FlightGear Newsletter June 2011

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Welcome to the FlightGear Newsletter!
Please help us write the next edition!
Enjoy reading the latest edition!


We would like to emphasize that the monthly newsletter can not live without the contributions of FlightGear users and developers. Everyone with a wiki account (free to register) can edit the newsletter and every contribution is welcome. So if you know about any FlightGear related projects such as for example updated scenery or aircraft, please do feel invited to add such news to the newsletter.

Development news

On June 17th, FlightGear development entered a "feature-freeze" state for the upcoming 2.4.0 release scheduled for release on August, 17th 2011. Those of you that run the development version of FlightGear (Git) are requested to go bug hunting and report issues at the bug tracker.

Please refer to the release plan for details on the rest of the release-process.

New projects

Martin and Torsten started a project to convert a real Cessna 172 (1978 F172N to be precise) into a static simulator for presentation at LinuxTag and FSweekend. FlightGear, still just outside

The first step was a ferry-flight piloted by Martin to get the aircraft closer to its final destination where the conversion will take place. Some images of the arrival at the small airstrip of EDHW (Wahlstedt, Germany) can be found here.

New tools and tutorials

Howto receive (and verify) the fgdata bundle

People with a weak Internet connection may encounter broken Git downloads which forces them to re-download all again. You can download the fgdata.bundle file (3.3 GByte as of 07/01/2011) as one big file with any downloader tool (partial downloads are supported) and extract a local repository from it. This allows you to do "git pull" as usual. There is also a tutorial available on how to verify the download.

In the hangar

  • The lightmap has been extended by a "factor property". Aircraft authors can now bind the intensity of a lightmap to a property (eg. /controls/lighting/panel-norm), making the lighting more vivid. Read more in the lightmap howto.
  • JSBSim welcomed a new feature this month. Setting the (/fdm/jsbsim/)propulsion/tank[n]/external-flow-rate-pps property will either draw fuel from, or insert fuel into the respective tank. This allows one to simulate complex fuel systems, relatively easy. See Howto: Write a fuel system in JSBSim for a guide on writing such systems.

New aircraft

Bombardier CRJ700 series

The Bombardier CRJ700 series is a family of 70- to 100- seat regional jet airliners manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace. Its primary competition is the Embraer E-jet series. The family consists of the Bombardier CRJ700, CRJ900, and CRJ1000. The CRJ700 series was developed from the Bombardier CRJ200, and remains one of the most popular regional airliner series in the world.

It is currently in early production (pre-stable) and may have flaws here and there, bug reports are warmly welcomed! (Development thread)

Updated aircraft

Bf-109 G14

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 now has a bump- and specmapped 3D model, a revised FDM and an improved 3D cockpit with functional controls. Apart from that, the logo selection system has been added, along with some new liveries. The throttle now sets the desired manifold pressure and maintains it, even with changing altitude.

Note to livery makers: the external textures have been consolidated into one file for easier maintenance.

Improved cockpit  
New liveries  
Bump- and specmapped  

Boeing 747-400

Thanks to a report at the FlightGear forum, Gijs found out that there was a (eternal) fuel-leak in the 744's fuel system. This was quite a problem for long-haul flight lovers, as it severely limited the aircraft's range.

Now that system is rewritten (making use of the new JSBSim function that you can read more about earlier on in this newsletter) the fuel leak is closed! This does not only please long-haul flyers, it affects every pilot, because weight balancing is much better now.

The aircraft also got some updates for its autopilot and all masses have been checked and (if needed) moved around. By doing so, the center of gravity moved a lot, leading to more realistic flight charecteristics.

IAR-80

In anticipation of the new release, the IAR 80 has been subjected to a revision of its YASim FDM, as well as many cosmetic improvements.

The appearance of the details of the bump- and specmap effect has been much improved by switching to .dds files for textures. This also brings a slight increase in performance, as well as lower loading times.

Animations and particle effects are now made visible over multiplayer.

IAR-80 over water  
Ready for startup  
Wing detail  

Instruments

James started to work on extending navigation display (ND) functionality, which is important for many modern glass cockpits. A prototype version derived from the existing weather-radar instrument was created, and based on this a more complete, style-able version is being created which will appear in Git once the tree opens for new development. The instrument can display route, waypoint, navaid and traffic data, using symbols supplied by the panel developer, and with control over text labels and colors. The goal is to be able to approximate most real-world displays of this type closely, but not necessarily supporting every feature!

Longer term, James hopes to integrate the existing weather-radar instrument with the current environment code, and to create a similar instrument modelling the EGPWS terrain display layer, which can be selected in many navigation displays.

Liveries

Livery Database Stats.png

Slightly more than three months after its 400th contribution, the livery database welcomed its 500th livery on June 29! As of that date:

  • 58 authors contributed liveries for
  • 62 aircraft, based on
  • 277 airlines, airforces and other aircraft operators

Growth is remarkably constant as you can see in the graph on the right. If it continues like this we'll double every 12 mounths. You can help us by sending in your liveries! Contributions are accepted at the contribute page.

Scenery corner

Skyline of Dubai

Dubai skyline.png

Gijs started modeling one of the highest, fastest changing and most interesting skylines in the world: Dubai's. The former village in the desert is nowadays home to the tallest structure in the world, the largest shopping mall and it has more supertall skyscrapers than any other city. A perfect city to discover by C172p, or one of the helis. With a great deal of challenging landing spots for the latter vehicles.

So far little over 20 buildings have been modeled, some of which are currently untextured and low-poly. Nevertheless they help give you the right Dubai-feel! All the buildings are available through TerraSync

Community news

FlightGear on YouTube

  • A nice video (even though the pilot didn't pay much attention to his altitude) of a Tu-154B flying by Christ the Redemeer in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
  • A video uploaded by xsaint showing a preview of the Sukhoi Superjet in development in Flightgear for Cresdernixrof Virtual Airways.
  • A video uploaded by Omega showing a 737 landing in Schiphol for the weekly stunt competition.

The channel flightgearUK has been set up on YouTube by Liam, and will soon feature tutorials, video reviews and promotional videos of high quality to show the latest and best features in FlightGear.

It is hard currently to find any high quality videos of FlightGear (with the exception of Oscar and Skyop's channels of course), especially with the most modern features, crisp graphics and based primarily on Civil aviation - which other mainstream Flight Sim users seem to do well. It is a personal ambition for the channel to greatly improve the popularity of the sim through various media, including audio reviews, Git update insights, tutorials, etc. Few videos have been added as yet and no reviews or anything other than test videos. But it's already worth to check out the channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/flightgearuk.

Comment, rate and subscribe. And get our sim more popular!

FlightGear on Facebook

Started in December, the FlightGear group at Facebook welcomed its 4000th member in mid June!

The forum is still the place to be when you're looking for support; the facebook page should be seen as a way to provide a periodic dose of what's new, cool or fun in FlightGear.

Multiplayer events

The Flightgear Rotor Club is kicking off its 2nd multiplayer event on July 2, 2011. This month's event is a Combat Search and Rescue scenario, which involves going deep behind enemy lines into Laotian territory to rescue two downed airmen.

See the forum topic for more information about the event.


BRT Virtual Airlines is proudly announcing that there will be an event!

  • When: Saturday July 2nd 2011
  • Where: Frankfurt am Main Airport (EDDF)
  • What time: New York- 9:00 AM , UK & Portugal- 14:00, Berlin- 15:00, Ukraine- 16:00, Russia - 17:00 , Dehli- 19:30 , Singapore - 21:00
  • What: An event. We will be flying from EDDF to EDDK . And Having Fun :)
  • Who: Virtual Star Alliance, BRT Virtual Airlines, Creder Nixrof Airlines, Merlion Virtual Airlines and Many More!

We recommend FGCom and hope to see you there! We're still looking for air traffic controllers; feel free to apply for that job.

More info at http://www.brtvirtualairlines.com and the forum post.

And finally ...

Don't do this at home folks

Tempest bomb-test

Contributing

One of the regular thoughts expressed on the FlightGear forums is "I'd like to contribute but I don't know how to program, and I don't have the time". Unfortunately, there is a common mis-conception that contributing requires programming and lots of free time. In fact, there are a huge range of ways to contribute to the project without needing to write code or spending days working on something.

For ideas on starting to contribute to FlightGear, you may want to check out: Volunteer.

Call for volunteers

  • The OpenRadar project is looking for a new maintainer.
  • The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.