Changelog 2016.4

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This changelog is a draft.

This changelog is currently being written for the FlightGear v2016.4 release. Feel free to help! If you are aware of any FlightGear related changes, please add them to the changelog.

Major enhancements in this release


  • The migration to C++11

FlightGear is migrating to C++11. Those of you who compile FlightGear yourself might find nasty compilation errors. In any case, Ask on our mailing list!

Aircraft Modeling


Atmospheric Light Scattering

  • the automated moonlight and moon position code has been pushed and will be a part of the 2016.4.1 release.[1], this only works for those ALS shaders that Thorsten added /environment/moonlight ambient lighting support for. There is no automated full-scene lighting, and nothing visible under the default or Rembrandt renderers. But if you have ALS on, you should see realistic moon-phase based lighting for a lot of the scene.[2]

Environment Rendering



  • FGRun is removed from the Windows release (FGMeta commit 131377).
  • TODO: Remote Canvas display via Phi
  • ATC Chatter has been re-introduced.




  • new STG verbs [3]
  • Support for apt.dat files inside scenery folders For years, FlightGear has been reading a large file called apt.dat.gz and located in $FG_ROOT/Airports. This file, which is maintained in collaboration with the X-Plane developers and users[4], contains a lot of information about airports (names and geometry of runways, taxiways, aprons, surface type, position of runway thresholds, light beacons, position of Control Tower, communication frequencies... even startup locations, though FlightGear reads parking positions from other files called airportID.groundnet.xml). Data from this file is used to create the scenery files for airports (.btg.gz), to display airports in the FlightGear built-in map, as well as to let the simulator know how to place your aircraft when starting on a runway—among others.
Despite the possibility to have FlightGear read portions of the scenery from various folders (cf. $FG_SCENERY), this data was only read so far from this one file, $FG_ROOT/Airports/apt.dat.gz. As a consequence, custom sceneries could not bring new or updated airport layouts without FlightGear having part or all of the information wrong concerning these airports, since it was read from a file that is maintained independently from said custom sceneries—and tied to FlightGear's current World Scenery, and therefore frozen in FlightGear since 2013.
This problem is solved in FlightGear 2016.4,[5] which reads files following the pattern NavData/apt/*.dat or NavData/apt/*.dat.gz inside each scenery path, when they exist. These files, collectively called apt.dat files, should have the same syntax as $FG_ROOT/Airports/apt.dat.gz, and are the natural output of WorldEditor, the recommended tool to create or update airport layouts. With this change, each custom scenery can now embed its own apt.dat files that describe the airports shipped in the custom scenery; FlightGear 2016.4 and later will read them.
The precedence order for these files is the same as for $FG_SCENERY: if the same airport appears in several apt.dat files, only the first definition found in $FG_SCENERY order is used.[6] Finally, for compatibility with existing scenery and as a fallback measure, the traditional $FG_ROOT/Airports/apt.dat.gz file is still read by FlightGear, with lowest precedence.

Canvas System

Nasal Scripting


Highlighted new and improved aircraft


  • Milestone • of the Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle is now complete with more impressive detail than before. Download it in FGAddon.

Read more in the FlightGear forum.


  • Support for GoFlight EFIS and TQ6

Bug fixes

  • See our bugtracker for a list, albeit incomplete, of the bugs fixed in this release.


  1. bugman  (Nov 8th, 2016).  Re: Implementing moonlight (or not) .
  2. bugman  (Nov 8th, 2016).  Re: Implementing moonlight (or not) .
  4. Via WorldEditor and the X-Plane Scenery Gateway.
  5. Florent Rougon  (Oct 13th, 2016).  Re: [Flightgear-devel] Reading apt.dat files from scenery paths [was: apt.dat - add local version ?] .
  6. And for apt.dat files belonging to the same component of $FG_SCENERY, the first file in lexicographic order takes precedence, although in practice this rule shouldn't be needed (why ship several definitions for the same airport inside a given $FG_SCENERY component?).