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FlightGear Newsletter February 2012

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{{draft|newsletter|Feel free to contribute! Or [[FlightGear Newsletter January 2012|read the latest edition]].}}
== FlightGear 2.6.0 released ==
Following our [[release plan]], version 2.6.0 of our simulator has been released! This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Major improvements from v2.4.0 include reduced AI aircraft load times, easier graphics tuning, more sophisticated AI aircraft and improved usability. Please check the [[changelog 2http://www.6flightgear.org/news/flightgear-v2-6-0]-released/ release announcement] for a complete overview of what has changed since our last release 6 months ago.
== Development news ==Downloads are available [http://www.flightgear.org/download/ from our website].
At the moment, we do not yet have sufficient community feedback from people running FG 2.6.0 - your help in updating the wiki would be appreciated. Please see [[Hardware Recommendations]] and [[Notebooks known to run FlightGear#FlightGear_2.6.0_systems|Notebooks for FlightGear 2.6.0]].
== Development news ==
=== Heads up: Project Rembrandt ===
As many of you may have heard already, Fred is currently making huge progress on adding shadows to FlightGear in [[Project Rembrandt]]. Now, F-JJTH ported the P92 to use the new system and posted a youtube video demonstrating [[Project Rembrandt]] at work. To provide feedback, please check out the the [http://flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&{{forum link|t=14883 |text=forum thread]}}.
|{{#ev:youtube|v02phoOqWHE|400||Project Rembrandt at work}}
|[[File:Project-rembrandt-cockpit-lighting.png|600px|Cockpit lighting in Project Rembrandt at work (by F-JJTH)]]
== Interview with a contributor (Christian Schmitt) ==
''In each edition we have an interview with a contributor. Suggestions for possible questions are available on [[interview questions]], you are invited to come up with new questions and interview ideas obviously! Anyone is free to write an interview (with him-/herself or others) for next month's newsletter! If you'd like to help interview a contributor or get interviewed, please do consider adding yourself to the [[list of interview volunteers]]! To keep this going and less awkward, we are currently trying to come up with the convention that former interviewees become next month's interviewers.''
'''[http://www.flightgear.org/contributors/ Read this and previous interviews at our website's archive].''' * '''What is your forum/IRC nickname?'''
Surprise: it's papillon81. Yes, I'm that guy :)
* '''How long have you been involved in FlightGear?'''
Acording to my mail correspondence it must have been in 2007/2008 when I became an active part. I was unsatisfied with the state of EDDF in the FG scenery (no buildings, lightpoles everywhere), so I teamed up with a guy who had already started some work there. I ended up creating all of the terminal buildings and improving the airport layout. In those days, not many pilots were flying there. This changed in the months afterwards, which was a big boost of motivation, too.
* '''What are your major interests in FlightGear?'''
My main interest is clearly the scenery and technology connected with it, like GIS. I started to create some custom scenery, like Helgoland, and after I was granted direct access to the mapserver database, I was able to proxy-commit other peoples work, that started to come in. IMHO, the best FDM or aircraft models are useless if you don't have a nice place to fly, takeoff and land :) So this area is what motivates me the most.
* What project are you working on right now?
Some months ago I was fed up of FG being unable to read apt.dat 850 data. So I started digging into the terragear code. Having no experience with C++, it was a steep learning curve, but to my own surprise I was able to convert the original TG parser to read the runway data and other features from the new format files. I started to implement as many features I was able to. Luckily, Pete was already working on the taxiways and surface features. So we teamed up and eventually merged our work together. Since then it has become a really great project to learn and improve FG along the way for me. I hope it will be put into use for the next scenery version. Before that can happen, we need more testers and bug reports (hint! hint! hint!) :)
I do also maintain the Gentoo packages (ebuilds) for the GIT versions of FG, SG and TerraGear. All these can be found in the Gentoo Gamerlay repo.* '''What project are you working on right now?'''Some months ago I was fed up of FG being unable to read apt.dat 850 data. So I started digging into the terragear code. Having no experience with C++, it was a steep learning curve, but to my own surprise I was able to convert the original TG parser to read the runway data and other features from the new format files. I started to implement as many features I was able to. Luckily, Pete was already working on the taxiways and surface features. So we teamed up and eventually merged our work together. Since then it has become a really great project to learn and improve FG along the way for me. I hope it will be put into use for the next scenery version. Before that can happen, we need more testers and bug reports (hint! hint! hint!) :)* '''What do you plan on doing in the future?'''
I will continue to work on Terragear, commit some improvements to the Concorde (my favorite plane in FG) and take care of merge requests. I'd also like to dive more into the FG/SG code and do some adjustments here and there. We'll see what else the future might bring :)
* '''Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?'''
I'm actually very happy with it. The improvements from 2 years ago up to now are breathtaking. Sometimes it is just amazing what features people start to work on, like Project Rembrandt right now. Also, the work that went into the weather and shader system recently is amazing.
* '''What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?'''
The fact that we support each other and have a strong community with many very capable people from completely different backgrounds. Knowing that you can build on the work of others and that there is a helping hand in case of problems. Personally I like the FG IRC channel a lot.
* '''What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?'''
They should first of all have some experience with FG in general, meaning, they should have used the program for some time. We often have people asking questions that they could answer for themselves just by USING FG a bit with different aircraft for a bit longer than just a day or so. If they identify an area where they want to start developing, they should get in contact with the maintainer(s) and seek advice before investing many hours of work.
More questions are being collected here: [[Interview questions]]. Stay tuned for next month's interview, featuring FlightGear contributor XXXXXXXX == Snapshot releases ==Every now and then, easy-to-install development snapshots are created (usually, twice montlhy). These snapshots depict a recent state of the development version of FlightGear. By using them users can test out features that will be included in the upcoming release. Testers are encouraged to file bugs at ''[http://code.google.com/p/flightgear-bugs/ the issue tracker]. The snapshot can be downloaded via the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.flightgear.org/downloadcontributors/. Updates Read this and feedback can be found [http://flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=10488&p=144233&hilit=snapshot#p144233 previous interviews at the forumour website's archive]. == Nasal for newbies == == New software tools and projects == == FlightGear addons and mods =='''
== In the hangar ==
All the way back in May 2011, we addopted a new status-rating system for aircraft. So far, only a few have actually been rated, as can be seen in on the list 'hockenberry' set up at [httpshttp://docswww.googleflightgear.comorg/spreadsheetdownload/ccc?key=0ApzphjA4w05ndF94Y2F0bzJTbHQ5QTJXZXJRcUVRbWc&hl=en_US Google Docsaircraft-v2-6/ aircraft download page]. If you're an aircraft developer and your aircraft is/are not on the list, please consider rating their status. All you'll need to know/do is described at [[Formalizing Aircraft Status]]. If you'd just like to get started contributing to FlightGear, this would also seem like an excellent way to get started.
=== A new instrument: Vertical Situation Display ===
This was done entirely in scripting space using Nasal and XML animations. He's basically proven everbody wrong who ever claimed that complex instruments couldn't yet be created in scripting space. Apparently, he managed to create this instrument in less than 24 hrs. His first question related to this was about accessing trigonometric functions from Nasal, shortly thereafter he posted screen shots depicting his VSD.
To read up on the whole discussion, please see [http://flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=30&{{forum link|t=15200 |text=the forum topic]}}. There's work ongoing to turn his project into a new tutorial for the wiki on creating complex instruments in scripting space: [[Howto: Implement a Vertical Situation Display in Nasal]].
=== Glider winch launching ropes ===
* '''Parachute''' so the cable doesn't drop too quickly after releasing.
* '''Launch cable''' the longest part; all the way to the winch.
=== New aircraft ===
==== Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Commanche ====
[[Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Commanche]] was started as a [[Bounty/RAH-66 Comanche|bounty]] by sgofferj and developed by pjedvaj but I later withdraw from the bounty. This was my first helicopter project and FDM development is curently in stub (RAH-66 is using adapted FDM from Tatsuhiro Nishioka's [[Kawasaki OH-1]]). It has a detailed 3D model, animations and two liveries used to present different variants of RAH-66. Helicopter has a working XM301 cannon controled controlled by joystick and basic weight control for armament in internal bays. AFCS includes SAS, CAS and Auto Hover. You're free to continue the development to fully claim the bounty.
=== Updated aircraft ===
==== Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner ====
[[File:boeing-787-8-splash.png|thumb|200px|The Boeing 787-8 Splash Screen]]
The [[Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner ]] has already been there in FlightGear for a very long time -it has been in the FG official hangar since version 1.0. However, it was created while the 787 was still a prototype aircraft; it did not correctly show many of the 787's actual features like a realistic glass cockpit and accurate instruments.
The new/updated Boeing 787-8 is a community project that features new JSBSim flight dynamics, Vertical Navigation, a realistic 787 glass cockpit, new CDUs, Electronic Flight Bags, TCAS, advanced Nav Displays, [[Howto:_Implement_a_Vertical_Situation_Display_in_NasalImplement a Vertical Situation Display in Nasal|Vertical Situation Display]], [[Howto:_Implement_a_Fly_Implement a Fly-By-Wire_System_for_AirlinersWire System for Airliners|Fly-by-wire]] and a lot of other neat features. It has not exactly been completed and the project is still running.
You can find out more about the Boeing 787-8 Project HERE or wait for a while till a in [[Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|its wiki page is created for itarticle]]. One of the really good points of this project is how most of our findings and resources have been converted into Wiki HowTos wiki howtos for other aircraft developers to use for their projects.
==== Cessna 337G Skymaster ====
The new cockpit is now totally modelled, almost buttons and knobs are functional, animated, and properly labeled for easy identification.
New custom sounds, lights, controls, a Bendix/King avionics pack capable of full IFR and night navigation, 2 new HQ liveries and the first FlightGear's working [[ELT]] (Emergency Locator Transmitter]] (ELT) are part of this great improvement on a FlightGear aircraft. === Liveries ===
== Scenery corner ==
In addition to this, the materials.xml and materials-dds.xml files have been restructured to make them more maintainable, fixing a number of bugs in the process.
=== Shanghai Skylines: FGFlightGear's New new (not-so-)Hidden Gem hidden gem ===Shanghai is one of the biggest city in China and is among the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers -this is now also true for FlightGear.25 models were created over the past few months by JVC, who also modeled the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan and the United Nations building in New York.
|[[File:SH fgfs-screen-001.png|250px|thumb|A view of the Shanghai skyline]]
=== New textures for container ship and freighter AI models ===
Starting from a hi-res panorama that he made, user Cristian Marchi (aka penta) provided new skins for the two AI ships that populates seas in flightgear. More info on the [http://www.flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&{{forum link|t=14856 |text=forum thread]}}.
|[[File:Ships-comparison.png|200px|thumb|left|Comparison between untextured and textured AI ships (by Cristian Marchi)]]
In order to be able to load the photographic scenery into flightgear, the program has to be compiled from source and the patch developed by Benoît Laniel for the Brest photographic scenery has to be applied. Step-by-step [http://fgphotoscenery.square7.ch#installation installation instructions] for this process are provided.
Discussions about fgphotoscenery take place this [http://www.flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&{{forum link|t=15174 |text=forum thread]}}.
=== Airports ===
== Aircraft of the month ==
The [[File:Boeing-787-8-splash.png|right|350px|link=Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner]] has seen lots of improvements recently, as you can read elsewhere in this newsletter. Therefore it's February's "Aircraft of the month".{{#ev:youtube|WlzEoCsJvz4|400||Aircraft of the Month - Boeing 787-8}}
== Airport of the month ==
[[Landivisiau Naval Air Base|Base d'aéronautique navale de Landivisiau]] (LFRJ) is set in the middle of some amazing scenery. Anyone that wants to try [[VFR]] flight should start here in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretagne Bretagne], France. Memorise the scenery, the churches, the power lines, map them and find your way back easy. It's amazing (Look at all the objects [http://mapserver.flightgear.org/map/?lon=-3.60041&lat=48.27884&zoom=9&layers=B000000TFFFTFFFTFTFFFFF here])! The airfield is home to aircraft that belong on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Naval_Aviation seas] that is why you will see two arresting cables over the runway, don't trip over them. The airfield also holds helicopters such as the former Super Frelon and Westland Lynx, a perfect perfectly modelled tower, the warehouses and all the shelters to protect the Rafale and the SEM attack aircraft.
== Screenshot of the month ==
[[File: Lightfield-1.1-14.jpg | 800px]]
A P-51D flying at 20.000 ft over Juneau (Alaska) at dawn using lightfield shaders to render the sunrise (see [http://www.flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&{{forum link|t=14755 |text=here] }} for the shader package for download).
== Suggested flights ==
*More places you can visit can be found at [[Suggested Flights]].
== Aircraft reviews ==
== Wiki updates ==
Please keep the following things in mind when uploading images:
* Give the file a descriptive name. That'll make it easier for others to find your file and use it in articles.
* Categorize your image right when you upload it. That saves others from digging up uncatigorized uncategorized images later on. Placing your image in a category is as simple as adding the following line to the "description" field:
: <code><nowiki>[[Category:Name of the category]]</nowiki></code>
: A list of available categories can be found under [[:Category:Images]].
=== Feature icons ===
Michat has designed small logos for Airport of the Month, Screenshot of the Month, Aircraft of the Month, [[Dual Control]], [[Bombable]], [[Soaring]], [[Howto:_Do_aerotow_over_the_net|Aerotow]], [[Howto:_Aerial_refueling|Air refueling]] and [[:Category:Aerospace|Aerospace]] aircraft, allowing you to see at a glance which aircraft has some of those interesting features.
[[File:Dualcontrolready2Dualcontrolready.png|Dual_control]] [[File:BombableReady.png|Bombable]] [[File:Aerotowready.png|Doing aerotow over the net]] [[File:Thermalready.png|Soaring]] [[File:Spacetripready.png|Aerospace]][[File:Aircraftofthemonth.png|IAR80]] [[File:Airrefuelingready.png]] [[File:Airportofthemonth.png]] [[File:Screenshotofthemonth.png]]. ===New articles===<DynamicArticleList> type=new count=10</DynamicArticleList>===New aircraft articles===<DynamicArticleList> type=new count=10 categoryRoot=Aircraft</DynamicArticleList>===Most popular newsletters===<DynamicArticleList> type=hot count=5 categoryRoot=FlightGear Newsletter</DynamicArticleList>
== Community news ==
=== FlightGear on FSBreak ===
Two of FlightGear's developers, Stuart and Curt were interviewed on one of this month's episodes of [http://www.fsbreak.net FSBreak], recorded on 25th February. FSBreak is a flight simulator podcast that discusses recent flight sim developments and reviews. The hosts, Eric and Brendan, spent almost an hour taking about the project with Curt and Stuart. While most of the content won't be new to readers of this newsletter, it was a great way to promote FlightGear 2.6.0 to the wider flight simulation community. (At time of writing  You can watch the new episode (at [http://www.fsbreak.net/podcast/2012/3/2/fsbreak-107) had still to be published)-we-talk-flightgear-and-accufeel-released.html this link].
=== FlightGear on YouTube ===
* [http://youtu.be/-yI5PzC5RE8 Sukhoi 37 'The russian dream'] by Águilas de FlightGear performing "Balalaika amok" master tune by Aleksei Arkhipovsky.
=== New tutorials and screencasts ===
=== Forum news ===
Triggered by the new release, we've had more [http://flightgear.org/forums {{forum link|text=forum] }} visitors then ever before in the week of 19-25 February! 17,123 people visited the forum in these seven days to be precise. When looking at "unique visitors", only 13-19 February 2011 was a bussier busier week (9548 against 9076 visitors) (a possible reason for the high number might be that people expected 2.2.0 to be released, which was canceled). === Multiplayer ====== Virtual airlines ====== FlightGear events ===
== Useful links ==
== And finally ... ==
=== Contributing ===

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