FlightGear Newsletter December 2011
- 1 Development news
- 2 Interview with a contributor (Olivier Jacq)
- 3 Snapshot releases
- 4 Nasal for newbies
- 5 New software tools and projects
- 6 FlightGear addons and mods
- 7 In the hangar
- 8 Scenery corner
- 9 Aircraft of the month
- 10 Airport of the month
- 11 Screenshot of the month
- 12 Suggested flights
- 13 Aircraft reviews
- 14 Wiki updates
- 15 Community news
- 16 Useful links
- 17 And finally ...
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 news or projects such as for example updated scenery or aircraft, please do feel invited to add such news to the newsletter.
Interview with a contributor (Olivier Jacq)
In each edition we have an interview with a contributor. Questions are available on interview questions and anyone is free to write an interview (with him-/herself) for next month's newsletter!
- How long have you been involved in FlightGear?
I've been following FG since FlightGear 0.9.8 or so. So, checking on the Wiki, this dates back to 2005... already!
- What are your major interests in FlightGear?
First of all, I've been using FG as a "casual" user, mainly contributing positions in my local area (Brittany) and especially in the Brest area (not that good at 3D modelling!). So I would say my major interest is in definitely in scenery - and HHS choppers!
- What project are you working on right now?
This is HIGHLY confidential! But because Christmas is coming soon, I'll give you a small written preview on this small present! Still under development, I'm working on automated scripts to add/delete/update shared or static scenery within FG, in order to ease the actual submission process, both for the user and the scenery maintainers. I'll let you know as soon as it's available - this newsletter will be the first to know!
- What do you plan on doing in the future?
I have at least a few months before all scripts are finished and under production, so I think when they're all done, I'll take some time to use them and add more objects positions into FG!
- Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?
I am especially happy to see the latest developments in FG, as the release plan and the many works going to make the scenery better: shaders, weather, and especially scenery which needs to be regenerated and enhance (have a look at the apt.dat 8.50 work in the forums, it's awesome!). FG is really becoming better and very much comparable to other sims.
- What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?
FG is relying on so many exciting parts: GIS, 3D modelling, database, web, network... and there are so many advanced technologies to implement (eg Radio_propagation early support)... it's amazing and there is no other software where all this is needed but flight sims. A real concentrate of technology!
- Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?
I was at the origin of the photorealistic scenery for Brest. To be precise, I had the idea and asked for the permission to use the data (as it is CC-BY-SA). Then Nels and others have been working on the patch for SG, etc.
- What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?
Well, they have to check that noone is already working on it, or to get in contact with him. Most of all, I would advise them to start on small projects first. For instance, a LOT of cockpits need enhancement. So try to make existing aircrafts better, rather than try to build yet another one from scratch. Keep this for later and focus on what needs to be enhanced now.
- Have you previously used other flight simulators or simulation software in general?
I remember having a flight simulator called "ILS" on my TRS-80... and next I moved, as a lot of people, on Microsoft Simulator when I was 7 or 8 on 10 Mb hard drives ;-)
- Do you remember what first got you interested in FlightGear? How did you learn about FlightGear? In other words, why did you actually download and try FG?
FG was the only free and open source real flight simulator I found under GNU/Linux, so when I decided to moved my computer fully to GNU/Linux, the choice was quite easy. Its success and improved quality over the years confirmed this choice was good!
- Compared to other flight simulation software, what are FlightGear's major benefits in your opinion?
Apart from the fact that it is free and opensource, I would say that its central scenery database and mapserver is one of its major features, compared to other flight sims where you have to download here, download there, add patches, etc... what a mess it becomes after a few years of addons!
- Do you think it is necessary to know how to program in order to contribute to FlightGear?
Not at all, contributing to scenery object positions is for instance very easy (it'll be even easier after my script goes in production ;-). So everyone should be able to contribute to FG (in a proper manner), that's the way to success!
- Have you ever used FlightGear professionally or for educational purposes?
I've been talking about it in my job, so show its quality, even sometimes compared to professional ones I have seen. I would highly recommand a stronger relationship between FG and professional/educational worlds.
- On average, how much time do you spend working with/contributing to FlightGear?
For a few weeks, I've been working for around 3 to 4 hours per week developing scripts. It's been a while since I haven't take a flight in FG!
- Which of the more recent FlightGear developments do you consider most interesting/appealing?
I would definitely vote for the work on fgfs-contruct and 8.50 data format support. The anaglyph support is amazing too.
- Is there some feature that you'd truly like to see in FlightGear one day?
I hope sometimes we'll be able to add GPL-photorealistic pictures on top of actual layers. Looking forward to OSM-based roads scenery release too and multi-core support.
- What do you think could be done to attract even more new users and contributors to FlightGear?
The fact that FG software is not localized into other languages can be a real problem for some users and is often shown as a drawback when magazines or forums talk about FG. If this support is added back, I will definitely work on the French translation!!
- What about interacting with the FlightGear community? Any tips/experiences you'd like to share?
As many others, I regret the way some people ask for features like: "do this aircraft, I NEED it", or don't even have a look at the Wiki or forums archive to get an answer to their questions. Ask politely, try to understand the way FG community is organised, search for archives, don't pollute threads and everything will be better!
- Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
The future of FG belongs to you: each of you can make it better, whatever your skills or interests are. So don't say: this is missing, try to add it or ask the community what you can do for help!
Nasal for newbies
New software tools and projects
FlightGear addons and mods
In the hangar
CASA C-101 Aviojet
The Spain-Latinamerica's community Vive FlightGear! recently introduced the CASA C-101 Aviojet to FlightGear hangars. The Aviojet is a two-seat military turbofan trainer, designed and built in Spain, where it's used for jet training and aerobatics in the "Patrulla Aguila" team. It's also used in other countries like Chile, Honduras and Jordan, where it can enforce a light ground-attack role.
This beta release has 3 versions (EB, BB & CC), each one with different engines and subtle differences. While BB and CC version can use a 30mm cannon, the EB version is capable to dust smoke for aerobatic shows.
Aircraft of the month
Airport of the month
Screenshot of the month
New aircraft articles
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FlightGear on youtube
New tutorials and screencasts
And finally ...
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.