FlightGear Newsletter October 2016

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Enjoy reading the latest edition!
Please help us write the coming edition!
October 2016

Development news

Next default airport

Zürich Airport (LSZH) has been chosen as the default airport for the next FlightGear version, v2016.4.[1] Some details about the airport can be found here.

Git multimail script updated

For all Git repositories on SourceForge, Edward d'Auvergne has updated the git-multimail repository hook script to 1.5-dev (the current master branch) from 1.2-dev, with a few customisations/simplifications for our commitlogs ML. If you see any error messages when committing, please report these. A failure of the git-multimail Python script will only result in a failure of the sending of an email to the ML, as this is a post-receive hook - the commit will have been successfully pushed/etc.[2]

Local apt.dat versions support

Thanks to work by Florent Rougon, multiple apt.dat files (which contain airport data) can now be loaded, rather than the single $FG_ROOT/Airports/apt.dat.gz.[3] These files (either *.dat or *.dat.gz) can be loaded from Scenery path/NavData/apt/, where Scenery path is any path specified by the --fg-scenery command line option. These will take precedence over the default one ($FG_ROOT/Airports/apt.dat.gz). Note that any change to apt.dat files should continue to be submitted to the X-Plane gateway so that they will eventually be included in the main distribution.

Standalone Canvas NavDisplay dialog

Screenshot showing the dialog with two independent NavDisplay instances

Hooray has been working on a dialog to easily develop, test and prototype new NavDisplay styles. It is capable of showing multiple NavDisplay instances, which can be controlled and tested independently (using different settings for range, modes, traffic, etc.). The dialog will also reload the styles file (navdisplay.mfd) when it is reopened (or the selected style changed), meaning that FlightGear doesn't have to be restarted every time changes are made.

As of 10/2016, this is pending review by Gijs and Hyde before it can be committed to the base package.

Continue reading at Howto:Prototyping a new NavDisplay Style

Benchmarking Canvas path performance

A screenshot of the ADI ball

As part of the development of the Space Shuttle, Thorsten has added a Canvas-based ADI ball. However, it is somewhat of a resource hog.[4] As can be seen from the screenshot of it, it is very complex and involves a lot of calculations.[5] However, performance tests indicate that the cause of the bottleneck is the huge amount of property manipulation involved during each update, after the actual calculations have been completed. This has also been shown to be a problem for any very complex Canvas.

Some ways to help reduce bottlenecks include using getprop() /setprop() instead of props.nas APIs and using variables instead of properties where possible.[6]

Continue reading at Howto:Canvas Path Benchmarking

Streaming a Canvas via HTTP

Screenshot showing a NavDisplay) streamed to Mozilla Firefox

ThomasS has created a patch for FlightGear for downloading any Canvas image from a running FlightGear process via HTTP.[7] This is useful for situations such as displaying instruments on a separate monitor. This should be considered as merely the groundwork needed for more sophisticated use-cases and a corresponding implementation.

Continue reading at Read canvas image by HTTP

In the hangar

MBB/Kawasaki BK 117

User HHS, the author of the Eurocopter EC135 P2, Eurocopter EC130 B4 and Cessna 182S Skylane is trying to the MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 into FlightGear. Unfortunately time is limited, so he will need help.

When you have some spare time, are interested in helicopters, and always wished to improve things, you might want to apply for this job. Find out more on the wiki page.

2016 Camaro SS

Auskunst is seeking help to improve the handling of his 2016 Camaro SS and another future automobile project. If you have experience in tweaking YASim FDMs, you can find out more here.

Scenery corner

New experimental terrain engine

psadro_gm has been working on an experimental terrain engine. It works by using shaders and raster images to form the terrain. As of 10/2016, it allows for terrain generation on-the-fly and changes in the level of detail (LOD).[8] If the does get integrated fully, it will render TerraGear obsolete. However, there is still a lot of development work to do. The below videos show the change in LOD as one flies closer to the terrain.

To learn more, see Experimental terrain engine


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 multilingual, you can start by looking at Help:Translate.
Fr.gif Le wiki de FlightGear a toujours besoin d'aide pour être traduit en différentes langues. Si vous êtes intéressé par le rendre multilingue, commencez par lire Help:Traduire.
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 mit dem 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 wiki de FlightGear todavía necesita ayuda para traducirla a varios lenguajes. Si estás interesado en hacer la FlightGear wiki multilingüe, entonces comienza en Help:Traducir.
Cat.gif La wiki de FlightGear encara necessita ajuda per traduir-la a diverses llengües. Si esteu interessat en fer la wiki de FlightGear multilingüe, llavors comenceu a Help:Traduir.
Pt.gif A wiki de FlightGear ainda necessita de ajuda para traduzi-la em vários idiomas. Se estás interessado em tornar a wiki de FlightGear multi-lingual, por favor começa em Help:Traduzir.

FlightGear logos

If you want some graphic elements for your FlightGear-related site (such as a 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, which show features that were added since the last release. These should be of good quality, especially in content and technical image properties. It is therefore recommended to use the best viable filter settings (anti-aliasing, texture sharpening, etc.). More info at Howto:Make nice screenshots.

Screenshot of the Month

FlightGear's Screenshot of the month October 2016 is C182 takeoff at dawn by xcvb

C182 takeoff at dawn

If you want to participate in the screenshot contest of November 2016, you can submit your candidate to this forum topic. Be sure to see the first post for participation rules. For purposes of convenience and organization, after all the entries have been submitted, a new forum topic will be started containing all shots in an easy-to-view layout. The voting will then take place there. Once the voting has finished, the best screenshot will be presented in the Newsletter edition of November 2016.

  1. chris_blues (Oct 4th, 2016). Re: Please vote for the next default airport.
  2. Edward d'Auvergne (Oct 18th, 2016). Re: [Flightgear-devel] Git-multimail repository hook script merge-request bug (was Re: apt.dat - add local version ?).
  3. Alant (Oct 18th, 2016). apt.dat - local version(s).
  4. Thorsten (Oct 28th, 2016). Re: Nasal must go.
  5. Thorsten (Oct 29th, 2016). Re: Nasal must go.
  6. Thorsten Renk (Apr 15th, 2013). Re: [Flightgear-devel] Nasal props API relative path support.
  7. ThomasS (Oct 10th, 2016). Re: Canvas remote drawing.
  8. psadro_gm (Oct 1st, 2016). Re: Next-generation scenery generating?.
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