020 is 3

2.2 Entries

Application for entry shall be accepted only if sent before the deadline, on the official entry form. Incomplete entry forms or those containing inaccurate information shall not be accepted.

When registering for the Top Pilots competition, competitors must register their personal details accurately, including their nationality. Competitors qualified for the Finals will be required to provide a proof of identity to attend the event. Competitors are not allowed to register for more than one profile within Top Pilots. Competitors found to have more than one profile will be disqualified..

Entries are free of charge.

After the close of registration, no change of pilots shall be permitted.

The deadline for entries is the closing day of the Open phase at 11:59PM GMT+2. The Opening phase ends on October the 3rd for Top Pilots 2021 Category Precision.

Entry is validated when the three conditions are met:

  • The official entry form is completed by the competitor before the deadline
  • The competitor registers at least one try on the Open Mission during the Open Phase
  • The competitor duly signs and returns to the Director the Terms & Conditions document of Top Pilots 2021 Category Precision before the deadline
  • For minors , the parental consent and copies of ID card from the competitor and his legal guardian must be sent to director@top-pilots.com

2.3 Code of conduct

During Top Pilots competition, competitors must conduct themselves in a reasonable manner, maintaining a friendly and polite demeanor to spectators, members of the press, other competitors, Top Pilots employees… At Finals or real-world events, competitors shall handle any equipment provided by Top Pilots with proper care, and in compliance with any written instructions.

Top Pilots may disqualify a competitor or may reduce or remove a prize in the case of misconduct or refusal to comply with any reasonable request.

2.4 Media and data rights

By participating in Top Pilots competition, competitors automatically grant Top Pilots, its founding partners and their sponsors, the right in perpetuity to record and use, at their discretion all data – excluding competitor personal data – issued from the competition and related to their participation at the competition without compensation. Collected data, excluding personal data, may be used during 5 years for research purposes

By participating in Top Pilots competition, competitors automatically grant Top Pilots, its founding partners and their sponsors, the right in perpetuity to make, use and show, from time to time at their discretion, any motion pictures and live, taped or filmed television and other reproductions of the competitor during the period of the competition without compensation.

Competitors may also be asked to be available for interviews and media conferences.

By participating in Top Pilots competition, competitors automatically grant Top Pilots, its founding partners and their sponsors, the right to use their real name and headshot (as provided by the player) for use across communications and media in relation to the Top Pilots competition.

3. Technical requirements

3.1 Simulator and equipment

The Top-Pilots Precision Challenge will be run on the PC version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

A PC running Microsoft Windows 10 capable of running Flight Simulator is therefore required:

Minimum configuration:

  • CPU: Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 770 or AMD Radeon RX 570
  • VRAM: 2Gb
  • VRAM: 2Gb
  • HDD: 200 Gb of free space
  • Internet connection: 5Mb/s

Recommended configuration :

  • CPU : Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 590
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM 16 Gb
  • HDD: 200 Gb of free space
  • Internet connection: 20Mb/s

All aircraft used in the Top-Pilots missions are from the standard version of FS2020, so the deluxe or premium version is not mandatory.

For precision flying, it is also recommended to be equipped with adequate flight devices (minimum configuration recommended: a stick or yoke and a throttle command).

3.2 Voice-triggered events

Some missions in the Top-Pilots challenge have voice-triggered events (to mark a position or trigger an action). It is possible to test the vocal command before the beggining of each mission.

A microphone connected to the PC running Flight Simulator 2020 is required to use these voice command. If the competitor does not have a microphone or does not wish to use voice command, it is possible to trigger these commands using a manual alternative command.

Manually triggering a voice command event, is done by triggering the “TOGGLE LOGO LIGHT” command in MSFS2020. To do this, in the Flight Simulator input configuration menu, associate the “TOGGLE LOGO LIGHT” command with the key of your choice.

3.3 Displays and VR

The minimum configuration for Top Pilots competition is 1 display screen or monitor.

It is recommended and allowed to use several screen set-ups or VR (Virtual Reality) set-ups to perform Top Pilots Precision Mission.

3.4 Compete and run a mission

All missions of Top Pilots Precision are played using the software Top Pilots Precision.

A mission must be run with an internet connexion

A mission is considered run from the moment the competitor launch a mission clicking on Start

A mission ends if:

  • There is a crash
  • Auto Pilot is activated or weather conditions are manually changed
  • The competitor clicks on Terminate Mission
  • The internet connection is lost
  • The competitor completes the mission and lands to a complete stop

4. Missions

4.1 Briefing

Each mission comes with it’s own briefing. It is highly recommended to do it before the flight, as it gives crucial information like mission purpose, charts, aircraft speed and flight zones.

4.2 Flight

To perform a mission you have to use the information given in the briefing. However, additional information may be given during the flight, through ATC or small “tips” messages.

The missions aim to be realistic and follow the VFR (Visual Flight Rules) guidlines.

Therefore, penalties will be applied if the pilot put himself into these following situations :

  • Cloud flying and IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions)
  • Unauthorised aerobatics (stall, spin…)
  • Flying outside the geographical flight zone

Penalties are detailed in the 5.7 section.

The following situations will result in a game over :

  • VNE* exceeded
  • Collisions with the ground as well as with any vehicule, tree, airplane or any obstacle.
  • The use of the autopilot
  • Loss of internet connection

*Velocity Never Exceed

A game over leads to a global score of 0 for the mission run.

4.3 Debriefing

After each flight, recorded flight data are accessible on www.top-pilots.com in your personal space. It is highly recommended that each pilot analyses his flight data to improve his rank.

5. Scoring & Penalties

5.1 Definition

Scoring of each phase are taken into account for this phase only. Previous score do not impact score for following phases.

For instance: the pilot who came first in the open stage doesn’t have any advantage or advanced points for the following phase

A score is computed for each run on a mission. The lowest score is 0, the highest 100.

5.1.1 Notations criterions

Several criterions are evaluated during each mission. 3 scores will be computed at the end of each mission:

  • Observation score
  • Landing score
  • Mission score
  • Penalties will be applied in case of hazardous comportment, cheating or infringement of air legislation

The overall score on a mission is made by the average of the 3 scores (landing, observation, mission) from which will be substracted penalties if needed. Each score is weighted the same in the overall score.

Here under can be found the formula used to calculate the score on every mission:

$$score = \frac{score_{observation} + score_{mission} + score_{landing}}{3} – penalties$$

The higher a score is, the better it is. The highest score on a mission is 100, the lowest is 0.

5.2 Ranking

As Top Pilots promotes equality between all pilots and simmers, there is no gender or nations or age based ranking.

However several rankings are made in order to foster excellence on several aspects:

  • Overall ranking : Top Pilot
  • Category ranking:
    • Top Lander
    • Top Spotter
    • Top Achiever

In case of a joint, the score with less penalties will outrank the other score.

5.2.1 Overall ranking

If a mission can be performed several time (training phase and Open phase), the best performance of the pilot will be retained for the ranking.

An overall ranking is established at the end of each phase: Training, Open, Selection, Finals

For the phases with only one mission to perform (Open phase for instance), the ranking is made top down from the score of each competitor to the mission.

For the phases with several missions, the ranking is made top down with the average score of each competitor on each mission. If a competitor does not register any score on a mission for several mission phase, the competitor scores 0 points for this mission

$$score_{overall} = \frac{\sum_{i=1}^{nb mission} score_i}{nb mission}$$

For the Finals the overall score and ranking will be made based on the average score made during each mission. A multiplication factor of two is applied on the category score of the final mission of the Finals

Here under is detailed the calculation of the overall score on the 5 missions of the Finals

$$score_{overall} = \frac{\sum_{i=1}^{4} score_i + 2*score_{final}}6$$

5.2.2 Category ranking

3 additional rankings, based on each criteria will be made:

  • Top Lander: best performance on Landing criteria
  • Top Spotter: best performance on Observation criteria
  • Top Achiever: best performance on Mission criteria

This category ranking are indicative for training and qualification rounds but will lead to specific awards at the end of the final round.

Each category ranking is based on either landing score (Top Lander), observation score (Top Spotter) or mission score (Top Achiever).

For the Finals the overall category score and ranking will be made based on the average score made on the criteria during each mission. A multiplication factor of two is applied on the category score of the final mission of the Finals

Here under is detailed the calculation of the Top Lander score for the finals:

$$score_{Top Lander} = \frac{\sum_{i=1}^{4} score^{landing}{i} + 2*score^{landing}{final}}6$$

5.3 Scoring Landing – Top Lander

Scoring Landing is based on three different criteria :

  • Flare : flare score is inversely proportionnal to vertical speed during the first touchdown.
  • Distance : distance score is inversely proportionnal to distance between the first touchdown and the center of the target.
  • Lateral deviation : lateral deviation score is based on the max deviation between the center of mass of the airplane and the runway centerline during all the deceleration phase (between first touchdown and complete stop).

$$score_{landing} = \frac{1}3 (score_{flare} + score_{distance} + score_{lateral deviation})$$

If multiple landings are performed, the landing score is the mean of all them.

If rebounds occur, 10 points for each are substracted to the landing note.

In case of Go Around :

  • if the go around occurs before touchdown : nothing happens
  • if the go around occurs after touchdown : this landing gets a 0 score. Then the landing score is the mean of all landings performed.

5.4 Scoring Observation – Top Spotter

In all Top-Pilots missions, the pilot is asked to find an object, a place, a traffic, an airfield or a building. The observation score is based on the time the pilot needs to search. The score is inversely proportionnal to the time used to find the object. Be careful, some objects are randomly placed to avoid any learning bias.

5.5 Scoring Mission – Top Achiever

In all Top-Pilots mission, the pilot is asked to realise a task. The mission score is based on the quality of completion of the task. The different tasks are :

  • Dropping score : the dropping score is the mean of the respect altitude score, the respect speed score and the distance to the dropzone.
    • The altitude-hold score is inversely proportionnal to any altitude deviation around the dropping altitude required in the briefing.
    • The speed-hold score is inversely proportionnal to any speed deviation around the dropping speed required in the briefing.
    • The distance to dropzone score is 100 if the drop is realized within the dropzone. If not, the score is inversely proportionnal to the distance between the drop and the dropzone limits.
    • If multiple drops are performed, the dropping score is the mean of all of them.

$$score_{dropping} = \frac{1}3 (score_{altitude-hold} + score_{speed-hold} + score_{distance-dropzone})$$

  • Vertical Tagging score : the vertical tagging score is inversely proportionnal to the 2D distance between the target and the 2D plane position when tagging is applied (Mainly by the vocal command “Three Two One TOP”).
  • Spiral Tagging score : the spiral tagging score is the mean of two scores :
    • The score of 2D distance between the target and the approach center position of the spiral performed by the plane. The spiral begins by the vocal command “Three Two One TOP” and stops when the heading accumulates 360°.
    • The score of altitude hold is inversely proportionnal to any deviation around the altitude of the beginning of the spiral during all the spiral.

$$score_{spiral-tagging} = \frac{1}2 (score_{center-deviation} + score_{altitude-hold})$$

  • Patrol scoring :
    • Patrol is activated with vocal command “Three Two One TOP”
    • The score increments when the plane is in patrol :
      • The longer the greater
      • The closer from the leader the greater
    • The plane is considered in patrol if three conditions are verified :
      • Distance between the leader and the plane
      • Bearing angle between the leader and the plane
      • Staging angle between the leader and the plane
    • The min and max value of each condition are specified in each mission

5.7 Penalties and disqualification

The scoring implements automatically penalties in case of hazardous behaviour, dangerous situation or cheating.

Offences not covered by the automatic scoring may be penalised at Top Pilots’ Chief pilot discretion. Top Pilots’ Chief pilot can impose penalties in case of infrigement or patent cheating of a competitor. These penalties can range from simple warning to disqualification.

All penalties shall be added to the score after they have been notified and calculated.

All penalties shall be expressed before publication of the mission score.

The following table lists most of penalties applied:

  • Stall
  • Out of VMC* minima : entry in cloud
  • Out of allowed area

*Visual Meteorological Conditions

6. Complaints & Protests

6.1 Complaints

The purpose of a complaint is to obtain a correction without the need to make a formal protest. At any time during the Top Pilots e-championships, a complaint may be send by a competitor to the Competition Director

The message must be written in english and addressed to director@top-pilots.com

Such complaint shall be dealt with expeditiously.

6.2 Protests

Protests may not be filed against Top Pilots championships’ Rules.

When dissatisfied with a penalty or the decision on a complaint made during Top Pilots, a competitor has the right to protest to the Competition Director.

  • Such a protest shall be made by message written in English, and shall contain the following elements:
    • It shall refer to the decision, against which the protest is lodged
    • It shall include reasons for the protest, and
    • It shall state the remedy sought by the protest
  • A Protest shall be handed to the Top Pilots’ Competition Director by the competitor after the publication of the decision against which the protest is made but before the next phase of the competition (or within 1 hour after this publication if the protest regards a ruling made during the Finals)
  • The protest will be transmitted to the Competition Director in english and addressed to director@top-pilots.com.
  • The Competition Director shall give his decision in writing by email to the competitor within 48 hours (or as soon as possible during the Finals) of receiving the full protest.
  • The protestant is bound to the decision of the Competition Director.

7. Prizes

Each of the 50 pilots who have qualified after the Open Phase will receive a dotation.

Each of the 12 pilots who have qualified for the Finals after the Qualification Stage will receive a dotation. 1st pilot of each category (Top Lander, Top Spotter and Top Achiever) of the Qualification Stage will receive a dotation.

Top 3 pilots of the Final Stage and 1st pilot on each category (Top Lander, Top Spotter and Top Achiever) of the Final Stage will receive a dotation.

All dotations are in-kind dotation and cumulative. Dotations are complimentary and graciously provided by Top Pilots Founding Partners and partners. As an example dotations are (but not limited to): flight experiences with VIP pilots, flight simulation hardware, gift cards, flight simulation or aerospace magazines subscriptions…