FlightGear Newsletter February 2015

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February 2015

Development news

FlightGear 3.4 Released

On February 17, the FlightGear development team published the v3.4 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes.

A list of major changes can be found at Changelog 3.4. FlightGear 3.4 is available for a variety of operating systems from http://www.flightgear.org/download/

ALS Volumetric Grass

Thanks to changes in the way random vegetation is managed when not visible, FlightGear can now render volumetric grass on the terrain (for instance the airport keep) using the random vegetation system without blowing memory consumption. A grass texture matching color with the ALS airport keep effect is already available, but not activated by default since it doesn't look so good with other rendering frameworks.

Volumetric grass in summer Volumetric grass in fall

To explore this yourself, add the following lines to the Grass/Airport/AirportKeep/Greenspace landclass in Materials/regions/global-summer.xml:


Just as trees do, grass changes with the season and gets little nests of frost when below the snowline.

For more, see the forum topic 3d volumetric airport grass

PagedLOD for AI models

The rendering logic for AI aircraft has changed recently. Whether they are drawn or not now depends on their projected size on the screen and not on their distance. Please check these properties:

  • /sim/rendering/static-lod/ai-range-model-pixel (should be true)
  • /sim/rendering/static-lod/ai-detailed (should be 30)

With this configuration, AI aircraft bigger than 30 pixels on the screen should show up.

Note  There are other factors in OpenSceneGraph that decide if the Paged LOD nodes get rendered. It may sometimes take a couple of minutes or some view panning for the models to pop up.

Torsten Dreyer (2015-01-26). Re: [Flightgear-devel] Flightgear next (3.5.0) Does not render MP aircraft.

Tooltips can now be positioned

Thanks to some work by Necolatis, Tooltips can now positioned at a specific place on-screen.

New syntax:

gui.popupTip(label[, timeout[, override[, position]]]);

position must be a hash, consisting of a y and/or x value.

Some examples:

# Show "readme" at position 10, 10
gui.popupTip("readme", nil, nil, { y: 10, x: 10 });

# Show "readme" at position y = 10, with 2 second delay
gui.popupTip("readme", 2, nil, { y: 10 });

# Show "readme" at position x = 10, y at default position
gui.popupTip("readme", nil, nil, { x: 10 });

# Show "readme" at position 10, 10, with 10 second delay
gui.popupTip("readme", 10, nil, { y: 10, x: 10 });

In the hangar

BAe Sea Harrier FA2

For a long time, the FlightGear (Sea) Harrier has been unmaintained. However, in early 2014, it's development restarted. Red Leader, it's new maintainer and developer, has added a host of new features to it, including guided missiles, new Nasal scripts, and a Canvas HDD.

The 2.4.0 version of the Sea Harrier has been released, with the following changes:

  • Pushback truck is now fixed and works.
  • Bbackwards-compatibility bugs fixed.
  • A change to the sound system so that there is no sound when FlightGear loads.
  • PDFs on the weapons system and HDD added

See also the forum announcement and the wiki page

Cessna 550 Citation II

The Cessna 550 Citation II, a light business jet, has received several updates, with more still to come. Ludovic Brenta and chris_blues have put in a lot of time to polish up and improve this aircraft.

The Cessna Sierra Super II has also been added to the Citation II package. This is essentially an aftermarket modification of the Citation II, with new, more powerful engines giving an impressive rate of climb and greater fuel economy.

We hope you will enjoy flying this little aircraft and exploring all the new possibilities it has to offer.

Find out more at Cessna 550 Citation II

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle Atlantis, with AC TICO at the controls.


With the great enthusiasm of a few cosmonauts, the famous Space Shuttle has been largely reworked. It now comes with fully working rocket engines, main engines, orbit control and orbit manouver engines, smoke, sound, animations, and a detailed help. It will let you go up and try to hold a stable orbit at 150,000 to 350,000 ft at mach 10 up to 30.

The Space Shuttle can be downloaded from the GitHub repository in either a ZIP file or by cloning.

As an add-on you will get the heavily updated An-12 This is a link to a Wikipedia article, An-22 This is a link to a Wikipedia article, and An-225 (mission transport variants).

Find out more about space flight in FlightGear at FlightGear space program

Eurocopter EC130 B4


The FG 3.5 version of the Eurocopter EC130 B4 helicopter is now available. Developed by mhab, it is the first update after FlightGear 3.0, and the first made available via the SourceForge FGAddon repository.

Updates include a new, fully-functional searchlight (Trakkabeam A800), three new liveries, and full Tooltips support. For a full list of updates, please see Eurocopter EC130 B4#Updates as of FG 3.5 version.

Find out more at Eurocopter EC130 B4

Dassault Mirage 2000-5

A new version of the Dassault Mirage 2000-5 has been released. New features in this version include:

  • Several new cockpit instruments
  • A realistic afterburner flame
  • New Rembrandt cockpit lights
  • A Canvas NavDisplay in the center MFD (you can switch back to the old non-Canvas one if you wish).
  • And many other improvements …
(en) Video showing the new features of the Mirage 2000-5 (Feb 2015 version)

For more information, please visit the wiki page

Scenery Corner

Riesa-Göhlis Airfield

Riesa-Göhlis Airfield

The Riesa-Göhlis Airfield (EDAU) is now available via TerraSync. This little airfield is situated in Saxony approximately 19 nm north of Dresden Airport. A special feature of this airfield is the public street between the airfield and the runway. Aircraft have to cross the street at an automatic traffic lights system. Features include detailed and photo-textured 3D models, an open hangar and a pleasant airport restaurant.

From this airport, you can fly along the Elbe river to Dresden or explore the Saxon Switzerland. See Riesa-Göhlis Airfield#Scenery for details on how to obtain this airport.

We wish you happy flying!

Community News

FlightGear on YouTube

New tutorial channel in Spanish.

(es) Cómo leer los instrumentos (en) How to read instruments


Translators required

En.gif The FlightGear Wiki still needs help for translating it into various languages. If you are interested in making the FlightGear Wiki multi-language then start at Help:Translate.
De.gif Das FlightGear Wiki benötigt immer noch Hilfe bei der Übersetzung in verschiedene Sprachen. Wenn Du Interesse daran hast, das FlightGear Wiki Mehrsprachig zu machen, dann fang doch mit Help:Übersetzen an.
Nl.gif De FlightGear Wiki kan nog steed hulp gebruiken bij het vertalen van artikelen. Als je interesse hebt om de wiki meertalig te maken, raden we je aan om een kijkje te nemen bij Help:Vertalen.
Es.gif La FlightGear wiki todavía necesita ayuda para traducirla a varios lenguajes. Si estás interesado en hacer la FlightGear wiki multilingüe, entonces comienza en Help:Traducir.

FlightGear logos

If you want some graphic elements for your FlightGear-related site (for example hangar or YouTube channel), please feel free to visit FlightGear logos for a repository of logos. And if you have some art skills, please don't hesitate to contribute with your own design creations.


The FlightGear project always needs screenshots for the website, which show features that were added since the last release. These shots should be of good quality, especially in content and technical image properties. It is therefore recommended to use the best viable filter settings (antialiasing, texture sharpening, etc.). More info at Howto:Make nice screenshots.

Desktop backgrounds

Michat has contributed some FlightGear themed desktop backgrounds:

FGBGBG.png Fgbg.png Fgorangefeather.png