FlightGear Newsletter February 2012

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{{draft|newsletter|Feel free to contribute! Or [[FlightGear Newsletter January 2012|read the latest edition]].}}
== FlightGear 2.6.0 released ==
Following our [[release plan]], version 2.6.0 of our simulator has been released! This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Major improvements from v2.4.0 include reduced AI aircraft load times, easier graphics tuning, more sophisticated AI aircraft and improved usability. Please check the [[changelog 2]-released/ release announcement] for a complete overview of what has changed since our last release 6 months ago. Downloads are avialable [ from our website].
== Development news ==
== Interview with a contributor (Christian Schmitt) ==
''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.''
'''[ Read this and previous interviews at our website's archive].''' * '''What is your forum/IRC nickname?'''
Surprise: it's papillon81. Yes, I'm that guy :)
* '''How long have you been involved in FlightGear?'''
Acording to my mail correspondence it must have been in 2007/2008 when I became an active part. I was unsatisfied with the state of EDDF in the FG scenery (no buildings, lightpoles everywhere), so I teamed up with a guy who had already started some work there. I ended up creating all of the terminal buildings and improving the airport layout. In those days, not many pilots were flying there. This changed in the months afterwards, which was a big boost of motivation, too.
* '''What are your major interests in FlightGear?'''
My main interest is clearly the scenery and technology connected with it, like GIS. I started to create some custom scenery, like Helgoland, and after I was granted direct access to the mapserver database, I was able to proxy-commit other peoples work, that started to come in. IMHO, the best FDM or aircraft models are useless if you don't have a nice place to fly, takeoff and land :) So this area is what motivates me the most.
I do also maintain the Gentoo packages (ebuilds) for the GIT versions of FG, SG and TerraGear. All these can be found in the Gentoo Gamerlay repo.
* '''What project are you working on right now?'''
Some months ago I was fed up of FG being unable to read apt.dat 850 data. So I started digging into the terragear code. Having no experience with C++, it was a steep learning curve, but to my own surprise I was able to convert the original TG parser to read the runway data and other features from the new format files. I started to implement as many features I was able to. Luckily, Pete was already working on the taxiways and surface features. So we teamed up and eventually merged our work together. Since then it has become a really great project to learn and improve FG along the way for me. I hope it will be put into use for the next scenery version. Before that can happen, we need more testers and bug reports (hint! hint! hint!) :)
 * '''What do you plan on doing in the future?'''
I will continue to work on Terragear, commit some improvements to the Concorde (my favorite plane in FG) and take care of merge requests. I'd also like to dive more into the FG/SG code and do some adjustments here and there. We'll see what else the future might bring :)
* '''Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?'''
I'm actually very happy with it. The improvements from 2 years ago up to now are breathtaking. Sometimes it is just amazing what features people start to work on, like Project Rembrandt right now. Also, the work that went into the weather and shader system recently is amazing.
* '''What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?'''
The fact that we support each other and have a strong community with many very capable people from completely different backgrounds. Knowing that you can build on the work of others and that there is a helping hand in case of problems. Personally I like the FG IRC channel a lot.
* '''What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?'''
They should first of all have some experience with FG in general, meaning, they should have used the program for some time. We often have people asking questions that they could answer for themselves just by USING FG a bit with different aircraft for a bit longer than just a day or so. If they identify an area where they want to start developing, they should get in contact with the maintainer(s) and seek advice before investing many hours of work.
More questions are being collected here: [[Interview questions]]. Stay tuned for next month's interview, featuring FlightGear contributor XXXXXXXX == Snapshot releases ==Every now and then, easy-to-install development snapshots are created (usually, twice montlhy). These snapshots 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 downloaded via the links at the bottom of this page: Updates Read this and feedback can be found [ previous interviews at the forumour website's archive]. == Nasal for newbies == == New software tools and projects == == 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 on the list 'hockenberry' set up at [httpshttp://docswww.googleflightgear.comorg/spreadsheetdownload/ccc?key=0ApzphjA4w05ndF94Y2F0bzJTbHQ5QTJXZXJRcUVRbWc&hl=en_US Google Docsaircraft-v2-6/ aircraft download page]. 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.
=== A new instrument: Vertical Situation Display ===
* '''Parachute''' so the cable doesn't drop too quickly after releasing.
* '''Launch cable''' the longest part; all the way to the winch.
=== New aircraft ===
==== Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner ====
[[File:boeing-787-8-splash.png|thumb|200px|The Boeing 787-8 Splash Screen]]
The [[Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner ]] has already been there in FlightGear for a very long time -it has been in the FG official hangar since version 1.0. However, it was created while the 787 was still a prototype aircraft; it did not correctly show many of the 787's actual features like a realistic glass cockpit and accurate instruments.
The new/updated Boeing 787-8 is a community project that features new JSBSim flight dynamics, Vertical Navigation, a realistic 787 glass cockpit, new CDUs, Electronic Flight Bags, TCAS, advanced Nav Displays, [[Howto:_Implement_a_Vertical_Situation_Display_in_NasalImplement a Vertical Situation Display in Nasal|Vertical Situation Display]], [[Howto:_Implement_a_Fly_Implement a Fly-By-Wire_System_for_AirlinersWire System for Airliners|Fly-by-wire]] and a lot of other neat features. It has not exactly been completed and the project is still running.
You can find out more about the Boeing 787-8 Project HERE or wait for a while till a in [[Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|its wiki page is created for itarticle]]. One of the really good points of this project is how most of our findings and resources have been converted into Wiki HowTos wiki howtos for other aircraft developers to use for their projects.
==== Cessna 337G Skymaster ====
The new cockpit is now totally modelled, almost buttons and knobs are functional, animated, and properly labeled for easy identification.
New custom sounds, lights, controls, a Bendix/King avionics pack capable of full IFR and night navigation, 2 new HQ liveries and the first FlightGear's working [[ELT]] (Emergency Locator Transmitter]] (ELT) are part of this great improvement on a FlightGear aircraft. === Liveries ===
== Scenery corner ==
In addition to this, the materials.xml and materials-dds.xml files have been restructured to make them more maintainable, fixing a number of bugs in the process.
=== Shanghai Skylines: FGFlightGear's New new (not-so-)Hidden Gem hidden gem ===Shanghai is one of the biggest city in China and is among the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers -this is now also true for FlightGear.25 models were created over the past few months by JVC, who also modeled the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan and the United Nations building in New York.
|[[File:SH fgfs-screen-001.png|250px|thumb|A view of the Shanghai skyline]]
=== Airports ===
== Aircraft of the month ==
*More places you can visit can be found at [[Suggested Flights]].
== Aircraft reviews ==
== Wiki updates ==
[[File:Dualcontrolready2.png|Dual_control]] [[File:BombableReady.png|Bombable]] [[File:Aerotowready.png|Doing aerotow over the net]] [[File:Thermalready.png|Soaring]] [[File:Spacetripready.png|Aerospace]]
[[File:Aircraftofthemonth.png|IAR80]] [[File:Airrefuelingready.png]] [[File:Airportofthemonth.png]] [[File:Screenshotofthemonth.png]].
===New articles===
===New aircraft articles===
===Most popular newsletters===
categoryRoot=FlightGear Newsletter
== Community news ==
* [ Sukhoi 37 'The russian dream'] by Águilas de FlightGear performing "Balalaika amok" master tune by Aleksei Arkhipovsky.
=== New tutorials and screencasts ===
=== Forum news ===
Triggered by the new release, we've had more [ forum] visitors then ever before in the week of 19-25 February! 17,123 people visited the forum in these seven days to be precise. When looking at "unique visitors", only 13-19 February 2011 was a bussier week (9548 against 9076 visitors) (a possible reason for the high number might be that people expected 2.2.0 to be released, which was canceled).
=== Multiplayer ===
=== Virtual airlines ===
=== FlightGear events ===
== Useful links ==
== And finally ... ==
=== Contributing ===