FlightGear Newsletter January 2012

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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.

Development news

2.6.0 release preparations

On January 17, the release branches were created from our Git repositories. From then on, no new features (and aircraft) shall be pushed. Only bug fixes are accepted. Development for the next release 2.8.0 has already started.

FlightGear 2.6.0 will be released on February 17!

Release candidates

In order to fix bugs we first need to identify them. That's what we create release candidates for. These are basically complete releases, meant for testing by a large group of people. As the actual release is still some time away, bugs found during these tests have a fair chance getting fixed. Do note that the earlier bugs are reported, the more time we'll have to fix them.

The release candidates are available at our website. Please help us create a release with a minimum amount of bugs!

Experiment: a bounty system

If somebody would like a specific feature implemented, it will be posted in the wiki. Then if somebody wants to take on the development, they can start it and if they feel they have fulfilled the requirements, they submit the project to the person who is offering the bounty.

If it is a feature that many people want, quite often more people are adding to the bounty and then each person decides individually if the result fits their ideas and if they want to pay the bounty.

A bounty is a specific amount of money for completing a specific task which can be claimed by an individual or group which completed that task.

Read on at Bounty (Overview).

Lightfield shaders

As part of the ongoing efforts to make the skydome scattering shader blend seamlessly into the terrain under all conditions, substantial work on getting sunrise and sunset conditions right has been done.

The eventual solution to the problems are lightfield shaders - the shader doesn not assume a single light source for the whole scene, but computes the incident light intensity and hue for each point of the scene dependent on position and altitude. This turns out particularly tricky for the fog, as the visible fog color is really a line integral along points with very different lighting - which is too slow to do real-time, so a good approximation scheme has to be used. The development effort for the lightfield shaders is easily five times the effort for the original terrain haze shader which handles everything during daytime - which illustrates a bit how complex problems sunrises are.

The shaders handle a variety of conditions and generate spectacular scenes, from the first glow of the predawn sky, via high altitude clouds lighting up before the terrain to full daylight.

Predawn sky light
Takeoff in predawn light
High altitude cloud glow

Among other things, the lightfield allows mountain summits and high altitude clouds to be illuminated by morning light before the lower terrain lights up. The scene is rendered faithfully from ground level up to low Earth orbit where the terminator line becomes visible, distorted by the terrain elevation pattern. As an example, here's the Alaska range from 24.000 ft and from 240.000 ft:

Alaska range from 24.000 ft
Alaska range from 240.000 ft

The action of the shaders interfaces with the environment conditions. For instance, high altitude haze makes the indirect ground light more red than blue since it causes substantial backscatter to the ground.

Sunrise without high altitude haze
Sunrise with high altitude haze

Cloud cover blocks the incident direct light on the haze layer and cause a change in hue of the haze illumination. The Local Weather system provides the necessary interface information - for instance at the egde of a cloud layer, direct light can reach underneath the layer and illuminate the haze, causing a change in the shader response. Also, the self-shading of the haze layer leads to a different haze hue on the ground and at higher altitude.

Sunrise in moderate cloud cover
Sunrise in thick Stratus cloud cover
Sunrise in strong cloud cover at layer edge

For low sun, additional shading of the terrain occurs - this is not shading of the terrain itself (which would be reasonably easy to approximate) but shading of the haze by the terrain. This effect goes away when the light attenuation in the fog is too strong:

Haze shading for high visibility
Haze shading for low visibility

All these effects do not currently mesh with other shaders. While eventually an integration with other projects is discussed, the lightfield shader code will hopefully make its appearance on Git soon as an optional feature.

As a preview, here's what may come next - a mode detailed light attenuation model in which the darker hue of the fog beneath clouds is really prominent.

More detailed attenuation model

Interview with a contributor (Durk Talsma)

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!

Read this and previous interviews at our website's archive.

  • What is your forum nickname?

Hehe, guess once. ☺

  • How long have you been involved in FlightGear?

Almost since the beginning, actually. I first heard about the project in 1997, when I got an email from Curt Olson, in response to a posting on the usenet newsgroup rec.aviation.simulators.

  • What are your major interests in FlightGear?

I like the open nature of the project and the possibility to contribute at various levels.

  • What projects are you working on right now?

I am actually doing several different things for FlightGear. My main project is developing a fully integrated AI air traffic system that contains autonomous vehicles, an ATC system that interacts with both AI controlled aircraft and with the user controlled aircraft. In addition to that, I am one of the editors of the main website, editor of the FlightGear facebook page, involved in the release process, code committer, and organizer of the annual FlightGear booth at FSWeekend in Lelystad (EHLE). In addition, I have recently taken over the administrator role for taxidraw.

  • What do you plan on doing in the future?

I don’t expect the AI system ever to be finished, so I’m fully concentrating my coding efforts on this project.

  • Why is it that you are interested in flight simulation or aviation in general?

As a kid I was fascinated by space travel, the Apollo missions to the moon, etc, watching every program on TV, and reading every book I could lay my hands on. As a six-year old, I visited Schiphol (EHAM) airport for the first time, and that sparked my fascination for the big jet airliners. Kind of like every kid at one stage, I wanted to become a pilot. My real interest in aviation didn’t start until I was nearly 20 though, after visiting an airshow at Leeuwarden airforce base (EHLE). This was around the same time as when I got my first PC, a second hand 286DX, which I bought from a relative living in Germany, with a 40 Mb hard disk and 1 Mb of ram. It had a German version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0 preinstalled. So, in addition to learning to “fly” I learned the German word for “crash” as well.

  • Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?

Yes absolutely. We are currently in the process of further improving our infrastructure, by setting up things like the release plan, formalizing the rules for commit access, aircraft maintenance, and we’re brainstorming about feature requirements for the long term. Firm ideas are present for modularization of the FlightGear code, and some ideas for an integrated launcher GUI have recently been coined in a very informal setting. It will certainly take quite some time before these plans are all realized, but I think that the project is more vital and alive as ever. I’m also just amazed at some of the recent developments, such as Frederic Bouvier’s project Rembrandt, Thorsten Renk’s, local weather system, or Martin Spott’s ongoing efforts to build a unified infrastructure for scenery generation.

  • What do you enjoy most about contributing to FlightGear?

I think there are a number of aspects that I really enjoy. One of them is the collaboration with other people. Being part of the development team, we’re all pretty much equals, and regardless of one’s age, background, occupation, political or religious conviction, we all share something we like and like to collaborate on. That is really enjoyable. It may also happen that somebody just jumps in and finds a solution in no time for a problem that has been cracking my brain for ages. For example, Adrian Musceac, recent work on generating AI traffic patterns was really something amazing. Likewise, I enjoy the interaction with many other talented people, such as Brett Harrison, who’s just so amazing at making convincing liveries. Obviously there are many other talented people around whom I really enjoy working with and it’s a shame I can’t name them all. Secondly, I also really enjoy having the privilege of being the first to experience a new feature for the first time. I was the first person ever to see the sun and moon appear in a desktop Flight Simulator, and that is a little bit special.

  • Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?

Yes, my original contribution to FlightGear was some code to calculate the position of the Sun, Moon, and even the planets. Both the sun and moon are pretty much taken for granted now, but back then (in 1997) FlightGear was the first PC based simulator that actually had a physical rendering of the sun and moon! Nobody will probably even see the planets, but I got the code almost for free, once I figured out how to calculate the solar and lunar positions, so their a little bit of an Easter egg. After finishing the celestial code, and before starting the AI traffic system, I initiated many projects that I subsequently handed over to others. As such, I have extended the time calculation code to deal with local time, and to allow the user control over the time of day, and implemented the original graphical user interface (GUI) system, and the original 2D cloud layers.

  • What advice can you give to new contributors who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?

Be optimistic, be naïve, be realistic, and start modestly. Set yourself an attainable goal! I should probably explain what I mean by this. When we started out, back in 1996-1997, we were what I would now describe as incredibly optimistic in the sense that we believed that we could pull this off, but we were also somewhat naïve in the sense that we really didn’t have any firm idea about the challenges that lay ahead. But, we were able to pull it off, so this shows that we were right after all. But, if you want to contribute don’t start with your magnum opus. Before starting out, take some time to familiarize yourself with the project, get to know the code base, data structure or workflow. In addition, making a good first impression helps. Over the years we’ve seen a tremendous amount of grand ideas and not many of them have materialized, so we’re naturally a little apprehensive: you may not find an immediate warm welcome, but if you do come up with a well thought-out idea, you may convince the development team, especially if you can substantiate your ideas with some working code to back it up.

  • Have you previously used other flight simulators or simulation software in general?

Well, as mentioned before, I started out with FS4, and have pretty much had every version since then, until FS2004. The latter version got me interested in the AI system. When I started playing with the FS2004 equivalent of the ATC system I and began to notice its programming flaws. Determined that I could do this better, I started drawing out my own plans, and since than, I haven’t really touched any other simulator.

  • How does FlightGear compare in your opinion?

I like FlightGear better because it’s a platform that is constantly moving. I almost exclusively run the cutting edge development version, so occasionally you’re in for a little surprise. Be it positive or negative. But that keeps things a little exciting to me.

  • Do you remember what first got you interested in FlightGear? How did you learn about FlightGear? In other words, why did you actually download and try FG?

Yeah, that’s a long story. I was reading the usenet rec.aviation.simulators quite frequently at the time, had been exploring Linux for a few years, and finished my C++ programming course at university. This was around 1997, so the Linux distros weren’t as advanced as they are these days, and you still had to do quite a lot yourselves. One particular afternoon, I came across a usenet posting, which read “OPEN LETTER TO ALL FLIGHTSIMULATOR DEVELOPERS”. This was around the time that Microsoft FS97 was the latest version, and many users were dissatisfied. The original poster wanted to write a letter, on behalf of every dissatisfied user, to ask for a better version, asking the big game companies to incorporate their wish list. I responded to the thread, stating that if we really wanted a sim of our own, we should probably do it ourselves. I remember being a little anxious, because I wasn’t sure whether I would actually be able to substantiate that claim, if we were to follow it up. So, a few days later, I was actually a little apprehensive when I opened up my mailbox and found an email from a guy named Curt Olson, inviting me to have a look at, what would eventually become the flightgear.org website. Well, the rest is history I guess...

  • What was your first impression about FlightGear?

That’s a really interesting question, because there was no FlightGear so to speak of. When I joined, Curt had hacked together a few proof-of-principle demos; the one I downloaded was called linux-demo-0.0.7.tar.gz, if I recall correctly, and it consisted of a small sample of elevation data from a chuck of terrain near Arizona, source code of a primitve (by today’s standards) OpenGL based viewer, a copy of Bruce Jackson’s larcsim FDM, and a simple keyboard interface. But it was exciting to get it to compile, and run!

  • Compared to other flight simulation software, what are FlightGear's major benefits in your opinion?

It’s scalability, open architecture, and the fact that it can be a great test bed for ideas, as well as the fact that there is no need for third party add-ons. By bringing every suitable user contribution into a single repository, we essentially create our own add-ons, and in the long run that should remove the burden from the end user to search for extensions.

  • Do you think it is necessary to know how to program in order to contribute to FlightGear?

No way. In fact it never really has been a requirement, even in the old days when there was a lot more emphasis on C++ development, we already had a need for non-coding developers. Think about documentation writers, etc. These days, the balance is actually really shifting away from programming to artwork. The FlightGear world is essentially still largely an empty place, so we really have a need for high-quality buildings. Many of the exciting developments going on right now are in the development of new scenery textures, 3D modeling, and livery painting. These are actually skills that I essentially lack, so I have a lot of respect for the people working in these areas.

  • Have you ever used FlightGear professionally or for educational purposes?

I once tried in my previous job, but the computer we bought for the project had serious overheating issues, so the project never really came off the ground. In the mean time, I found a different job, so the project was shelved.

  • What about FlightGear as a "game", do you think it can be used as such?

Probably, I like to use FlightGear purely for fun, so usually I just make up my own challenges, such as performing a bad weather landing, taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier, or playing with my latest AI/ATC code. Once finished, the ATC code will add a little bit of a game element, because it will expect you to fly specific routes, arrive at specific locations at a specific time, so as not to clash with other traffic etc etc. The system isn’t finished yet, but with some hacking I did quite recently manage to complete a traffic circuit under guidance of the ATC system, and it’s quite tricky to do right. So, there are some “gamey” aspects of FlightGear that are quite realistic and hopefully challenging. Having said that, I see absolutely no need for any formal gaming rules, or game like features such as setting off explosives and the like. Like many of the other developers, I like to keep FlightGear civil(ized). I don’t object to simulating military aviation though, as long as it doesn’t serve the purpose of glorifying death and destruction.

  • On average, how much time do you spend working with/contributing to FlightGear?

Hard to say, it varies quite a bit with my day job requirements, but I think on average maybe one or two hours a day.

  • Which of the more recent FlightGear developments do you consider most interesting/appealing?

There are quite a few. Of the individual projects, I really think that project Rembrandt (Frederic Bouvier’s shadow rendering code) is really exciting. But so is the new effort to unify all the shaders, the atmospheric haze and scattering, and Thorsten Renk’s local weather. I’m also quite happy with the progress we made with the AI traffic/ATC system, even though it’s not finished yet. But, what I think is perhaps even more exciting are some of the long-term infrastructural changes we have recently discussed. I can’t say too much about that yet, because many of the ideas haven’t been formalized yet, but making FlightGear more modularized by making use of HLA technology, and perhaps a more integrated GUI and launcher program are some of the exciting developments that I can see happening in a few years from now.

  • Is there some feature that you'd truly like to see in FlightGear one day?

Yeah, there are some. Obviously, I’d like to see my own project come to it’s full potential, but in addition to that, I would like to see full scenery development of the polar regions of our planet. One year ago I visited Antarctica in real life, and this is just a very exciting area for flying. I’d also like to see the possibility of lower earth orbital space flight, more seamless terrain textures.

  • What do you think could be done to attract even more new users and contributors to FlightGear?

Establish a good balance between developing new stuff and doing some public relations work. For the project the key question for survival is not to attract many users, but to attract potential contributors. Obviously, the way to do this is to attract many users, and to hope that there will be a few potential contributors among them.

  • What about interacting with the FlightGear community? Any tips/experiences you'd like to share?

Nothing really special; just use your everyday courtesy, and keep realizing that we’re all volunteers. I’m usually not that active on the forum or mailing list, but I can tell from 15 years of experience that an intelligent and reasonable response is far more likely to create some momentum than a hurried response that is written in a spur of emotion. Also, I have observed that there is hardly any relation between action and words on either the mailing list or the forum. So when you're new to the community, just hang around, get to know the characters and try to establish whom you can trust to be a knowledgeable source of information and who just raises a lot of dust.

  • Have you ever recommended FlightGear to other users, friends/family?

Not really, my friends and family aren’t really into flight simulation.

  • Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Yeah, have a lot of fun, and if you can try to contribute something to the project.

Read this and previous interviews at our website's archive.

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 download via the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.flightgear.org/download/. Updates and feedback can be found at the forum This is a link to the FlightGear forum..

New openSUSE FlightGear repository

openSUSE now provides a dedicated FlightGear repository continuously delivering ready-to-use binaries of the latest development version ("Git" version) of the FlightGear Flight Simulator and many related utilities. The binaries are regularly updated (not daily, but about weekly for FlightGear and a bit less often for the utilities).

The repository currently provides:

More utilities may be added, if someone is able to provide the necessary build script to pack the RPM.

After installation, all tools should be pretty much pre-configured, and can directly be launched from the menu.

For installation, use this link to select your openSUSE version and install fgrun + flightgear. Alternatively, you can add openSUSE's games:FlightGear:Unstable repository manually. After installation, you can select and install more FG-related utilities directly from YaST.

Remember, the Unstable repository always provides the latest development version, which may not be suitable for inexperienced users.

Until FlightGear 2.6.0 is released, this repository provides FlightGear 2.6.0 release candidates, so you can help with testing the new release. After the official release, FlightGear 2.6.0 and a stable version of all utilities will be available in the openSUSE games repository, while this Unstable repository keeps tracking the development versions (you could switch back to games after the 2.6.0 release).

Maybe we can find volunteers to set up a similar service for other Linux distros, or at least try to add stable versions of FlightGear and all its friend-utilities to the distros, so Linux users no longer need to compile all utilities from scratch and solve installation issues.

In the hangar

All the way back in May 2011, we adopted a new status-rating system for aircraft. So far, only a few have actually been rated, as can be seen in the list 'hockenberry' set up at Google Docs. 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.

New aircraft

  • The Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" has been added by helijah to his hangar.

Updated aircraft

Douglas DC-3 C47

The Douglas DC-3 C47 has been updated by the PAF team. The improvements have mainly been made ​​in the cockpit because that is where pilots spend most of their time (hopefully!), but many other details have been given around.

Sneak preview

Sneak preview.jpg

If you know aircraft you know what is being cooked here on this image. Hang on while Syd, Xsain and PH-JBO are banging on the metal. Soon we will have a new one, with the thingies on the wings. I already know what you don't, it will be stunning!


All liveries that were not available as downloads have been removed from the livery database. Most of those got lost when the former server suddenly quit (all the way back in December 2009). As we were able to save the list of liveries, they ended up in the database eventough the files got lost.

To save liveries from future server failures, backups are nowadays made on a regularly basis.

Scenery corner

Topologically clean datasets

A Dutch artificial island currently under construction, as visualized with CLC2000 (top) and CLC2006 (lower) and OSM data.

Martin now has what should be topologically clean CLC2000v15 and VMap0 edition 5.0 datasets. These have been loaded into the Landcover-DB as replacements for the old VMap0 and CLC layers.

Thanks to the great folks at GRASS GIS, most notably Markus M., the procedure of cleaning large vector datasets like CORINE is now a matter of just a few days and runs on a machine with far less than 32 GByte of main memory! One year ago, cleaning CORINE took about one and a half months to complete just one single (!) of multiple iterations and you never knew if somebody would reboot the server while the job was still running (which actually happened several times).

Having topologically clean datasets is a very important step for at least two reasons:

  1. TerraGear's overall stability is expected to increase with topologically clean vector data.
  2. Merging custom land cover data (like John Holden's great work) into the "Custom Scenery" layer (at MapServer) had been failing in some cases due to topological inconsistencies. These failures are expected to disappear with topologically clean vector data.
  3. As soon as the various tools are working in a predictable manner, the driving motivation behind all the effort can be revived, which is to build an infrastructure for re-compiling the respective terrain tiles on a regular, maybe daily schedule after the land cover has been updated in a certain region.

A clean CLC2006 is provided as well, but because that one's still incomplete (and work in progress, actually) CLC2000 is considered more important. CLC2006 focused mainly on the identification and mapping of land cover changes between 2000 and 2006.[1] All land cover changes bigger than 5 ha have been mapped. CLC2006 is significantly more up to date in some areas, as can be seen in the image on the right.

Shared object deletion script

Olivier has a new script for you, it's here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/shared/index_delete.php

Just give the position of the shared object you want to delete, give a small comment on why you are deleting. After human validation, it will be deleted from the database and you should no more see it in Terrasync a few days later.

TerraGear GUI updates

After a couple of months of little (to none) development, Gijs released a new Windows binary of the TerraGear GUI. Other OS are supported, but require it to be build from source.

The GUI runs pretty stable now, provides helpfull error messages and can guide you through the entire process of scenery generation. Updates include:

  • OpenStreetMap and CORINE2006 added to the download feature. Material suggestions are given as well for those.
  • Up to date with today's TerraGear builds.
  • Most tools have a progress bar to give you a live overview of the progress.
  • Removed unnecessary texts and error messages.
  • Resizable dialog with proper layouting.

Besides all that, several (small) bugs have been fixed.

Dutch windturbines

Overviewing the 60 wind turbines of Prinsess Amaliawindpark, 20km west of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands have slightly less than 1900 windturbines at the moment. Since this month, 757 of them are in FlightGear!

Adding them is relatively easy. Since we have a generic windturbine model available (Models/Power/windturbine.xml), it's just a matter of finding the GPS coordinates. Some of the larger windparks list locations on their websites. Other windturbines can be positioned based on the FlightGear scenery (with CORINE data, for more accuracy), or via satellite imagery. Some countries even have a site similar to this website from the Dutch government, that has a map that shows the locations of all windturbine(park)s.

Locations for windturbines and other shared objects can be easily submitted via the new submission form, that we mentioned in last month's newsletter.

For the offshore Prinses Amaliawindpark, a custom windturbine model has been made. Resembling the Vestas V80-2.0 MW edition. The model can be easily re-used on other offshore windparks, via the method described above.


Congonhas - Brazil


The Airport of Congonhas is currently being modeled, completely from scratch, by the Grupo FG BR. Download our logo and link us, please.

FlightGear users

360 degrees motion simulator

Contributed by Samuel DeRose

Several years ago during a trip to Washington DC, my family got tickets to a flight simulator ride at the Air and Space Museum. All of us were amazed at the innovation of the Smithsonian's interactive simulator ride, having grown accustom to the common, mediocre, hydraulic-platform simulators often seen at carnivals and amusement parks. These simulators could roll 360 degrees, continuously, and could tilt about 30 degrees along the pitch axis.

Inspired by that experience, our group ("Team Viper") is attempting to create an even better version. Like the one at the Air and Space Musuem, ours will roll 360 degrees. In addition we also intend to allow 360 degrees of motion along the pitch axis. Since our family are huge Battlestar Glactica fans we thought it would be fun to theme the interior of the simulator as a Viper fighter from the show.

One big challenge for us is the physical construction of the simulator, but an even greater feat lies in the software to control the motion platform. In order for the game to feel real (and also to avoid motion sickness), the visuals that will be displayed across three 22" monitors need to be fully synced to what the rider feels in his inner ear and his stomach. Thankfully we found FlightGear, which allows us to easily read the plane's flight dynamics from the sim so we can calculate the angles to orient the motion platform.

More info, videos and updates at the website: the-viper.org

Worldwide unique paragliding simulator

ActiveFly is a simulator just for paragliding. It let's you practice paragliding on the ground.

Cquote1.png In order to make practicing with the ActiveFly Simulator as realistic as possible, the harness as well as the risers and brakes are suspended below a frame in such a way that they can be operated. The brakes are extended and retracted via servos, simulating steering forces as they occur in a particular situation. The pilot will try to keep these forces constant by pulling or releasing the brakes. His actions can be viewed on a monitor and subsequently evaluated, allowing him to check the results and monitor progress as he develops his piloting skills.

As visualizing system they use FlightGear.

Some bigger images which shows the sim in action can be found in this gallery.

Maybe they should use some of our new generated sceneries. But great to see how FlightGear can be used in many ways!

Airport of the month

EDDI Tempelhof Belin.jpg

One of the few airports that has written history, that has changed it. The Berlin Tempelhof Airport is in the city of Berlin. The scenery on the airport includes historic buildings, rotating antennas, a fire-drill location and many historic aircraft. Around the airport you will discover an amazing scenery. If you have ever been to Berlin, you can navigate using the landmarks and easy find your way around (towards the bierstubes at the Kudamm). Visit this place soon since the airport has been closed and will one day disappear from the map, once they figure out what to do with the terrain.

More reading at Wikipedia

Screenshot of the month


Cessna 172P near San Francisco flying over the ocean.

Suggested flights

Khorog, Tajikistan

Approaching a bank of snow-covered mountains in the south of the Hindu Kush

Surrounded by spectacular mountains and nestled in the end of a valley, Khorog Airfield (UT1C) makes an interesting place to land. It can only be approached by flying down the curved valley that snakes in from the North. Flying from here to OPCH (Chitral, Pakistan) at around 500ft AGL all the way is a wonderful way to explore the Hindu Kush mountains.

If you bring a piston engined aircraft, be prepared to adjust the mixture as you climb - at the highest point in the flight, you will be at around 22000ft. Also, don't forget to carry plenty of fuel - there are very few airfields in the Hindu Kush that exist in FlightGear. This is a scenery bug that will hopefully be fixed in the future.

More amazing places to visit can be found at Suggested Flights.

Wiki updates

As of January, Hooray is part of the wiki team. He'll remove spam, lock newsletters after publicitation and you can contact him in case of problems. The team now exists of the following people:

Community news

FlightGear on YouTube

12 Days of Flight Tips

From December 26th to January 6th, Oscar uploaded a daily series in which he gave quick tips in flying and the use of FlightGear.

Or watch all the episodes in a playlist.

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.

Call for volunteers

  • The OpenRadar project is looking for a new maintainer.
  • The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.

Then and now

My first contact with Flightgear was 0.91 which came with my Linux distribution. I've always enjoyed flying carrier ops - we've just come a long way in visual quality. The left picture is from my old album documenting my 0.91 adventures, the right is using the shader technology of 2.6.0.

Carrier-ops-0.91.jpg Carrier-ops-2.5.jpg