FlightGear Newsletter April 2021

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April 2021

We would like to emphasize that the monthly newsletter cannot live without the contributions of FlightGear users and developers. Everyone with a wiki account (free to register) is welcome to contribute to the newsletter. 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

Note  FG is currently undergoing a lot of huge changes. More importantly: moving to the OpenGL core profile, WS 3.0, osm2city buildings, photoscenery and Compositor shadows&lights.[1] It is likely the non-shader code path (fixed-function pipeline) will also go away in the next twelve months (~ early/mid 2022). We tried to communicate this: 2020.3 is the last release that will work on really old hardware: 'next' and future releases will need a more modern machine with an OpenGL 4 / DX12 class GPU.[2] 'next' is work-in-progress: likely 12 or 18 months before it becomes a release. In that time the minimum system requirements, performance baseline and basically everything else are going to change (and keep changing). Of course we'll try to make it work on as wide a range of hardware as possible, but right now we don't know, and it would be incorrect to speculate or promise anything. (Eg, we cannot say 'an Intel 4000 will work but an Intel 3000 won't - we have no idea!)

If next works for someone, that is great, but if you want stability, stable FPS and comaptability with older hardware, there is an easy answer: use 2020.3. That's what we recommend for everyone who wants to fly and enjoy flying. [3]

In the hangar

Updated aircraft

Cessna 182S / 182T

The Cessna 182S (git version) got some really exiting enhancements over the last half year:

  • The EGT Indicator knob got a long due label now and features the original scale as well as a properly yellow colored needle.
  • The CHT was retextured with the original scale too.
  • The VOR gauges have the yellow tick marks as reference for the course wheel; and the OBS label on the knob.
  • The ADF gauge features red ticks and a more detailed aircraft symbol.
  • The transponder buttons are visually depressed when clicked now.
  • The KAP-140 Autopilot was upgraded to Sascha Reißners new version and the control loop finetuned by Josh Davidson. This new version does not only feature a nice preflight check, but brought the realism to a whole new level. The UP/DN buttons can be used now to change altitude in ALT mode when continuously pressed, the AP disconnects in high-G situations and it features an AP disconnect knob as well as a CWS knob to temporarily disengage. The autopilot now realistically simulates the attached servo motors to drive the flight control surfaces, and they can of course fail. The REV mode now actually works and one can do a all-angle-intercept from ROL mode into NAV/APR/REV.
  • The model supports damage now, so you can crash the gear when landing too hard and actually see that.
  • Flying too low in forests make you hit the trees now.
  • The pilot seat position can be adjusted forward/backward and this is stored.
  • Starting the engine now causes visible vibrations in the plane.
  • Spark plug icing is simulated, so in freezing conditions when the engine just revolves a few rounds and then quits, it possibly may not be able to start again.
  • The radio stack was upgraded to the new model, supporting 8.33 channels.
  • Multiplayer enhancements, many more properties are transmitted now. Also the custom registration was converted to canvas, making it visible in mutliplayer now (Note: When you use the new model, you will see the gear collapsed at old version multiplayer clients).
  • Passengers and copilot are visually in the plane now (also in multiplayer!)
  • Some corner cases in the FDM were fixed, most notably the plane is now more stable in high-wind conditions and also does not swing left/right so much when osciallating the yoke. Also the flap pitch reactions are even more realistic now.
  • The gear damping values were revised and also the nose gear scissor animation was added as well as the oleo strut reworked.
  • Some minor fixes and additions in the electrical system.
  • Some minor fixes in the startup state system; also the GUI was reworked so it has a drop-down instead of a radio button menu.
  • Aircraft tags were revised and switched to standard tags in some occasions.
  • Splash screens where ported to the new system, and URLs were added so one can lookup documentation from the launcher.
  • Aircraft menus were reordered and are more consistent to the C172p now. Also a small "about" dialog was added.
  • Some small fixes in the failure manager, regarding failed flaps.
  • The yoke can be shown/hidden with lowercase "y" now, previously it was just uppercase "Y", which is now in line with the C172. Also the yoke now goes transparent instead of being completely hidden (transparency level is configurable in the aircraft dialog).

Also there are some additions in the final review process:

  • Some minor texture fixes in the cockpit.
  • Dual control for a copilot to share the ride (view-only for now).
  • Adding support for the default "c" keybind to hide the 3D-cockpit.
  • New f/F keybinds to adjust cowl flaps.
  • Gravel- and Pavement roll sounds from the C172 project.
  • Better all-angle.intercept handling for the KAP-140 autopilot (currently it sometimes briefly initiates a 45° turn when capturing the beam).
  • Upgraded the Davtron M803 digital clock with new FT/ET alarm timers and ET count-down mode and fixed boot-up state.
  • The starter motor power drain is more realistic now.
  • The C182T is upgraded to include all shared systems to the current level of the C182S, so now the electrical system is working as intended and the failure manager can fail most systems specific to the T-variant too. The C182T can now also Ice and has the advanced fuel and engine system etc; also multiplayer fixes are contained.

We really hope to make those available as upgrade/download trough the launcher soon, but this probably will take some time. If you want to help, you can test and verify the outstanding pull requests, so we can merge them with more assurance.


Scenery corner

Help wanted

Post LTS work

After the 2020.2 release, some work lies ahead to improve the LTS and to help us pave the way for adopting OSG 3.6 - any help would be greatly appreciated.

This may for example include:

Please get in touch via the developers mailing list to learn more. See Post FlightGear 2020.2 LTS changes and 2022.X Release Plan for more details.

World Scenery 3.0

The FlightGear project is in the process of exploring how Virtual Planet Builder can be adopted. For details, see: World Scenery 3.0 roadmap

Aerial (drone) photos for Terrain textures

Wanted: good top-down aerial photos to create textures from to use with the procedural Regional Texturing system. Drones This is a link to a Wikipedia article with cameras are ideal. People with access to drones are in a good position to take high-quality photographs.

A particular need as of 2020 is photos of agriculture (farm lands) from different parts of the world.

Good GPLv2 compatible photos suitable for textures are hard to find, and an easy way is for people to take photos of their region. Flightgear's procedural systems can do a lot with less art content, so photo contributions can strongly improve visuals.

See: How to: take photos of terrain for textures. For examples of final textures: see /data/Textures/Terrain. e.g. UK countryside.

You can get in touch via the Scenery forum or the flightgear-devel mailing list

Photos of trees for textures

Wanted: good quality photos of different trees and vegetation from various parts of the world. Flightgear's vegetation system can handle multiple layers of trees and bushes.

Strong shadows should be avoided. Each tree should be against a background of a different colour: sky (preferably) , clouds , or buildings. This allows the tree to be separated from the background in a photo-editor like GIMP.

See: How to: take photos of vegetation. For examples of final textures: see /data/Textures/Trees. e.g. Coniferous.

You can get in touch via the Scenery forum or the flightgear-devel mailing list.

Submissions of labels for craft

Wanted: Submissions of labels (tags) giving a rough description of aircraft - Metadata tags. A quick read of a craft's Wikipedia page will normally be enough to set labels. This info will be searchable from the launcher GUI. For example, filtering craft by propulsion like single-propeller or 4-engine jet craft, or by a manufacturer like Airbus or Grumman, or by speed like supersonic craft, or craft by era like WW2. A list of tags is here - more can be added if needed. To add tags to craft yourself, the tags are stored in the set-xml file.

A list of FGAddon craft needing tags is here. See this forum thread to submit tags. The flightgear-devel mailing list or the craft's maintainer can also be contacted.

Windows Package Maintainer

The core team needs help from Windows users able to maintain a good working Window build. This process already exists to support our Nightly and Release builds, but we are seeking additional help to keep it in good working order. The ability to compile FG from source and some Windows batch scripting is a required skill. If you are willing and able to take up this role, please reach out to James Turner (mailing list), or get in touch via the forum [4]


The AI team makes FlightGear more realistic, colorful and lively every month. You can support the development of Interactive Traffic and contribute at the FlightGear AI subforum This is a link to the FlightGear forum..

Community news

FlightGear on Facebook

Since early December 2010, FlightGear has an official Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account please feel free to join the page.

FlightGear on Instagram

In January 2018 the @flightgear_sim Instagram account was brought back to life. If you've got nice screenshots to be featured, feel free to contact the maintainer This is a link to the FlightGear forum..

FlightGear on FlightSim.com

FlightGear has also a sub-forum on flightsim.com - just like the commercial flight sims. It is an opportunity to showcase what FG can do, get people curious and answer any questions they may have with regard to the software or the project.

Multiplayer events


Translators needed

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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

If you want to participate in the screenshot contest, you can submit your candidate to the this subforum This is a link to the FlightGear forum.. Be sure to see the first post for participation rules. For purposes of convenience and organization, at the end of the month or after 20 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.

Thanks for reading FlightGear Newsletter April 2021!