FlightGear Newsletter August 2013

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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. Core developers are encouraged to add news about their latest work to the newsletter's development section and the changelog of the upcoming release. At the end of each month, it's generally a good idea to get in touch with other contributors to ask them to add news about their contributions to the newsletter.

Development news

FlightGear 2.12 holding

Due to real life constraints and the low number of active core developers, we've hit a fluctuation where pretty much everyone is occupied with something else at the moment. As a result of that, no release candidates have been released until after the original release date. In order to provide a stable and (mostly) bug free release, publishing release candidates and running the associated tests and bug fixes is essential. Therefore it was decided to postpone the upcoming FlightGear 2.12 release by at least a month. This will provide sufficient time to distribute the release candidates and process end-user feedback.

2.12 delayed

Test release candidates

Thanks to recent work done by James Turner, we now have automatically generated installers / files for FlightGear releases. Currently the following operating systems are covered:

  • Linux
  • Mac
  • Windows

By testing the latest builds, you can help the realisation of a stable 2.12 release for everyone. Please file bugs in the bug tracker. The server can handle plenty of people downloading (unlike Jenkins itself).

Get a release candidate from: http://fgfs.goneabitbursar.com/releases/ (files are updated automatically)

TerraSync: A Call for Help

SimGear 2.11+ now has experimental support for a libsvn replacement, people building from source are encouraged to help with testing and debugging this new feature:

Cquote1.png First, I need some help; for people to rebuild simgear with -DSG_SVN_CLIENT=1, and mv / erase their TerraSync dir. Then simply run FGFS as normal, as if you were starting on a new machine / account with no previous use of TerraSync.[1]
— James Turner
Cquote1.png So, as I've previously asked before, I really need people running from 'next' to try with -DSG_SVN_CLIENT=1 when configuring SimGear, move their existing TerraSync dir out the way, and test, test, test. I'm sure the new code isn't 100% trouble free (in particular I think there is still the occasional time when it gets stuck not doing any more downloads until FG is restarted), but I really don't want to move forwards with the code until I have a bit more assurance it's not going to make everyone's setup crash 80% of the time, which is what some people have reported. Note this applies even if you 'don't use' terrasync since the SVN sync engine is going to be used for other pieces of data as soon as it's stable. (I will be adding a new preference to globally control whether FG works in online/offline mode, of course)[2]
— James Turner
  1. James Turner (Tue, 11 Jun 2013 08:58:20 -0700). TerraSync libSVN replacement testing.
  2. James Turner (Fri, 20 Sep 2013 09:54:38 -0700). [Flightgear-devel] Built-in Svn client code crashing.

FGCom integration

FlightGear's realtime voice communication system FGCom has been integrated into FlightGear this month. The feature requires a lot of testing and everyone using the development version of FlightGear is invited to communicate every bug found. A new server has been created (fgcom.flightgear.org) that is designed for testing up to FlightGear 3.0.

FGCom dialog available in FlightGear versions later than 2.12

Integrated FGCom provides new features like:

  • Dynamic range calculation depending on altitude of aircraft
  • Server selectable at runtime
  • Recordable ATIS messages
  • 25KHz frequency support

More information and documentation can be found in Integrating FGCom.

Project Rembrandt

A number of Mac users have been reporting issues related to running Project Rembrandt (deferred rendering/shadows) on Mac OSX with ATI/AMD GPUS, we are now looking for Mac users to provide feedback on running Rembrandt on Mac OSX, required information includes errors and warnings shown during startup/runtime, but also screen shots showing any issues. Please see: Project Rembrandt#Mac Issues.

Getting involved as a programmer

Unfortunately, most of the active FG developers are currently very overstretched in terms of the areas that they have ownership of, which is affecting how much can actually be done. Fundamentally we need more core devs.

If you are interested in contributing as a core developer, please see Howto:Start core development.

Release ChangeLog

This section lists changes committed this month that will be available in the next release, these will be copied to the release changelog shortly before a release (for each month), so that we hopefully get a comprehensive list of new features.

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 multi-language then start at Help:Translate.
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 doch mit 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 FlightGear wiki todavía necesita ayuda para traducirla a varios lenguajes. Si estás interesado en hacer la FlightGear wiki multilingüe, entonces comienza en Help:Traducir.

In the hangar

Bendix King KT76A


Recently transponder over network has been implemented bringing more realism during ATC session. A new transponder, the Bendix King KT76A, has been added to the shared Aircraft/Instruments-3d folder with the following features:

  • Transponder over network
  • Tootip information
  • Knob animation
  • Custom texture
  • Mode A/C

See the dedicated article for instructions on how to use the transponder, or how to implement it in an aircraft.


DC-3 British Kestrel Airways Livery by Frank Göldner

Among others, there is a new livery by Frank Göldner for the DC-3/C-47 operated from October 1970 until November 1972 for the British Kestrel Airways. Download it from the FlightGear Livery Database also check the forum thread of DC-3/C-47 liveries This is a link to the FlightGear forum. where there are a lot of new entries.

Scenery corner

Independent Ramp Marshall

Omega95 has been working on a Nasal-based Ramp Marshall script. That was a prototype only to test the general script and the animations. He's now working on a larger system similar to the animated jetways to generalize this and make the animations independent.

Continue reading at Ramp Marshall...

Scenery model update forms

After a few (but long) months of waiting, it is finally possible to update existing 3D scenery models using the webforms! The form can be found at Update a model

This means that from now, you are able to improve models, such as adding details, fixing wrong scale, or even making them lighter and improve FlightGear performance. Some models indeed had some unseen vertices/faces/meshes or had useless two-sided faces, and fixing this mistakes won't affect overall details BUT will certainly improve performance!

Your changes will then be updated to TerraSync, making them available to everyone.

Suggested flights

Flying Magazine has a short article about the Brazilian Shuttle.

Community news


Web tools for ATC sessions extended to entire World

The web tool for ATC sessions at lenny64.free.fr which was previously mentioned in the April Newsletter has had a few extensions made on August 5th. The changes include:

  • It is now possible to schedule an ATC session anywhere in the World.
  • ATCs can now ask to receive an email when a flightplan is filed to or from his airport.
  • Filed flightplans are now listed at the end of the page.

In addition to that filling in flight plans have been simplified and there is now also an API for filing flight plans which, when registered for an individual API key, allows filing flight plans though HTTP GET requests (in essence through an URL with lots of parameters).

And finally ...


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.

To learn more about how the project works, please see this short essay This is a link to the FlightGear forum. written by Thorsten, for a more detailed article see How the FlightGear project works.

Call for volunteers

  • The Flightgear On Android team is looking for testers
  • The Target4Today team is looking for volunteers to help improving FlightGear's combat support
  • The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.