FlightGear Newsletter May 2011

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== Development news ==
== Nasal for newbies ==
== New software tools and projects ==
== = New plan for a FlightGear addons and mods release ===Good news: finally, a new FlightGear release is planned again. We're aiming to release FlightGear '''2.4.0''' in mid August 2011. Several people have now agreed to restart working on a new release and a new [[Release Plan|release plan]] for more regular releases has been prepared. We're now aiming to have two releases per year - one in mid February and one in mid August. The current development branch will be used the base for a new release - which will be versioned as 2.4.0.Original plans to release FlightGear 2.2.0 in February got stalled when a number of the developers involved became too busy/blocked with RL commitments. A 2.2.0 source branch had already been created, but has now been abandoned, since it hadn't been maintained for several months. FG2.2.0 will ''not'' be announced officially, and ''no'' installers/binaries/downloads will be prepared - though the last snapshot of 2.2.0 sources remains available in the source repository. Preparations for the next release (FG 2.4.0) have already started. The release process will involve a phase of two months for beta testing, starting on June 17th. During this phase several release candidates (complete FlightGear installers) will be provided for testing. Our existing build automation (Hudson) has already been prepared to provide regular installers for Mac and Windows - as well as binaries for certain Linux distros. And of course - sources are available for any supported platform. Throughout this period, everyone is invited to test bug(-fixes) and report such things at [ our bug tracker]. For more details see the [[Release Plan|release plan]]. 
== In the hangar ==
=== Rating System ===
After a series of discussions on the -dev list and IRC, a simple rating system has been implemented. Based upon objective scoring of 4 criteria (FDM, Systems, Cockpit and External Model), the aim is to provide a straightforward way for aircraft developers to "rate" their aircraft in the aircraft-set.xml file, and provide an accurate "status" tag.
Aircraft developers are strongly encouraged to take the 5 minutes it will take to rate their aircraft. Hopefully enough developers will rate their aircraft in time for the upcoming release so that the 2.4.0 download page can be filtered in rating, allowing new (and old!) users to identify the hidden gems.
Details can be found on the wiki at [[Formalizing Aircraft Status]].
=== New aircraft ===
==== Bombardier CRJ700 series ====
[[User:Skyop|Skyop]] has started constructing the Bombardier CRJ700 series, which will include the CRJ700, CRJ900, and CRJ1000. The original [[Bombardier CRJ-900|CRJ900]] will be phased out as a result. The exterior model, cockpit, and interior will be entirely redone with new skills and techniques he has learned. Currently the flight instruments are being rebuilt; at press time, the PFD ''(primary flight display)'' and MFD ''(multi-function display)'' have been completed and feature a new [[TCAS]] and radar display. The finished product will hopefully set a new standard for regional airliners in [[FlightGear]].
The United Express livery|CRJ700-devel-1.jpg|
The PFD and MFD in the flight deck|CRJ700-devel-2.jpg|
An Air Canada Jazz CRJ700|CRJ700-devel-3.jpg
=== Updated aircraft ===
 === Liveries =Airbus A340-600====More work has continued on developing an [[Airbus A340-600]] for FlightGear. The aircraft has been given a new lease of life with a new JSBsim FDM which replicates better the size and control of such a large bird, and there is much more work on it to come. The model itself is looking very attractive with a newly modelled fuselage from British user Simon (MOJO), some nice new reflection coding, lights and external models. It has a 3D cockpit which is currently identical to that of the [[A320-family]] in FlightGear (by Skyop and Ampere), as an A340 cockpit is being built from scratch by Skyop himself. This doesn't spoil it for now, as both aircraft's cockpits share 99% of similarities in real life.  Back in 2009, the aircraft was the first in FlightGear to incorporate aircraft operation equipment, and Cabin announcements. Now these have been improved with new recordings by the author (Liam, if you're wondering who's voice that is), and work continues to make the aircraft one of the most enjoyable heavy metal birds to fly in FlightGear. Thanks to all the users who have helped this slow moving project progress.  If you are wondering where you can download this new version: check out the Aircraft section in the FlightGear forums, where there is a special topic dedicated to it. [[Image:Airbus1.png|200px]] [[Image:Airbus.png|200px]]
== Scenery corner ==
=== Airports New animated jetways ===[[User:Skyop|Skyop]] has completed a major overhaul of FlightGear's [[animated jetways]]. A long-standing limitation, the inability for each gate to interact independently, has finally been solved- as is the limitation that jetways do not know their position relative to the aircraft and thus must connect based on precalculated angles and positions. Also, several AI aircraft and MP aircraft can now connect to animated jetways. The generic model has also been updated, and several more models have been added. The result is that FlightGear finally has animated jetways more advanced than certain commercial flight simulators! The jetways are compatible with FlightGear 2.0.0, but a few source code changes were made in [[FlightGear and Git|Git]] that makes them easier to use on the Git version of FlightGear. Unlike the old system, the jetways are no longer completely contained within scenery- a few core files in [[$FG_ROOT]] must be modified and special definition files must be created. However, an editor and static STG file converter have been written to make this process easier. {{Gallery|A [[Boeing 777-200ER|777]] connected to gate A11A at KSFO|Animated-jetways-KSFO.jpg|An overview of the new animated jetways at EHAM|Animated-jetways-EHAM.jpg|Jetways at EGKK; note the connected AI aircraft|Animated-jetways-EGKK.jpg}}As of time of writing, the following airports support the new system:* KSFO* PANC* EGKK* EHAM* KDEN* KLAS The following aircraft have support:* AI 737* AI 747-400* AI A320* AI MD-80* Bombardier CRJ700 (see above)* [[Boeing 717]]* [[Boeing 777-200ER]] Download aircraft support packages, download the base package, view development, and discuss at {{forum link|t=8728|text=the animated jetway project thread}}. A YouTube video of the new system in action can be viewed [ here]. === TerraGear GUI: a first release ===[[File:TerraGearGUI.jpg|thumb|The last step: FGFS construct]]After over a year of slow (and most of the time stalled) development, Gijs released a first full-feature version of his [[TerraGear GUI]]. The name explains it all: it is a graphical interface that allows users to generate scenery.  It works comparably to FGRun, as it generates a commandline based on the user's settings and drives one of the TerraGear tools through that. Through a series of tabs, the user is guided through the process of creating scenery. Steps include: downloading data, processing elevation data, generating airports, assigning materials and in the end, the actual scenery construction. Making changes in one of those steps will result in different scenery. The GUI allows users to easily finetune their scenery. There are still lots of bugs to be solved, features to be added and improvements to be made. But, now that there's a useable GUI, more and more people will (be able to) discover the magic world of building scenery. And I'm sure that, if all those people give some feedback in the {{forum link|t=7485|text=forum topic}}, the GUI will improve rapidly! ===Seoul===Seoul is an impressive city, where modern buildings with amazing design are mixed with the Korean traditional architecture of old buildings. The following buildings were added throughout this month: [[File:Yeouido-005.png|220px|thumb|right|Yeouido island]] [[File:Gyeongbok Palace.png|220px|thumb|right|Gyeongbok Palace]] * '''Modern buildings'''** Dongbu Finance Building** GT Tower East** S-Trenue Tower** SK T-tower** Jongno Tower** Seoul World Cup Stadium* '''Old buildings'''** Namdaemun** Gyeonghoeru Pavillon** Geunjeongjeon* '''Others'''** National Assembly Building In addition to that, about 150 generic buildings have been added in Yeouido island, one of Seoul's main business districts. All of this is available through [[TerraSync]].
== Aircraft of the month ==
== Airport of the month ==
== Screenshot of the month ==
Screenshot which won Contest for the Best Screenshot of 2011 on Polish FlightGear forum.<br>
Congratulations for viper29!
== Suggested flights ==
== Aircraft reviews ==
== Wiki updates ==
===New articles===<DynamicArticleList> type=new This month, the FlightGear wiki welcomed its 8.000.000th page view! The page view count=10doubled in 12 months time, as we had "just" 4.000.000 views in May 2010. More and more people seem to find their way to the wiki (and the forum as well). This might be due to some more active linking, but it also means that the interest in FlightGear increases. </DynamicArticleList>===New aircraft articles===<DynamicArticleList> type=new count=10 categoryRoot=Aircraft</DynamicArticleList>===Most popular newsletters===<DynamicArticleList> type=hot count=5 categoryRoot=FlightGear Newsletter</DynamicArticleList>Jentron extended our JSBSim documentation, mainly working on [[JSBSim GroundReactions]] and [[JSBSim Engines]]. A great source for information if you're working on a [[JSBSim]] model.
== Community news ==
=== LinuxTag 2011 ===
[[File:LinuxTag2011_LargeSetup.jpg|220px|thumb|right|FlightGear setup at LinuxTag 2011]]
FlightGear was presented at LinuxTag in Berlin. The FlightGear crew consisted of David Glowsky, Holger Wirtz, Mathias Froehlich, Thorsten Brehm, Torsten Dreyer and Martin Spott.
Our booth worked like a magnet to visitors - thanks to our two flight-simulator setups. A small flight-simulator with 3 TFT displays and standard joystick/pedal controls and a large and impressive setup with 10 (ten!) TFT displays and a custom instrument panel. We certainly had more displays in use than any other booth :-).
Photos on what was going on at our booth are available [ here].
[[File:LinuxTag2011_warrantyvoid.jpg|220px|thumb|right|Warranty void if removed!]]
Unfortunately, one of our five graphics cards in the big setup failed on Wednesday. What has happened? It overheated when it's fan blocked. Ironically, the fan had sucked in a warranty sticker which somehow had peeled off... So, is that covered by warranty? Or is "warranty void if removed"? ;-)
Aside from the sheer number of screens, Torstens's home-glued [[Howto: Build your own procedure trainer | "Poor Man's Procedure Trainer"]] was blessed with compliments - and it really deserves this recognition.
People really enjoyed flying at our sims - and we surely attracted some future FlightGear pilots. A few of them were so enthusiastic that they seemed to keep orbiting around our booth all day - waiting for another chance to fly the large sim. :)
When more experienced visitors were flying at our booth, we used our netbooks to secretly telnet into the sim - and cause trouble by triggering specific failures. Flights were hampered by failing instruments, stalled engines or stuck gear (or any combination for really hard cases). Eventually, everyone was properly challenged! ;-) Kudos go to Martin Spott for safely landing a combined single-engine, stuck-gear and full instrument failure emergency in dense fog. He found his way back to the airport anyway. How did he manage? Unfortunately we forgot to fail the DME - and displayed distance obviously was enough information for his navigation...
During LinuxTag [ RadioTux] also asked us to present FlightGear live at their booth. The recording of the interview is available [ here] as a [ podcast] (German).
Finally, we'd like to express a warm "thank you" to those private and commercial sponsors who made this year's booth setup possible by donating money and/or equipment and giving trust into our promise to do "the right thing" with these donations:
* Local FlightGear-enthusiasts and -developers who had been buying a set of six 24" displays from their private budget in the run-up to one of the former LinuxTag exhibitions.
* [ Thomas Krenn AG] who have been donating an extremely powerful workstation for use in development and on exhibitions - including four graphics cards - which would have been completely unaffordable from our private budgets.
* Various FlightGear-enthusiasts and -developers from all over the world who've been donating private money via our PayPal-account at "", which eventually led to ....
* the oportunity of buying another five 24" displays at an advantageous price thanks to the subsidy of [ Baastrup GmbH].
* Finally, [ Science + Computing AG] contributed to the affair by - guess, what - paying the insurance for all this equipment at the booth :).
=== FlightGear on youtube ===
* Heiko created [ New tutorials and screencasts ===n_xdwEwTwX0 a very nice video] of a BK-117 flight around the very nice place of Innsbruck, Austria.=== Forum news ====== Multiplayer FlightGear on Flickr ====== Virtual airlines ===** 
=== FlightGear events ===
== Useful links ==TransGear: Horizontal Europe ====[[TransGear]] is a monthly event, aimed at gathering a group of enthusiastic pilots around certain airports and routes. All of this is guided by realistic (vocal) ATC, via the [[FGCom]] software. In June, the 22nd event will be organised. It will involve 9 airports spread horizontally across central and western Europe. Such events are a great oppurtunity to polish up both your flying and communication skills. But above all it's a lot of fun to be part of a pretty realistic simulation, instead of the notorious KSFO crowd! More details at the:* {{forum link|t=12240|text=forum topic}}* [ official website]  
== And finally ... ==
=== On this day in aviation history ===
If you're looking for a good reason to fly a plane, fly over a place, organize a special event etc. Well, just a 'valuable excuse' for launching FlightGear on your PC: check the FlightGear [ dedicated site] 'On This Day in Aviation History' or the {{forum link|t=11613|text=dedicated topic} in the forum. Both show historical aviation-related events that wrote part of worldwide history.
=== 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.
* The [[FGFSPM]] (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.
=== Did you know ===[[Category:FlightGear Newsletter|2011 05]]