FlightGear Newsletter October 2010

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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 projects such as for example updated scenery or aircraft, please do feel invited to add such news to the newsletter.

Newsletter mailing list

To fulfill some requests, we now have a special newsletter mailing list, thanks to Curt! Please register yourself. Emails will be sent when a newsletter is released, and also a week in advance of the release, in order to remind anyone that their help is welcome.

Call for volunteers


The OpenRadar project is looking for a new maintainer.

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.

In the hangar

ZKV1000 instrument

The zkv 1000 glass cockpit project

Zakharov is working on a new glass cockpit and is improving the ZKV1000 instrument, turning it into a replica of the Garmin Primus 1000. The interface is based on a Garmin Primus 1000 user manual found in a DA40 aircraft. It is designed for simple integration in an aircraft panel, and in the future it will be possible to configure the graphic interface and automatic behavior for specific aircraft (i.e. speed warnings).

An user manual will be released when the instrument is completed. For now, it features:

  • PFD and MFD (including revisionary mode)
  • Altimeter, speedometer, TAS, and VSI
  • Artificial horizon with flight director
  • HSI with two VOR radios, GPS, and ADF
  • Full menu interface
  • Full radio stack
  • Integration with the autopilot
  • Flight plan creation "on the fly"
  • External perl script for MFD map creation using the Atlas mapping utility (works under Linux/UNIX and Windows only at the moment)

A release is still a few weeks off, but a development snapshot is available. Screenshots can be found here.

Boeing 747-400

Boeing 747-400 KLM night.png

In order to show something nice at the FSweekend, besides all the nice stuff FlightGear offers, the Boeing 747-400 has seen some extensive developments going on over the past month(s). Some of these include:

  • EICAS pages including detailed fuel and electrical synoptics.
  • Electrical system
  • Exterior lighting like the cabin lights shining through the windows and the tailfin logo.
  • Virtual copilot, announcing V speeds on takeoff.
  • Functional CDU (to some degree, just a small amount of pages has been included so far).

Lockheed L-1011-500 Tristar

A new cockpit is being developed for the historic L-1011-500 airliner by Armchair Ace and statto, hopefully making it an enjoyable aircraft to fly!

Zeppelin NT

The Zeppelin NT instrument panel.

The Zeppelin NT's cockpit has been updated with some new instruments:

  • An envelope pressure indicator contributed by Robert Leda.
  • An outside air temperature and superheat indicator by Anders Gidenstam.
  • A KNS-80 integrated navigation system by Syd Adams and Ron Jensen (from the generic Instruments-3d collection).

Replacement of the big PFD with two smaller units (that will fit) is awaiting future developments in the FlightGear core.

Sikorsky S92 "Helibus"

The S92 is currently under development by Arthur Maiden. So far, the following parts are completed:

  • Basic fuselage and rotor assembly
  • Basic YASim FDM
  • Openable cargo and crew doors
  • Basic animations

Still on the to-do list:

  • Animate tail rotor
  • Add glass to windows
  • Add further detail to fuselage, smooth out the model, add antennas

PZL-Mielec M18B "Dromader"

The M18B "Dromader", an under development AG aircraft

The Spain-Latinamerican FlightGear community released the public beta of their new developed aircraft: the PZL-Mielec M18B "Dromader", a popular AG plane. The aircraft are available to download at the Vive FlightGear web site, and has:

  • A complete 3D model
  • Animated & texturizad exterior with two liveries
  • Immatriculation
  • Basic instrumentation
  • Custom sounds
  • Basic particle system
  • A well working FDM

You can find more info in the forum thread. Take it, and try some air cropdusting action!


MiG-15bis cockpit.

The aircraft's current developer, Victor Slavutinsky, worked hard on this beauty over the past months. The project's current state:

  • Realistic JSBsim model based on MiG-15bis manuals.
  • Fully clickable cockpit.
  • Realistic ground and air engine startup procedures.
  • Harder-than-realistic complicated crash and breakage system.
  • Simple but exacting electrical and fuel systems.
  • PDF documentation.
  • Distortable gyro instrumentation.
  • Dropable external fuel tanks.
  • Bombable script compatible cannons.
  • Fast and smooth JSB driven own instrumentation.

Scenery corner

New York City World Trade Center

In memory of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Skyop has modelled the now-destroyed North and South towers. The models are time-aware, so they appear on their top-off ceremony dates and disappear on their collapse times. The buildings feature night lighting and for 24 hours after their collapses, they become shining translucent monuments.

The models will be available through TerraSync soon. You will need to set the date and/or time to view them.

Suggested flights

Gulf of Finland sightseeing tour

Take a VFR sightseeing tour over the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki to Tallinn! Estonia's landmarks are all recent additions, while Helsinki was one of the first cities to have original models in the scenery model database.

Take off from the smaller EFHF airfield in Helsinki, or try your luck fighting the virtual traffic at Vantaa, and head toward the port of Helsinki. Look for the Hartwall Arena, the Pasila tower, the railway station and the Olympic Stadium along the way. Make your way out over the Gulf flying just west of south - a heading of 190 should set you up nicely for a sightseeing tour of Tallinn. Try to come in from the west and do a sweeping left turn over the capital of Estonia, looking out for the Swissotel, Olympic Hotel, the Television tower, and other important landmarks in the capital city of Estonia. Make sure you look out for St. Olaf's Church, the tallest building in the capital city. Make your way over the Ulemiste Jarv (lake) to land on runway 09 at Tallinn's main airport.

If you desire, you can do a touch-and-go at Tallinn and set your course southeastward, landing at Tartu Airport, which is also modeled in FlightGear.

The distance between Helsinki and Tallinn is about 50 miles or 80 kilometres, while Tartu is twice the distance from Tallinn at 100 miles/160 kilometres. Fly a heading of 135 to get to Tartu from Tallinn.

Wiki updates

Various addons were installed in order to extend the functionality of our wiki. These include:

  • Support for embedded videos from various sources (including YouTube).
  • A count down script that displays the number of days till a pre-set date.
  • Extra flexibility for displaying various images in a gallery.
  • A calender (currently being tested at this page).

Community news

FlightGear on YouTube

Watch the FlightGear PlayList for a collection of all (somewhat) quality FlightGear videos ever uploaded to YouTube.

And finally...

FAA adopts "line-up and wait"

The American Federal Aviation Administration adopted the ICAO standard for ATC clearance to enter the runway. The command "[taxi into] position and hold" has been replaced with "line-up and wait" now, already in use at most non-US airports. FlightGear pilots and controllers are requested to bring this change in practice.

Read the official announcement at the FAA website.

FSweekend banner 2010.jpg

Reminder: FSweekend

Just a couple of days (at the time of publicitation) till the largest flight simulator event in the world (the FSweekend at Lelystad Airport, the Netherlands)! Throughout the weekend of 6&7 November a team of FlightGear developers will be present in Lelystad to promote FlightGear to the public.

In addition to our presence in Lelystad, the FSweekend can be attended online as well. The guys from TransGear will organise one of their famous events around it! This is your chance to promote FlightGear to the world from behind your desk.

So, enough reasons to make sure to keep the weekend free of appointments. More information can be found at the event's wiki page: FSweekend 2010.

You can expect a report of the event in the November edition of this newsletter, together with pictures of the setups in Lelystad.

Did you know

FlightGear has key assignments for every conceivable function. Unfortunately, it is all to easy to press the wrong key by mistake and have difficulty diagnosing and then recovering from the resulting command. The two scenarios below are both regular occurances for me, which I thought worth mentioning, just in case you hit the same problem part way through a challenging approach...

  • Throttle stops responding. Typically this is because you've de-selected the relevant engine by pressing !, ", £ or $. The fastest fix is to select all engines - @
  • Aircraft suddenly starts turning to the left or right. Typically, this is because you have enabled the autopilot heading mode. The control for this is Ctrl-H. However, Ctrl-H also happens to be the key code for Backspace on some systems. If you use the quick text-based chat system in MP (key "_"), and attempt to delete all you have written using Backspace, it is all to easy to toggle the autopilot.