FlightGear Newsletter June 2012
- 1 Development news
- 2 Interview with a contributor (NAME)
- 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.
2.8.0 release preparations
See Release plan for the main article about this subject.
Since the feature freeze on June 17, no new features may be pushed to our Git repositories. Aircraft outside the base package can still receive updates till July 17, when release branches will be created from the repositories. That is basically the birth of a new release. From then on only bug fixes will be accepted.
Thanks to the branching, development for the next-next release (3.0.0?) can start right away; even before 2.8.0 is released.
A special Rembrandt dialog has been created, to give the user full control over Rembrandt's rich feature set. The dialog can be reached via View > Rendering Options. By adjusting the various options, the framerate impact can be decreased.
Mailing list digest
(by far the easiest option to populate the newsletter with contents is copying/pasting stuff from the forum and the mailing list or the git logs)
Getting involved as a programmer
Please see Howto:Start core development
Interview with a contributor (NAME)
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.
- How long have you been involved in FlightGear?
- What are your major interests in FlightGear?
- What project are you working on right now?
- What do you plan on doing in the future?
- Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?
- What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?
- Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?
- What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?
More questions are being collected here: Interview questions.
Stay tuned for next month's interview, featuring FlightGear contributor XXXXXXXX
Every now and then, easy-to-install development snapshots are created (usually, twice montlhy). These snapshos 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 the issue tracker.
Nasal for newbies
New software tools and projects
OpenStreetMap data tends to be quite good for airports, since OSM have the option of using Bing aerial imagery and runway/taxiway/stand numbers tend to be readily visible from aerial photos.
Features available in this map include:
- Historical tracks ("breadcrumbs") showing movement of aircraft over time
- Label decluttering, meaning that in a crowded area each aircraft's label will be visible, and each aircraft symbol will be visible
- Colour schemes: stationary aircraft are grey, and you can give each aircraft symbol its own random colour to distinguish them in a crowded space. When you select an aircraft its label and trail will become bright red.
- Selected aircraft: click on an aircraft (or vehicle)'s label, and some details will appear on right of screen - track, groundspeed, etc.
- Measure distances between any two vehicles - select one and then the other and tick "measure" to see continuously-updated bearing and distance between them
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 the list 'hockenberry' set up at Google Docs. 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.
London Gatwick in 850
Islandmonkey has been working to make the already-great airport of London Gatwick (EGKK) 850 apt.dat layout.
Download link is here.
User Frank (aka fmg) is currently working on Berlin Tempelhof Airport (EDDI/THF) scenery (airport of the month January), what is declared to be the "Mother of all airports" by the British architect Sir Norman Foster.
The Berlin Tempelhof airport was opened officially on 8 October 1923. But there was aviation activity on this area before. 1909 the Wright brothers show there flyer there for example. During the 1920ties it was the one of the busiest airports in Europe. The old terminal was originally constructed in 1927 and was destroyed during WW II. The today building was started in 1936, but was never finished until the end of the war. After the second world war it first became a base of the U.S. military until 1993. In the 1950ties it was also opened for civilian flights. It became famous during the Berlin airlift 1948-49. The airport was closed on 30 October 2008.
Tempelhof airbase was an airport of course, but also a small independent town in the city of Berlin. They had a an own power plant, waterworks, garbage incineration, a railway side track, sporting facilities, bbq-area and a plant nursery. The aim is to have the airport areal and the near surrounding as complete as possible to bring a bit of the special atmosphere of this place to FlightGear. Most of the technical facilities are modeled and send to the repository. The main building is in work. It's model partly based on original construction drawings and it is textured with photos of the real thing.
If you ever have had the opportunity to arrive there by plane you may have get the impressive experience to roll with your plane under this mighty roof construction and walk away freely on the apron, even as a normal passenger. This gives a good impression how aviation has been in the former days.
Since you can't have this experience any more in real live, may be we will have it in FlightGear some day. But be patient: Since it's told to be under the twenties't largest buildings of the world, it will take some time to finish it.
Düsseldorf International (EDDL)
Düsseldorf International Airport is germany's third largest airport. It was updated to a highly detailed ap850 ground layout with signs and generic buildings. The scenery was generated with corine and openstreetmap.
Aircraft of the month
Airport of the month
Screenshot of the month
As part of a big cleanup, 2,000 inactive accounts have been deleted. Those accounts were never used for anything. Most of them had rather dubious names, normally created by spambots. The total number of users is now 2,586.
In order to keep the wiki database clean and small, it's important that all editors try to apply the following tips as much as possible:
- Limit the number of edits. One edit containing a big edit is better than several smaller edits (to one article). Every time someone saves an edit, the entire article is saved in history and thus the database. The following tips can help you minimise your edit count:
- Do not edit an article on a per-section base (by clicking the  link next to a header). If you would like to make edits in multiple sections of the same article, simply edit the entire article by cliking the Edit button at the top of the page.
- Preview your edit(s) before saving, by clicking the preview button. Especially check for red links to non existing articles (usually the result of typos).
New aircraft articles
type=new count=10 categoryRoot=Aircraft
type=hot count=5 categoryRoot=FlightGear Newsletter
FlightGear on YouTube
New tutorials and screencasts
Thanks to Yves for setting up a multiplayer server in Switzerland, the total number of available servers is now 14! The host adress of the new server is: mpserver14.flightgear.org
Please refer to Howto:Set up a multiplayer server if you are interested in setting up a server yourself.
FlightGear at the National Museum of Flight, ScotlandStuart Buchanan (stuart on the forum), ran a booth showing off FlightGear at the "Robots Live" event at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, Scotland, on Sunday 17th May. About 100 people tried landing an F-35C on a carrier, lots of flyers were handed out, and many compliments were received on the quality of the simulator. Demoing FG at an event at your local aviation museum is a great way to spread the word about FG. See our FlightGear Expo Checklist for guidance on how you can go about it.
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.