FlightGear Newsletter November 2020

From FlightGear wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

2020.3 LTS released

2020.3 was released on November 6th 2020. Read the release notice and changelog for what's new.

2020.3.x is a Long Term Stable release (LTS). Bug fixes will be backported, and the build maintained, for a much longer period than development preview builds.

Keflavik Airport (BIKF), in south-west Iceland, is the featured airport.

There is an additional development preview binary of the work-in-progress Compositor bundled with the LTS, like in the 2020.1 preview build.

OSM2City scenery for the whole of Iceland was built for the LTS earlier this year, but is not bundled due to the innosetup installer size limit. It is available from the OSM2City download list page.

The first version released on the flightgear.org website is labelled 2020.3.2. 2020.3.1 was a preliminary soft release to find bugs and installer issues.

For upcoming point releases of the 2020.3.x LTS, the current plan is to include some minor improvements like launcher UI tweaks, as well as bug fixes.

The road ahead

See Help wanted.

There are a lot of big infrastructure changes already nearly completed, well underway, and planned. These will be for the LTS after 2020.3.x.

With the LTS released, a lot of big changes have already been merged into the "next" branch:

  • Compositor rendering framework - next has switched to the Compositor.
  • World Scenery 3.0 (next generation scenery) initial deployment. WS 3.0 uses Virtual Planet Builder instead of terragear for terrain building.
  • Composite Viewer - This allows Flightgear to have multiple top-level windows showing independent views of the scenery, and will also allow implementation of things like cockpit rear-view mirrors and cockpit displays of external views (tail cams, gear view etc). Screenshot

Some other big infrastructure changes being worked on, but not on next: replacement of the in-sim UI using Qt, infrastructure for regular world builds, runtime airport generation, move to a higher version of OpenGL (4.x is planned), OSM2City world build and OSM2City tech improvements etc.

If you are wondering when Flightgear will move to Vulkan using the newly released Vulkan Scene Graph (VSG) which is the successor to OSG that FG currently uses, VSG will be looked at after the current set of infrastructure and OpenGL 4.x according to plans mentioned by devs - as Vulkan Scene Graph hopefully should be mature and stable by then.

For those curious, keep and eye on the 'next' branch, or the nightly builds. The history of changes on 'next' can be viewed by clicking the "History" link for each repository on the sourceforge website: FlightGear , SimGear , FGData

The 'next' branch will build towards the next Development Preview release, and ultimately the next LTS. As always, nightly builds of the next branch are available at download.flightgear.org.

Core development is coordinated via the fg-devel mailing list, to get involved you can just sign up on the sourceforge page.

Photo texture support

Nathaniel Warner (nathaniel515) has submitted a patch to allow orthophoto textures to optionally be used and this is available in nightlies - see the forum thread. This works with current WS 2.0 scenery.

Updates to the FG homepage

Developers, there is a wiki draft page here to write a description of improvements since 2018.3 LTS to your craft or feature, with several accompanying screenshots.

James has said he is willing to review and update the homepage if material is submitted to the wiki, or otherwise handed over to him:

James Turner [1] : If anyone wants to do an article on a particular aircraft or feature for the Website, that would be excellent: don’t be shy: if you can provide some text and a couple of screenshots, it can be turned into a post easily.

These will be published as news posts after 2020.3 LTS release, maybe about a week apart, or when material is available. If there is not enough material, several small items can be collected into a news post.

For screenshots, it's possible to pause the sim and turn up settings, if you normally have settings lower on an older laptop or similar - there may be suitable screenshots already submitted SOTM section in the forum under CC-BY-SA-4.0 that have not been uploaded to the wiki high settings screenshots category yet.

The most important things are the points about what to write, and some screenshots. Don't worry if wording or English is not perfect, it can be adjusted later. Knowledge of wiki syntax isn't needed for a simple draft, just click edit and type. URLs to screenshots can simply be pasted if you don't know how to upload, along with a note giving CC-BY-SA-4.0 permission.

Virtual FSWeekend Hackathon 2020 report

The Hacakthon was a success with a lot of contributors new to the project and contributors in non-core areas starting with core code and FGData contributions. See StuartB's writeup on the Hacakathon and lessons learned

Normally in mid-November a group of FlightGear enthusiasts participate in FSWeekend at Lelystad Airport in the Netherlands. Over the years this has been a focal point for both finishing existing development/releases and a catalyst for new ideas in FlightGear, as well as an opportunity for FlightGear enthusiasts to share a beer. FSWeekend 2020 was cancelled, so to keep the spirit alive, a Virtual FSWeekend Hackathon was held.

The current thought is to look at having a Hackathon every year, but at a different time to FSWeekend.

The hack projects/areas worked on were: CompositeViewer and Canvas, Controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC), Feature Scaling, OSM2City Facades ), POH Checklists , Wake from AI Aircraft, WS3.0 Effects/Scenery

A substantial amount of the results from the Hacakathon are already merged on the next branch (and available on nightlies).

New software tools and projects


FGCom-Mumble aims to provide a mumble based FGCom implementation. This will simulate radio communications in a seamless frequency spectrum.

The project aims to be easy to use: Pilots just install the plugin, open mumble, join a channel on a mumble server and start using their radio stack in Flightgear.

The development is discussed in the FGCom-mumble topic on the forum This is a link to the FlightGear forum.. Releases can be downloaded from GitHub.

The project also has a flightgear wikipage: FGCom-mumble

Test server available!

I was able to get a small virtual linux server and deployed a test bed onto it.

I did already test this and i think it works fine. There is an outstanding issue with ATIS broadcasts stopping after a short while, but i currently think this is a library bug somewhere else.

To connect/use, you need to self-compile mumble; i wrote a small guide for debian/bullseye. Or you try the precompiled one: http://fgcom.hallinger.org/mumble-fgcom-test.tar.gz

We should gather around to get a small testing event :) Feel free to chime in at the forums thread topic on the forum This is a link to the FlightGear forum.!

Red Griffin ATC 2.0 released

Antonello Biancalana (Red Griffin) has released version 2.0 of his speaking Air Traffic Controller (ATC) Addon. This addon uses TTS, and simulates an AI ATC. This is also available from FGAddon.

For feedback see the Red Griffin ATC - Speaking ATC addon for FlightGear topic on the forum This is a link to the FlightGear forum. thread.

Demo of a previous version of the ATC addon:

Demonstration video of a previous version of the Red Griffin ATC addon for an older version of Flightgear. Video from March 2020.

In the hangar

New aircraft

C172S with FG1000

Wlbragg and the C172 team are working on the Cessna 172S SkyHawk SP, with the FG1000 glass cockpit.

The team are requesting thorough testing to find any needed tuning changes and missing elements.

The engine and systems work is already available, done, or will be completed shortly.

The team are placing a request/call for help with "exterior and interior cabin modeling" to make this a complete C172S.

See the forum thread for more information and screenshots (Newest: 1, Older: 2, 3, 4).

Github repository and downloads:

Airbus A320

The Airbus A320 family is available on the 2020.3 LTS release. This is a complete overhaul/replacement that has been worked on for many years by a team before releasing on LTS. It has the most detailed systems of glass cockpit airliners currently released in FGAddon, and a JSBSim FDM.

Airbus A320

Eurocopter AS532 Cougar

FGUK have released the Eurocopter AS532 Cougar This is a link to a Wikipedia article now known as the Airbus Helicopters H215M and it's military variant the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma This is a link to a Wikipedia article. This is a twin engine multi-purpose helicopter.

Features: 90% Accurate FDM. 7 Configuration options, 15 Liveries. Multiplayer crew / Passenger function. ALS Glass and fuselage effects with livery specific reflection levels. Rotor wash on grass effects. Functional Winch man. Search and Recovery function for recovering other downed choppers over Multiplayer.

For more details, screenshots, and download see the forum thread.

Airbus AS352 Cougar - a development video showing a return trip to oil rigs at sea. By FGUK.

Updated aircraft

Cessna 182S

The Cessna 182S (git version) got some enhancements:

  • The Airspeed Indicator was reworked based on photos of a C182T and now corresponds to the real model.
  • The Alternate static air system was modeled, and now the outer static ports can ice, causing the static port to be blocked. If this occurs, one can pull the red static air knob in the cockpit to switch the static system to a port inside the cabin. The Venturi effect will introduce some errors/misreadings, because cabin pressure is lower than the outside atmosphere based on speed. This was the last Cockpit item missing, so the Cockpit can be considered complete!
  • Flap operation does consume electrical power now, which can be used in the preflight check to test the electrical system.
  • Currently we have multiplayer enhancements in the works, involving a canvas redo for the registration number; and the damage system is nearly finished. Once we completed that, Heiko wants to do a FGAddon release.

FGUK development videos

Harrier GR9 - sound model development. By FGUK
Westland Sea King alpha - hovering and maneuvering. By FGUK.
Work-in-progress SA 330 PUMA FDM test. Low flight over Wales, UK. By MrChillStorm.

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]


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

Community news

Flightgear on youtube

GinGin has re-created a space shuttle landing video of the Terminal Area Energy Management (TAEM) and Landing phases, overlayed with real voice communications between astronauts and mission control in the shuttle mission STS 155. The FlightGear's simulation of the space shuttle is the most detailed simulation outside NASA's internal ones, and has a JSBSim FDM backed by extensive windtunnel data.

FlightGear Space Shuttle external view video recording TAEM and landing phases. View fullscreen for 2k video.

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

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 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 November 2020!