2020 LTS Keflavik news post draft

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This is a draft post where descriptions of improvements since FG 2018.3 LTS to aircraft and other features by developers is collected - along with suitable screenshots.

These descriptions of improvements are planned to be released as regular news updates on the flightgear.org homepage. The news updates are planned to be released a week apart.

If you are a developer, you can just hit the edit button and type a description. Knowledge of wiki syntax isn't needed for a simple draft.

The most important things are the points about what to write, and some screenshots. Don't worry if wording or English is not perfect, it can be adjusted later. URLs to screenshots can simply be pasted if you don't know how to upload, along with a note giving CC-BY-SA-4.0 permission.

James has said he is willing to review and update the homepage if material is submitted to the wiki, or otherwise handed over.

Screenshots: feel free to upload to the wiki, or just add the imgur link with a note saying permission is given for use under CC-BY-SA-4.0 for now.

  • The Screenshots at high settings category is a collection of existing /vaguely/ high settings screenshots made since 2017 already available on the wiki.
  • There may be some suitable screenshots in the SOTM section of the forum that have not been uploaded to the wiki yet.
  • It's possible to pause and turn up settings, if you normally have settings lower on an older laptop or similar.
  • Some of these screenshots may end up being used on flightsim.com (the editor has apparently reached out about trying to cover the last 2-3 years of FG)

Enhancements since 2019.1 include a developer preview of the upcoming Compositor graphical rendering framework as a separate pre-built binary, better aircraft carrier support, improvements to both the JSBSim and YASim flight dynamics models, better view options, more efficient and improved OpenStreetMap buildings and translation of the UI into Polish and Slovak. Here’s the complete list of changes.

Many aircraft have been updated, including major updates to the Boeing 777, Airbus A320, Antonov AN-24, F-16, Piper J3Cub, Saab JA37 Viggen, Piper PA28 Cherokee, Bombardier Q-400, Space Shuttle.

Submissions of drafts

Release post

Volcanic plume and Alouette III screenshot by Thorsten


[ Mention there is 2 years worth of improvements and updates which are too many for any one post? Mention lots updates over the last 2 years since the last LTS? Mention the person who normally does the updates got busy and a lot of progress missed receiving updates? Add sentence at end mentioning there will/may be upcoming dedicated posts about individual aircraft/features? ]

[ Intro screenshot: Screenshot of shuttle cockpit ]

Welcome to Keflavik and Iceland

Flightgear's 2020.3 LTS will move to the world's newest country, geologically speaking, Iceland.

Screenshot of Earthview over Iceland

Keflavík International Airport (BIKF) is the featured airport for the LTS. Buildings, roads, and objects such as pylons are available as a separate download [and will/may be added to Terrasync later?].

[Screenshot of shuttle landing here e.g. this or this, preferably with current keep and showing new airport]

[ Screenshot of Keflavik: e.g. this ]

A land of fire, smoke, and ice Flightgear models several volcanoes with multiple levels of activity: Eyjafjallajökull which disrupted aviation in 2010, Surtsey, and the brooding, powerful, Katla. There are new regional definitions for Iceland - try turning on overlays to see very high resolution ground detail.

[ Screenshot of terrain detila with overlays enabled ]

There is a lot to discover. You can try the C172p, J3Cub (with G1000), or Twin Otter which include float variants to explore the fjords of the north west, ski variants to land on one of the many ice caps in the south west, or bush tire variants in your adventures.

Few Highlights here

Few highlights for which there are really nice screenshots:

[e.g. C172p, list craft with FG1000, new A320 as the glass cockpit airliner in FGAddon with the most detailed systems, Space Shuttle, is the compositor appropriate or is it too low profile right now?, carrier and supersonic jet improvements
Mention new or improved JSBSim aircraft with CFD or windtunnel data]

Closing line and screenshot(s): [e.g. say LTS is launching with this screenshot and/or say "coming in hot to your platform" this screenshot - GinGin suggests doing both.]

Possible screenshots for highlights:

  • C172p: 1 or w/o the 2019 tag
  • Helicopters: 1st screenshot: EC135 now with ALS rotor wash. 2nd screenshot if needed (available without Bell 412 tag which should reduce support requests from people not being able to find it on FGAddon): 2 or 2.1, and also covers turbulence near active volcanoes: 3 or 3.1.
  • Carrier, and supersonic fighter improvements: f14
  • A320: could use newer cockpit screenshot? 1
  • If there's a need to mention FG's range of craft from ground effect vehicles, to lighter than air/parachutes/skydivers/human powered aircraft (DASH), to flapping wing, etc. : Pterosaur JSBSim FDM based on papers: 1 or 2.
  • [See tour post below with an into to Kevlavik and Iceland for more Keflavik/Iceland screenshots]
  • [ See high settings screenshots category ]

Longer tour section post: Keflavik announcement, Iceland intro, FG settings for Icleand

LTS default airport announcement, introduction to Iceland, configuring FG settings for Iceland

After release: Current release philosophy

Currently placeholder text. For publishing a longer time after the improvement posts.

As of 2018.3 LTS, Flightgear has transitioned two release types:

  1. Long Term Stable (LTS) releases suitable for most users with a new featured airport
  2. Development preview releases

There will be point releases containing bugfixes and minor updates for both release types. For example, 2018.3.6 was the 6th bugfix point release for the 2018.3 LTS - it was released in August 2020.

LTS releases will have bugfixes ported and the build maintained for longer. Development preview builds will be less stable, receive less testing, and are a bit more of a construction site where large structural changes are made to lay the foundations for the future. Some aircraft may not work on development releases. Power users can run multiple installs of Flightgear in parallel.

There are minor improvements planned to the launcher UI in 2020.3 point releases. There are a lot of big changes already underway and planned after 2020.3 LTS, so if you are curious keep an eye on future development previews leading to the next LTS.

After release: Project status

More appropriate for another post a while after the release. This should provide a situation report for people that may be interested in contributing.

Items: WS 3.0, Compositor, OSM2City world build/tech improvements, in-sim UI replacement work, infrastructure for regular world builds, Australia shapefile revamp etc. etc.


Developers please add descriptions & screenshots here. These should be for a dedicated newspost with a bunch of high settings screenshots. Flightgear 2020.3 Changelog

It's possible to collect a bunch of aircraft with smaller improvements in one post - for instance if there are high settings screenshots available, making it convenient.

You can mention an entry is <ready> if there's nothing more to be added and screenshots are also linked.

Space Shuttle


New to the 2020.3 release is an updated and improved version of the Airbus A320. First flown in 1987, the A320 is the most produced airliner ever, with over 9,500 built to date. It was one of the first airliners to use fully digital flight controls / fly by wire, and a fully glass cockpit.

This aircraft has been recreated by a team of developers over many years, and is now distributed in FGAddon. Among other features, it has a working MCDU (Multi-Function Control Display Unit), which makes it one of the first aircraft in FGAddon to allow proper operation of a modern airliner's avionics. It also has some unique features such as allowing pilots to fetch their flight plans from Simbrief, or to request weather and digital ATIS in the MCDU. [Screenshot of MCDU F-PLN page in flight]

In terms of systems, it is one of the most detailed aircraft in FlightGear, as it accurately represents the behaviours of the real Airbus; for instance, each switch, valve, and actuator has its own power supply, and will only operate if it is powered. Thousands of logic diagrams and system schematics have been used to accurately represent the Airbus and to allow for some limited failure modelling. Some indication of the detail might be given by looking at the ELEC page on the System Display, and observing how the frequency of the generators changes as you adjust engine power. [Screenshot of one of the ECAM SD pages]

The A320 also features a ECAM system which monitors the systems of the aircraft, presents failures to the crew, and suggests steps to remedy them. Most of the important failures have their own checklist, for instance the ALL ENG FAIL checklist shown here. [Screenshot of the ECAM system in action]

In the future the A320 will be receiving a fantastic new 3D model and a new flight dynamics package -- keep an eye out for the update! [Screenshot of the new model]