FlightGear Newsletter July 2009
Welcome to the first issue of the FlightGear Newsletter!
This newsletter is intended to provide a collection of the latest developments from around the worldwide FlightGear community. With so much development ongoing, it's almost impossible for anyone to keep up.
The source of the newsletter is hosted on the wiki. If you have any suggestions or articles, simply go an add them.
The newsletter would also benefit from a permanent editor. So, if you're looking for a way to contribute but have yet to find a project, speak to Curt.
What's New in CVS
CVS is the version control system used by the FG developers, and is where all the new source code is developed and tested prior to a release. It therefore provides a window into what will be in the next release of FG (whenever that might be!).
FG has long supported thermals for gliding, though setting them up has been somewhat challenging. The latest development in this area is orthographic (ridge) lift, caused by the wind being pushed up when it meets rising ground. The most interesting aspect of this is that it is completely generic - it affects every aircraft (not just gliders) and doesn't require any extra work to use.
Ian Forster-Lewis (aka B21) developed an algorithm for FS-X and very kindly allowed it to be used for FG. Woot made a superb job of implementing it for FG.
Gusting wind and improved weather scenarios
Thanks to some work by Torsten Dryer, the weather in FG just got a bit more challenging. When flying in real list, gusty wind conditions (as opposed to turbulence) can make landing and taking off rather tricky - especially when you suddenly lose 10 kts of airspeed on short final! FG now supports gusting wind when indicated by METAR. Furthermore, you can now define your own weather scenarios in XML, rather than being restricted to Fair Weather, Thunderstorm, METAR or None.
One of the regular thoughts expressed on the FG 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 huge numbers of hours. In fact, there are a huge range of ways to contribute to the project without needing to write code.
Some ideas: - writing articles for the next issue of this newletter - sending corrections/updates to the FlightGear Manual - helping new users on the forums/IRC - writing a wiki page - organising fly-outs
One of the easiest ways to help is to improve the scenery in your local area by placing buildings/structures using the UFO and submitting them to the FlightGear Scenery Object Database. It's easy, and best of all requires little time to have a real impact. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the wiki, here.
Fly Somewhere New
With scenery covering the entire globe, and virtual flyers from all over the world, there's no reason to stay at KSFO.
Stuart Buchanan flies a microlight in real life, and has produced a short suggested flight through Scotland, based on a flight he made himself here.
For those flying in the USA,  is a useful resource providing a google-maps-like interface to the Sectional Charts. It even provides access to METAR and instrument approaches.
At what point would you initiate a go-around? . For those wanting to try for yourself, the airport code is TTFJ.