Hi fellow wiki editors!

To help newly registered users get more familiar with the wiki (and maybe older users too) there is now a {{Welcome to the wiki}} template. Have a look at it and feel free to add it to new users discussion pages (and perhaps your own).

I have tried to keep the template short, but meaningful. /Johan G

FlightGear Newsletter May 2012

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Welcome to the FlightGear Newsletter!
Please help us write the next edition!
Enjoy reading the latest edition!


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.

Development news

Preparing a new release

In preperation for the next FlightGear release, repositories will be frozen as of June 17. This means that no new features or major changes shall be pushed onto the development streams (neither source nor data). The repository remains open for aircraft developments till the day of the release, with the exception of base package aircraft that should not receive major changes from June 17 onwards.

See our release plan for more details.

Language Support

For a long time, FlightGear's multi-language support for the menus was broken. The language feature has been restored now, so it is again possible to translate the menu into different languages. Currently, only plain ASCII characters and its Latin1/ISO-8859-1 extension are supported though, which covers Western European languages only (Portuguese to German, Italian to Norwegian).

Please see Howto:Translate FlightGear if you are interested in helping to translate FlightGear. We're currently looking for someone volunteering to update the existing, but incomplete Spanish, French and Italian language resources. Also, you're welcome to add support for additional languages (e.g. Portuguese, Swedish, ...).

If your language isn't supported by FlightGear's limited character set yet (i.e. Japanese, Chinese, Russian, ...) then please be patient - a rework of the GUI library, which will also improve support for arbitrary fonts and character sets, is already in progress.

Interview with a contributor (Jon Berndt)

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!

Read previous interviews at our website's archive.

Jon Berndt, JSBSim Development Coordinator
  • How long have you been involved in FlightGear?

For over ten years. I'm the development coordinator (and occasionally accused of being the BDFL) for JSBSim. It's been just a few months more than ten years since JSBSim became the default flight model for FlightGear - although it should be said that in these days a "default" flight model has less (or no) meaning compared to back then.

  • What are your major interests in FlightGear?

Flight dynamics and control, but I really like the whole aspect of specifying a model in XML (and other) files - a truly data-driven simulation.

  • What project are you working on right now?

Continued development of JSBSim. There are always things to tweak. Recently, I extended the PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) control component in JSBSim to support some work I have been doing.

  • What do you plan on doing in the future?

Writing more documentation. Adding more features to JSBSim as needed. And trying to get an official v1.0 release out.

  • Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?

I really enjoy seeing the progress being made in the visuals (as a spectator) - in particular I find the Rembrandt project fascinating.

  • What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?

Since JSBSim is a standalone project, there are other applications that use it such as Outerra, OpenEaagles, and others. However, FlightGear has the longest history with JSBSim and the most active developer community. It has been both enlightening and exciting to see developers stretch the limits of JSBSim, and use it within FlightGear in ways that were not foreseen previously. For instance, the P-51D that Hal Engel has been developing over the past couple of years (or more?) is very good. Also, the recently published skydiver flight model was an instance of a commercial use of FlightGear with JSBSim that resulted in code being shared with us in the spirit of the GPL. With that said, the most exciting part for me of working with the FlightGear community is seeing the very real strengths of open source development on display, and contributing to that effort.

  • Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?

There are many features that are not hidden, but are not known about because they are not yet part of our reference manual.

  • What is your background in Flight Simulation?

I was graduated from the University of Minnesota (as was FlightGear Development Coordinator Curt Olson). I earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering there and in 1987 I went to work for Link Flight Simulation. I wrote the flight control simulation code for the F-16 as it was migrating from an analog control system to a digital control system. In the years following that I supported the Engineering Directorate at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, working with flight simulators almost continuously since then. Most recently, I went to work for Sierra Nevada Corporation to do simulation and analysis work, as well as supporting some wind tunnel testing, all for the Dream Chaser lifting body project. I have been a member of the AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technical Committee along with Bruce Jackson, author of LaRCSim.

  • What else do you enjoy doing, besides coding in C++ late at night?

I enjoy playing acoustic guitar (fingerstyle), photography, hiking along the Colorado Front Range, playing catch/fetch with my dogs, tending to a 150 gallon saltwater aquarium, and doing various home remodeling projects. But what I really need is more sleep! Read previous interviews at our website's archive.

Snapshot releases

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.

The snapshot can be download via the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.flightgear.org/download/. Updates and feedback can be found at the forum.

Nasal for newbies

New software tools and projects

FlightGearMap

FlightGearMap with OpenStreetMap map and simple panel at KSFO.

FlightGearMap is a new Android application that displays live FlightGear data in the form of some basic instruments and a moving map. User can choose between various OpenStreetMap maps and different display styles (just the map/panel, or both). It's still under development, but already worth downloading from Google Play (Android app store).

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.

New aircraft

Updated aircraft

Liveries

The livery database got a search engine implemented, allowing users to find that specific livery they've been looking for. Searches can be filtered per aircraft, airline and/or author.

Check it out at http://liveries.flightgear.org/search.php

Scenery corner

Airports

V.C. Bird Intl Airport

V.C. Bird Intl Airport (TAPA) is the only airport on the island of Antigua. More can be found here in the forum.

The terminal of TAPA  
The terminal at night  
In front of the terminal  
The LIAT hangar/head office  

Aircraft of the month

Airport of the month

Screenshot of the month

Suggested flights

Aircraft reviews

Wiki updates

New articles

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New aircraft articles

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Most popular newsletters

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Community news

FlightGear on YouTube

In this video you can see a cockpit landing with an A330-200 at Tenerife North (GCXO).

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New tutorials and screencasts

Forum news

Multiplayer

Virtual airlines

FlightGear events

Useful links

And finally ...

Contributing

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.

Did you know