The overriding challenge is, of course, to actually complete a successful Atlantic Crossing by air using the jet- wing.
There are a large number of complexities and obstacles to be overcome for it to succeed – not least being circumstances beyond the control of the company or the Challenger – in other words, the elements of Nature.
But, both Webtel.mobi and the Challenger share the same view of what comprises success. It is the view of both that the essence of the Challenge is not primarily completing it, but rather being ready, willing and able to attempt it.
It is not through easy acts, or without perseverance through setbacks, that any significant advance in any business or other arena has been achieved. The company believes that success comes from the application of determined and focussed perseverance in the face of difficulty – especially if success is not achieved on the first attempt.
However, without the first attempt nothing more can follow, and nothing can be achieved. The most important step in any event or development is the first one that starts the journey to the end.
So, while the Challenge is approached with complete and thorough focus, planning and dedication, the end result is yet uncertain. If it was easy to do, or if the end result was guaranteed, it would not be a Challenge and neither the company nor the Challenger would be doing it.
It is precisely because it is difficult and hard – and because the end result is by no means certain – that it is a Challenge worth attempting.
1. Wind & Weather
Among the challenges in flight are winds and weather. Not for nothing is the area in the vicinity of the Landing Zone known as the “wind surfing capital of the world”.
The area is unique in geographic and meteorological terms. The close proximity of the two Continents of Africa and Spain – as well as the meeting of the deep North Atlantic Ocean with the shallow Mediterranean Sea – has created in the area of The Challenge Zone what some climatologists describe as “a topographic bowl with only one exit”.
That exit is directly through The Challenge Zone.
The narrowing of the distance between the two Continents creates a “Venturi Effect” which sees the winds blowing from the high pressure areas of the Mediterranean into the lower pressure areas of the North Atlantic being compressed, and accelerating to extremely high speeds. These are known as “Levanter” winds.
The winds in the area can also change direction without notice – suddenly switching from East to West. The winds also blow in opposite directions – at the same time – at different heights, with only relatively small differences in height separating the directional flows.
In order to have the most accurate and reliable forecasts and information on these weather events prior to, and during, The Challenge, Webtel.mobi has appointed Meteo France, one of the world leaders in meteorological forecasting, as its Metereological Consultants. Meteo France will be providing weekly, daily and as the event draws near, hourly forecasts on the conditions in and around The Challenge Zone.
2. The Broadcast
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean and linking the continents requires a major feat of technology, planning and courage combined. But the challenge of broadcasting this live, across the entire planet, is just as complex.
The broadcasting challenge is to film the event live, as it happens and distribute it, in real time, via satellite to TV broadcasters and for a live internet webcast, accessible from every country in the world – as well as to provide Video News Releases to more than 500 Television stations post-Rehearsal and post-Challenge.
The filming will be done on the ground and in the air by high definition TV cameras. These will be both hand-held (with suitable stabilized lenses) and mounted on the helicopters (fully gyro-stabilized).
Radio frequency (RF) signals from these various cameras and video sources will be beamed up to a relay in the Cineflex camera helicopter, and from there to the transmitter aircraft above the air fleet as it crosses from Morocco to Spain.
These signals will, in turn, be fed back down to a receiving and mixing satellite truck at the Landing Zone, and from the satellite truck the signal will be sent to Eutelsat and to BT Tower, for free downlinking or patching by any broadcaster, as well as live internet streaming to an international webcast.
Two Video News Releases (VNRs) will also be produced by Associated Press Television News (APTN) for free worldwide distribution via APTN’s Global Video Wire distribution service.
The internet webcast will be downlinked from the satellite, put through a distribution amplifier and encoded by a bank of server computers for distribution on to the 50,000 edge servers of Akamai Technologies situated across the world, for delivery to the Webtel.mobi site for live viewing.
Although the Webtel.mobi Intercontinental Challenge will be of comparatively short duration (in terms of the time the Challenger is in the air), the logistical support for the Challenge has been a major undertaking.
It has required planning and implementing synchronized activities with in-depth support and functions, in dozens of countries, in different languages, with diverse companies and teams of personnel, across a widely varying range of disciplines.
However, as the principles for planning, management and implementation of worldwide borderless communication using multinational and international personnel, services and equipment are the same whether the communication is for the Webtel.mobi telecommunications product or a global and multilingual broadcast of a major international event, the management of Webtel.mobi have been able to manage these requirements without undue difficulty.
4. Media Assistance
Webtel.mob has arranged that any interested broadcasters may pick up the live feed of the event, either via the Eutelsat or via the BT Tower in London.
Video News Releases (VNRs) will also be distributed using both live feed from The Challenge, as well as edited VNRs sent out post-Rehearsal and post-Event. These will be sent out via the APTN Global Video Distribution network.
On the ground, at the Landing Zone, Webtel.mobi has arranged for a static studio-quality camera to be available for a number of hours after the completion of the Challenge, to enable journalists to conduct interviews. This camera will also be linked live to Eutelsat and the BT Tower. This camera is available for live interviews to members of the media who attend the event and may not have a full camera crew with them, or who may not have access to satellite time.
Other than this, as much information as possible has been provided on the event website to provide members of the media who are unable to attend with the maximum possible information.
A section has also been set up on the event website, where high resolution stills images may be downloaded by members of the media free of charge, with the only requirement being to acknowledge Webtel.mobi and the photographer in the picture credits.
A team of media liaison staffers will be on hand throughout the Challenge to assist members of the media.
Members of the media will also be provided with details of the contact people in Morocco and Spain whom they need to contact to obtain the necessary permissions for filming. In addition, Webtel.mobi has negotiated special flight rates with Royal Air Maroc, and is providing details of travel agents (independent from Webtel.mobi) who will be able to assist with travel planning.