FlightGear Newsletter February 2018
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) 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.
Torsten was able to create a small chunk of scenery with his Docker image. For some reason, it turned out be be Hawaii ;-) After some facepalm moments and a couple of retries, here is the result: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qu5ysxbv7j1mkmy/PHNL-draft.jpg?dl=1 Created from SRTM-1 elevation data, NLCD landcover pulled straight from Martin's landcover database and airports layout from today's X-Plane gateway.
Martin kindly granted direct read access to his database so Torsten can run ogr-decode with the Postgres datasource pulling in the raw data instead of using exported shapefiles (speeds up things a lot and saves many GB of disk space) It still needs some more tweaking (most notable, there are no OSM roads yet) and Torsten expects some suprises when processing large scale data. Anyway - this is a major step forward in becoming able to create regular scenery updates automatically. Definitely not for 2018.1 - but with a good chance later this year. This scenery has been created on a machine knowing _nothing_ about FlightGear, no simgear, no terragear, not even a C++ compiler. Just a plain Linux box with docker installed and our terragear image started as a container. A _huge_ THANK YOU to Martin for preparing this excellent data set and making it available!  Torsten now has set up a Jenkins task here: https://scenery.flightgear.org/jenkins/job/Hybris/
Currently, it is able to prepare the elevation data, chop the landcover database, fetch airports from the X-Plane gateway and finally build our tiles. While typing this, the job is busy with performing the first run for the entire globe. If it succeeds, it will mirror the resulting Terrain to http://dream.t3r.de/hybris/ which is a valid TerraSync source (it will have .dirindex files) Open items:
- Create a scenemodels-DB export for the 1.2Mio entries in the /Objects directory (Torsten first needs to add multi-tennancy to the scenemodels DB to support different sets of Terrain-Elevations)
- Add /Models and /Airports directories, too.
- Create apt.dat.g for the airports used Torsten'll publish the scripts to a public git repository soon.
In the hangar
Heiko Schulz recently published an update of the Cessna 182S, delivering a huge step forward in realism for that plane to the public, thanks to the hard team work of Heiko, Gilberto Agostinho and Benedikt Hallinger.
This was achieved so far:
- Aircraft performance matches the POH closely now in virtually all altitudes (<5% difference!).
- Davtron clock now shows the time and temperatures and also features a stopwach. The Flight timer ("FT") is reset by pressing the control-button longer than 3 secs; the elapsed-time ("ET") is started by the first press, stopped by the second and reset by the third. To cycle temperatures or battery voltage, press the red knob (voltage is signified by "E" after the value).
- Checklists allow you to follow trough the POH operations.
- New fuel system simulates not only the selection of the tank, but also crossfeed in unbalanced flights and gravity influences.
- Priming is simulated realistically if you enable "complex engine procedures" in the aircraft options. For a successfull engine start, follow the checklist. In colder weather, let the fuel flow a little longer, about 1-2 secs. If it is too cold, use the preheater (-> Ground Equipment) to preheat the engine.
If the engine is "warm" (~75°F), you can omit priming altogether (as long as the remaining fuel in the manifold did not disperse; if it is dry, such like before the first start, inject some small fuel ammount by priming procedure).
- Also be sure in your preflight check to remove water contamination not only in the wing tanks, but also the fuel strainer (right front) and fuel selector (below aircraft)
- In Winter (<20°F/-6°C), you can apply the winterization kit (plates that blocks part of the front air intake) to keep the oil sufficient warm. When the oil is too cold, the engine will cough and not develop full power.
- If you don't heat the cabin, frost and fog will appear on the interior windows. To remove it, open the windows, and pull the defrost lever.
- Oil usage is now also implemented. Be sure to check the oil level in preflight (cap on left nose top) and also conduct an oil change every 50 hours or so, otherwise the oil gets worn out and consumption rates will rise significantly.
- Start-up states are available now. You may either use all settings of the last session or choose one of "cold-and-dark" / "ready for takeoff" / "cruise". The "Auto" option selects from the last three depending on the startup situation (parking position->cold-and-dark; runway->RfT, in-air->cruise). For more details see the section below.
- The GMA 340 Audio panel is now functional and allows fine tuning of radios, NAV/DME/ADF idents and marker beacons.
- The radio stack received many bugfixes and small additions and should be fully functional now; for example the DME now works correctly with the preset frequency.
- The Transponder default VFR-Code (which is activated by pressing the VFR-Button) can now be customized by setting the
- The electrical system was enhanced and now all circuit breakers are working. The electrically driven instruments also behave correctly to loss of power now.
- A new livery with custom registration is available.
- Clickspots have been improved
- On-screen help texts are now available for nearly all cockpit elements
Basicly, the Cessna saves all switches and important states between sessions now. In addition, it supports different startup states. You can control these states from the ingame aircraft options dialog. Flightgear initializes to the selected state from the last session automatically at startup unless overridden through the launcher using the
The default state is
auto which means that the state selection depends on the configured startup position: When you select a runway position, the plane is ready-for-takeoff; selecting a parking position yields a parked plane and configuring an in-air position makes the C182S cruise. If you choose "saved" state, the plane always initializes like you have left it behind the last time.
You can of course override the currently persisted state setting through the launcher. This makes Flightgear initialize the selected state just for this session (the stored ingame setting is not changed). This makes it very easy to set up Flightgear for example to practice approaches. The state initializing reacts intelligently and adjusts saved state for the given startup situation (remove tiedowns when in-air for example).
These states are available trough the launcher:
--state=autoAutomatically set state depending on position (in-air=cruise; parking=parking any other=take-off).
--state=parkingCold-And-Dark as well as secured to ground; before preflight checks.
--state=take-offReady for Takeoff with engine idling.
--state=cruiseEngine on and set to cruise (use with in-air-start)
--state=approachEngine on and set to cruise (use with in-air-start)
With an in-air-start, airspeed gets initialized to 100kts unless otherwise specified >0 (e.g.
--vc=5 or selection in launcher).
- Approach to EDDM:
fgfs --aircraft=c182s --state=auto --airport=EDDM --offset-distance=6 --altitude=3500 --timeofday=noon
- Power-off Approach to EDDM:
fgfs --aircraft=c182s --state=take-off --airport=EDDM --offset-distance=6 --altitude=3500 --timeofday=noon(->engine idles; adding
--state=parkinggives the funny experience of gliding with all
hopepower lost and blocked pitot)
Complex engine procedures:
If you activate the new Complex engine Procedures and failures option, the engine handling gets much more realistic. Especially the engine needs priming before it can start (see above article, ingame checklists and/or POH for reference). If you prime too much, you can flood the engine (put mixture to idle cutoff and throttle to 1/2 to full, then crank. When engine fires, set mixture to full rich and throttle to idle). If it is too cold, you need to preheat the engine. If the engine oil gets too cold, then the engine cannot develop full power and may also cough, so be sure to apply the winter kit if temperature is permanently below -6°C/20°F.
When you futher enable Allow Fuel Contamination, the fuel system may be contaminated with water/sediments, so be sure to properly preflight the plane correctly: Inspect the wing tanks (bottom of tanks), the fuel selector valve (below plane) and the fuel strainer (right lower front near the cowl flap).
With Allow Oil Management enabled, the engine will consume Oil. Consumption rate depends mainly on engine RPM but also on the oil age. You can refill and change the oil using the oil management dialog which you can access by clicking on the oil filler cap (located on left top nose). If the oil level gets too low, the oil temperature will increase to the point where the lubrication film will rip, bringing the engine to a sudden halt.
New LIEO custom Airport/Scenery
maxkant1 has developed the new custom airport and scenery of Olbia Costa Smeralda (LIEO).
For a quick look, please watch this video
More details in the forum
Download the package here and enjoy!
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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 February 2018 is The Sound of Silence by Starsheep
If you want to participate in the screenshot contest of March, 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 March.
Thanks for reading FlightGear Newsletter February 2018!