FlightGear Newsletter March 2020

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Please help us write the coming edition!
March 2020

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.

Folding at Home - Help conquer Corona and other diseases

Cquote1.png I just set up a team FlightGear in Folding at Home. This program, initiated by Stanford University, allows the average user to contribute computer power to medical research. You can read all about it on it's website. I discovered FAH a few days ago and since I have quite some pc power, decided to let my pc be used by FAH when I don't need the computer power. Because I 'm surely not the only one in this community with a fancy graphics card or cpu, I decided to setup a FlightGear team. When you decide to join Folding at Home, please feel free to enter 247139 as your team number. Let us show that FlightGear is not only about improving a virtual world, but also about improving the physical one!.

You can follow our team efforts here.

Development news

Flightgear 2020.1 preparations

This section is a stub. You can help the wiki by expanding it.

Discussion about the upcoming 2020.1 release is underway and will have progressed on the sourceforge devel mailing list by the time this newsletter releases. See here

Contact the devel mailing list if you have features or fixes you want to get in.

Use the sourceforge tickets to report bugs or raise issues.

Nightly builds: available at download.flightgear.org.

Compositor and new renderers are in a state for beta testing in 2020.1 nightly branch

This section is a stub. You can help the wiki by expanding it.
Eurocopter EC135 showing shadows on the ground with the compositor enabled. Not yet available for all.

Nightly builds with the Compositor as an option will become available soon, likely in April, at download.flightgear.org.

Meanwhile, Windows users can download the latest changed compositor files, and then extract over the contents of the /bin folder, replacing non-compositor files in the process. Remember to back up the old /bin folder. The relevant Compositor pipeline can be activated with the correct command-line option from the Compositor wiki page e.g. "--compositor=Compositor/als" for the new ALS.

See here for hints at some of new graphical features coming with the new ALS. There is also a low spec renderer to replace the old default renderer. Usual disclaimer: Not everything may make it to first release - I personally don't know, some things may turn out to not be the best option, or viable.

See the forum thread for screenshots.

Please test

Each combination of Operating System version, graphics driver version, and GPU is unique with its possible quirks and you should test for new issues on your system.

UI features in 2020.1 nightly

The in-sim launcher now supports a basic dialog for Aircraft Carriers thanks to James Turner. For refinements submit feedback using tickets or mailing list). To select a carrier click on the ship icon next to the location search bar to see a list of available carriers. The USS Harry S. Truman is a highly detailed carrier positioned off the picturesque Hawaiian island of O'Hau near PHNL.

There are also a number of other changes like being able to toggle scenery and aircaft add-on folders in lists using a check box.

Article of the month

Raspberry Pi4 running flightGear. One touchscreen and Raspberry P3 A+ with Phi PFD and a second with Phi radio stack.
The Official 7" Touch Screen for the Raspberry Pi with an external numeric keypad.

It is now possible to run FlightGear on a Raspberry Pi, starting with the model Pi 4. The objective of Howto:Build and run FlightGear on Raspberry Pi 4 is to introduce Pi users to FlightGear and possibly FlightGear users to the Raspberry Pi family. One of the main objectives of the Raspberry Pi is education. Hopefully, this marriage will introduce some young programmers to FlightGear.

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 migrating to the OpenGL Core profile - 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 Windows 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 [1]

In the hangar


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

Scenery corner

Australia scenery project test releases

Frtps has released scenery for the Queensland-New South Wales border to test combining landcover data sources from different states in preparation to rebuild the entire continent and make it available via TerraSync. The materials and textures pack has been updated. Downloads available from the FGAU website.

The Australia scenery project is coordinated through github and the forum thread is here. The project aims to combine multiple data sources using scripts, which can then be leveraged to generate other parts of the world.

The scenery features recent additions to scenery generation and/or rendering including improved cliffs, plantations etc. also by frtps. To see these you would need a nightly build.

New Zealand scenery and materials release

ProfessorS has released rebuilt scenery and some updated materials and textures for the whole of New Zealand. He has indicated the scenery is now ready for upload to Terrasync

Forum thread, download link.

Rhode Islands and Massachusetts

Montagdude has released scenery for Rhode Islands and Massachusetts in the USA.

Forum thread and download.

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 flightsims. 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

En.gif The FlightGear Wiki still needs help for translating it into various languages. If you are interested in making the FlightGear Wiki multilingual, you can start by looking at Help:Translate.
Fr.gif Le wiki de FlightGear a toujours besoin d'aide pour être traduit en différentes langues. Si vous êtes intéressé par le rendre multilingue, commencez par lire Help:Traduire.
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 mit dem 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 wiki de FlightGear todavía necesita ayuda para traducirla a varios lenguajes. Si estás interesado en hacer la FlightGear wiki multilingüe, entonces comienza en Help:Traducir.
Cat.gif La wiki de FlightGear encara necessita ajuda per traduir-la a diverses llengües. Si esteu interessat en fer la wiki de FlightGear multilingüe, llavors comenceu a Help:Traduir.
Pt.gif A wiki de FlightGear ainda necessita de ajuda para traduzi-la em vários idiomas. Se estás interessado em tornar a wiki de FlightGear multi-lingual, por favor começa em Help:Traduzir.
Zh.gif FlightGear 百科仍然需要志愿者将其翻译为各种语言。如果你有兴趣让FlightGear百科支持更多语言, 你可以查看 Help:Translate.

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 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, 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.

Thanks for reading FlightGear Newsletter March 2020!