paragliding detection system
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paragliding detection system

paragliding system

How to build a Heltec or TTGO Airwhere

This page will help you build a form of AirWhere you can add to a Kobo - there is just only a few wires to solder onto the main board for the kobo to work with GPS and AirWhere. this is the easiest full install of the Kobo as the Lora board is integrated into the Heltec or TTGO, we would recommend using the version without the screen as its not required and cheaper.

Required Knowledge & Equipment

The install and setup procedure just requires basic computer knowledge, how to download files, very simple soldering procedure, install software and make a brew while you wait.

Hardware needed is a Kobo, a GPS, 3 wires, Usb OTG Cable, micro usb cable and a usb battery pack. Step One.

Firstly before you start you will need to register an ID for your unit.

1.1           Proceed to the registration page and type in your email and choose a password and press sign up.
You will then receive an email asking you to confirm your email address, if you dont receive one, check spam to see if its there or any other issues - contact us.
1.2 Once you have verified your email proceed to log in and then press add aircraft and add your details
Your AirWhere manufacturer should stay at 04 and you can choose an ID for yourself, its 4 digits from 0001 to FFFF, but dont worry about the letters, just choose a 4 digit number if you like - eg 2345.
This will now be your flying number.

1.3 If you wish to have pilots names appear in LK8000 or XCSoar instead of just the pilots numbers
Navigate to the downloads section in the site and at the bottom there is a file to add to LK or XCS when you have installed it. See the downloads page for instructions

Step Two.

Hardware needed is :
  • Kobo
  • ESP32 combined LORA( heltec or TTGO )
  • GPS or Bluefly
  • RF Solutions Lora Board
  • LEDS
  • 330 Ohm Resistors
  • 5000Mah battery
  • Case
  • Velcro for case base
  • Zener diode
  • Nuts and Bolts for case and switch 2mm
  • HT7833 Voltage Regulator
  • Switch
  • Lanyard
  • SMA Connector
  • 868Mhz Antenna
  • Wires & Heatshrink
This all depends on your build, have a look around the site and check out the various other builds, info and images to get to understand the project.

Step Three.

Once the purchased hardware arrives you will need to install the windows / mac drivers to be able to ‘see’ the board and then install the AirWhere software onto it.

3.1            Load this page and then download the relevant driver for windows and install.

3.2 Extract the zip file to a folder and then run the correct executable in the file.
If your on 32 bit windows, run the exe with 86 in it and if your on a 64 bit windows run the 64 version. Your version can be found in windows device manager.

3.3 Now you should be able to get a micro usb cable and plug your AirWhere board in..
Windows should say its found the hardware and that is now working.

3.4 Open windows device manager (control panel – device manager). Find ‘Ports’ you should see a new port there, perhaps com3 or com4 which is your new board.Take a note of this number you will need this in the next step.

Step Four.

Programming Files:

4.1            Create a new folder on your PC.
Name the folder but DO NOT allow any spaces between letters.
4.2 You will need to download into this folder 4 files:
  • ESPFlasherGUI.exe from =
    This is the flasher program you will be using (Windows only, for the Mac see this page)

    The next three files are available either on the AirWhere down loads page or you may find them under files on the Airwhere-ESP32_Pilots Only page on facebook.

  • Bootloader called bootloader.bin
  • Partition called default.bin
  • Application currently called AirWhereESP32.bin

  • This may change so check facebook for the live version or for the latest unstable version AirwhereESP32Dev.bin
    Please make sure there are NO spaces in any of the file names and the directory it is in, this will create an issue.
4.3 Plug the ESP32 into a microUSB and into a USB port on your computer.
The OLED may say Heltic and then start counting packets it is transmitting. Ignore this and carry on.
4.4 Double click on the ESPFlasherGUI.exe file and link the Bootloader, Partition and Application files.
4.5 Select and check the COM port (you checked device manager for this number before)
For example COM11 (even though the correct port may appear in the box you MUST click on the drop down and reselect it or the download will fail).
4.6 Select the memory size 4MB.
4.7 Finally press FLASH and immediately after press the PRG on the board once.
The card will start to write the data, takes about 9s. You may find the programme terminates with a message that says it is rebooting and a flashing light on the ESP32 board. Ok this has probably worked. ( We have seen the buttons on the ESP32 board marked up incorrectly, so if you try one button and it fails with "cant find packet head" or similar, just try the other button, some need it held until the flashing process starts and then let go. )
4.8 Now check to see if you can see the AirWhere ESP32 board on your wifi settings.

Step Five.

So now you have a working ESP32 board with the AirWhere program.
5.1            Search for the new device in your wifi settings and connect to it..
You will be asked for default password 12345678. ( this password could have been changed when the unit was built so check with the builder.)
5.2            Now type in your web browser.
If you are using an android phone please switch your data off, android will try look for airwhere on the internet and the connection will take a long time.

You will now see a page titled AirWhere ESP32. This is the configuration page.

5.3            Then use the Configure Pilot Info button to enter your details, enter the ID you registered in step one. .
When you press ‘Submit’ the device will try to return to the home page but remember you have just renamed it’s identity from what it was originally to say a new Access point with your new ID; so you need to:
5.4            Reconnect this wifi device then refresh

5.5            Click ‘Pilot Info’, input your pilot details, your Wifi SSID and Password..
This will allow you to upgrade the software via your Wifi connection.
5.6            When you’ve completed the settings press submit.
The unit will restart so go back to the home page again once its started.
5.7            Press ‘Configure Hardware’ and under ‘Radio board’ select ‘Heltec Board’. ( Or TTGO board if your building a version with that board,
the other choices depend on what you are building and have attached.
5.8            Select in flight software either LK8000 - Kobo or LK8000 - Kobo.
(as we want to connect to you already made kobo in this version).
5.9            In connection mode choose OTG/Serial Mode ( GPS attached to ESP32). Again press submit and reconnect to home page..
Sometimes this take a couple of mins, if it hangs, refresh your browser You should now be back on the home page for your device. If the page times out, just refresh and it will appear again. sdadsadsa
Step Six.

7.1            Follow the wiring diagram to setup the AirWhere board.
a breadboard can be used to temporarily check the system works ok, however soldering gives a better joint.


The battery can be connected to the TP2 jumper on the kobo, this will enable charge and to be able to use both batteries, while its not good practise to connect 2 different capacities of battery together, we have a very small current transfer and this seems to be ok. If this is an issue for you just unplug the kobo main battery and then wire the 5000mah battery direct in.

Step Seven.

Now we proceed onto configuring the Kobo.


i        Connect to the AirWhere home page by connecting to its wifi and going to

ii        Click Configure Hardware. Then under ‘Flight Software’ choose ‘XCSoar - Kobo’ and click ‘Submit’. The board will restart..

iii        First you need to install the Kobo software - choose LK8000 or XCSoar and navigate to their respective websites and download what you like to use, there is a dual boot version available if you wish to run both on your kobo to try them both out.

iv        There are several websites regarding this procedure if you search the web for this, however please first update your kobo by wifi or by downloading the kobo desktop software off the kobo website, make sure your kobo is up to date first, without this procedure your kobo may crash. Once you have updated, plug the kobo into the USB on your pc and then it should create a new drive, navigate to ths drive and copy the flight software you have chosen to the directory called .kobo , once this has completed, unplug the kobo and it will restart and install the software for you.

v        Now take your OTG usb lead and plus it into the a usb battery supply, then into the kobo, the remaining plug into the AirWhere unit. the AirWhere screen should start once more and show some information.
vi        LK8000 now requires configuring to let it see the AirWhere unit. If you proceed to the menu system, bottom right menu, config, config, LK8000 setup, Device Setup. Now add these details in the first Device, device A.

Name : Generic
Port : /dev/ttymcx0
Ext. Sound : On
BaudRate : 115200 8bit

vii        Press close.and then a line saying restarting comm ports will come on screen, then detected FLARM, this shows your system is working. When your kobo gets a GPS lock, the T: value on the airwhere board will start increasing, this shows your system is sending out your location.
viii        Press the middle of the bottom info bar and the FLARM screens will come up, check the airwhere video sections for usage.
Hint - to see traffic on the main map, go to ‘config’ and on page 13 at the bottom ‘enable traffic’.


i        Connect to the AirWhere home page by connecting to its wifi and going to

ii        Click Configure Hardware. Then under ‘Flight Software’ choose ‘XCSoar - Kobo’ and under ‘Connection mode’ click ‘Submit’. The board will restart..

iii        Load XCSoar.

iv        Double click on the plane icon at the bottom and bring up the menu. Click ‘Config’ and click.

iv        Edit Device A:-

Port : /dev/ttymcx0
Baud Rate : 115200
Driver : Generic.
iv        XCsoar should now be picking up data and a gpslock, T: numbers should be increasing on the AirWhere board and thats it!

Step Eight (Optional).

One of the main things thats missing from the Kobo is sounds, we can now, for the price of a piezo buzzer very simply add these.

7.1        Purchase a piezo buzzer - we do have a really good buzzer available, contact us, however any will do, but you might want to get a decent one to increase the volume. We will have more info regarding this aswell soon, please check back
7.2        Make sure the kobo and the esp32 board are unplugged and away from the battery pack.
7.3        Attach the piezo to the esp32 by connecting the black wire to the pin on the AirWhere board marked GND, one of the outer pins on the board and then the red wire to the pin marked 32.
7.4        Power the Kobo up once more and plug the AirWhere module in. when you now perform actions on LK8000 there should be sounds coming out of the buzzer!

Step Nine (Optional).

i            First purchase a GY-86 board, these shouldnt be too expensive, we have them on the shop site if your finding it difficult to find - also make sure you have a speaker attached - we need sounds for the vario ;)
ii            Add a small piece of black tape or neoprene to the top of the tiny pressure sensor on top of the gy86 but be careful not to cover the sensor holes, the pressure sensor is effected by light so we need to keep it in the dark so its stable.
iii            Follow the wiring diagram to setup the vario board.
a breadboard can be used to temporarily check the system works ok, however soldering gives a better joint.

ESP32GY-86 board

iv            To configure LK8000 or XCSoar to use data from this sensor, please change the device driver to be BlueFly Vario we will have our own driver soon but for now please use this, using this driver gives you barometric height and therefore a correct climb visual climbrate, also outside air temperature, this can be setup up in config

The board now needs housing in a case and a way of securing to your flight deck, we do have cases available, so please contact

Please if you do build an AirWhere in this way, as it is so cheap and easy to do please do donate a contribution to the project, the project has taken 2 years and thousands of hours of work to get to here and we have to pay for server fees - many thanks. Our paypal is for any donations to keep this project alive :)

Have fun with the project!

paragliding  system

paragliding detection system