FlightGear Newsletter October 2009

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Welcome to the fourth edition of the FlightGear Newsletter. This is by far the largest yet - many thanks to all the contributors!

As can be seen from the Community News section, there is lots going on from FS Weekend to an ever-expanding group of Virtual Airlines.

What's new in CVS

Navigation Systems Overhaul

James committed some large changes to the route manager and generic GPS code this month, aimed at making the code able to support modern GPS and FMS systems, with the option of supporting historical systems (such as INS) as well. The user-visible part of these changes is the updated GUI dialogs, especially the completely new GPS dialog, which lets you easily find and navigate to waypoints. Internally the code has been changed to be more reliable, more configurable, and to support future developments. Current work is focused on adding support for routing using airways, SIDs and STARs, and flying approaches.

The new code is designed to be generic, and make it easy for aircraft and cockpit developers to simulate real-world devices in their panels. Volunteers to create reusable navigation instruments (or update existing ones) are welcome!

Further Cloud Improvements

New 3D cloud texture

Vadym Kukhtin has provided some new textures for the 3D clouds, which really make the sky look photo-realistic. Heiko Schulz has made some superb screenshots showing off the new textures with the Rafale: here, here and here.

Sounds System Overhaul

Erik Hofman has been completely reworking the sound system, a very substantial task. Once this has been completed, we should be able to hear sounds from AI/MP aircraft, as well as having much more realistic placements of sounds, doppler effect etc.

JSBSim Changes

Dave Culp created a priority system with the JSBSim fuel tanks allowing simple modeling of complex fuel systems. He also committed a change to the jet engine start simulation, so now the starter key must be held down until sufficient RPM is built up. Ron Jensen submitted yet another change to the piston engine model making the throttle response more linear and improving the performance of the super charger code.

In the hangar

The frantic pace of FG aircraft development continues, with 3 variants of the popular Boeing 737 and a 727 in various stages of development. At the other end of the scale, the popular Diamond Katana is now in CVS.

737-900ER beta

XSaint, kyokoyama (alphaMedia), JcHND and others released a beta version of the Boeing 737-900ER. This aircraft isn't in CVS (yet) but is available from the forums here. This aircraft is a great example of collaboration within the community, and I'm sure will continue to develop at a hectic pace, and eventually make it to CVS.

737-100 and 727-230 in CVS

Emmanuel Baranger aka Helijah is making a wonderful model of a Boeing 737-100. It includes a 3d-cockpit, stairs, tyre-smoke and pushback. The real aircraft was developed together with German Lufthansa AG, but only 30 were built. Those without CVS can download the latest model here.

Heiko Schulz is making a model of the 727-230, another nice aircraft of the same decade like the 737-100. It is currently in development, but already flyable in CVS. It will also include a 3d-cockpit, tyre-smoke and pushback. When the autopilot will be finished, the Sim-pilots have to fly here like in the old days: No GPS, no FMS, no Autothrottle! Time in which flying really was flying!

Updated 737-300

The 737-series is very attractive to many users and developers, and in particular the ubiquitous 737-300, which is used all over the world. The 737-300 model in 1.9.1 wasn't shaped right- the fuelage was to long, but not wide enough, the wingspan of a 737-100, and the complete model was floating above the ground, wings not textured.

This has been fixed now using free available data from Boeing and some modelling pages. Unfortunately liveries made for the old model won't fit anymore. It wasn't possible as the old model hadn't got the right shape. :-(

But it is possible to convert with a bit work the old liveries, and making better ones new, as there is a paint-kit included. And some other nice features have now been added:

  • pushback
  • tyre smoke
  • lights

There is no 3d-cockpit yet, but the chances are better than ever to get one.

Diamond D20 Katana

Ron Jensen aka Jentron and Helijah made a wonderful model of the single-engine Diamond DA20-C1 GA, which is produced in Canada and is already quite common in Europe and North America. An extremely realistic JSBsim fdm is in the works!

Scenery Corner

From New York state, Long Island and Staten Island have been submitted for inclusion in the repository.

Also, for those with TerraSync, the state of Hawaii has been re-digitzed with more accurate data, asn is now available

Pilots in Asia: the airport of Manila, Philippines (RPLL) is actually in redesign. Terminal 1 and 2, the Tower and many shared models are available now via TerraSync. All new models are illuminated so that the approach at night will give a complete new impression. Terminal 3 and Cargo Area are work in progress and will be added in near future.

Community News

FS Weekend

The FS Weekend is the largest flight simulator event in the world. Each year it takes place at the first or second weekend of November, this years event is held at 7 and 8 November. The event is held in the Aviodrome musuem, located at Lelystad Airport, the Netherlands. Since 2006 FlightGear has been represented each year, by a small team of enthusiastics, and this year will be no exception. If you like to join the team or if you happen to be around, write an email to the mailinglist. Of course you may also show up at the show without prior notice.

Thanks to Durk, who organizes the FlightGear booth, five FlightGear instances will be presented and if everything goes well, each of them running a triple screen setup. Some of them will have professional style controls and instruments. This is definitely the place to be for everybody interested in FlightGear and flight simulation!

Those who can't make it there in person, can still take part on MP, as part of a virtual historic aircraft fly-in at EHAM. Details can be found here.

ADC Contests enters the FG Community?

This year, alphaMedia proposed an extension of the prestegious ADC Contests into the developing community of FlightGear. The ADC is a contest to create the best 3D aircraft models in the general internet, with almost 600 models included in the two years it has been held. Starting as a simple contest in SketchUp, the ADC has become the second largest regular-basis modeling contest on Google and become the parent project of |Skynet International. AM is currently negotiating the extension with the developers of the new Boeing 737 creators. More information can be found below:

(Skynet Virtual is currently being renamed to Skynet International.)

Liam's Hangar

737 in S7 livery

The previous flightgearliveries.co.cc (aka Liams hangar) is no longer, It has now been switched to Flightgearliveries.ning.com, using a different server as well as being more user friendly and having a much improved appearance. It now features more simple-to-use pages, and is now FlightGears devoted Airline repaint resource, unlike UnitedFreeWorld which is for scenery, and military aircraft- and a whole lot more. However all is submitted to unitedfreeworld as well. Users also have the ability to join this new site and post on the main page, add their pictures to the gallery; etc. You can also follow the progress of work on Ibiza airport scenery, on the scenery page. I hope you will find this little hangar useful and hope it attracts new members to our community. With the recent release of the Airbus A320, Work going ahead on the 737-900ER, Etc;- This site is expected to expand dramatically with Airliner repaints- and I hope to draw a small crowd.

Virtual Airline News

Coastal Air Systems, with its seemingly endless continue growth in expansion, creates its own Board of Directors. Late in the evening on October 15, 2009, the head of the virtual company sent emails congratulating the first 5 members on the newly formed Board of Directors. Each person in CAS' Board of Directors has specific duties that will ultimately help Coastal Air Systems function and become better oriented into serving, promoting, and expanding the Flight Gear community. Truthfully not every new member of the BoD for CAS knew that they were involved in the selection. Yes, being a little embarrassed, that includes me. However, not only me but I am sure the rest of the newly selected members are proud of the announcement. This is Wookierabbit, and I will keep you posted on the most updated details throughout the month in this small section.

New partner airlines and a resurrection of a well-respected airline also occured this month. Aurelen Europe Airlines became Euroair, Skynet International and America National launched with route extensions to CAS operations, and Americair Airlines was started again by Danielkang, who for some reason, started about three airlines in the past two months. Sky Alliance, a sister organization to the FG Star Alliance has also started, showing that the multiplayer airline community is steadily growing.

Euroair

Euroair is the new name for Aurélen European airlines, Flightgears only All-European airline. The site is brand new and hopes to draw a huge crowd for Flightgear. More information is available on the site.

Addons

Airport Diagram Generator

KSFO Airport Diagram generated from ADG

Ever wondered how pilots know what exit to take on the runway, how to get from the gate to the runway and how the tower can tell them what route to follow? Well, they use maps, like you and I use in daily life when we need to find an adress. Instead of streetnames, the run- and taxiways have numbers and a letter of the alphabet (eg. 28L, S1).

The Airport Diagram Generator is a Java application capable of generating airport diagrams using FlightGear data only. These diagrams are GNU GPL and can be used for all kinds of purposes whether you are ATCing or flying. The diagrams contain a schematic layout of the airport (taxiways and runways), (ILS) frequencies, navaids and so on.

Useful links

Budd Davisson is a long time aviation journalist in the USA. His website includes a huge archive of pilot reports from lots of different aircraft, many of which are modeled in FG. It's a great resource for those wanting to get an impression of what flying the real aircraft is like, and also often contains useful information on how to actually fly them.

And finally....

Curt has started a "FGFS contributor of the month t-shirt" competition, aiming to identify the most significant contributor to the FG project each month, with a prize of a great FG T-shirt designed by Torsten's wife. This is a really great opportunity to recognize some of the people who have put in the hard work that makes FG as great as it is. Vote on the forum here. We will of course report the winner in the next newsletter.