Changelog 2020.3

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Revision as of 18:42, 18 October 2020 by Stuart (talk | contribs) (Updates from feedback from the -devel list.)
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Available in: English

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The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v2020.3 LTS release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This is the second Long Term Support release for FlightGear, since the project changed to offering both Long Term Support releases, and more cutting-edge Preview releases. This release represents the culmination of two years of development effort by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

Major enhancements since the v2018.3 LTS include:

  • a developer preview of the upcoming Compositor graphical rendering framework as a separate pre-built binary,
  • enhancements to both the JSBSim and YASim flight dynamics models
  • DDS texture caching to reduce load times
  • faster loading and more memory efficient buildings
  • improved aircraft carrier support

Additionally 31 completely new aircraft have been added to the official hangar, and a further 71 have received major updates.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear features more than 700 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multiplayer environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language, and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

FlightGear - Fly Free!


  • Addition of a welcome screen on first launch, providing helpful information to first time users.
  • Aircraft can now be marked as Favourites, and filtered, making it easier to see find your favourite aircraft out of the hundreds available.
  • The launcher now supports aircraft carriers, including selecting a carrier and setting a start position.
  • Ctrl-F shortcut for when you just want to Fly!
  • Improved support for helipads and seaports, including detection of current aircraft type.
  • Numerous bugfixes and stability improvements, in particular for the aircraft and addons tabs.


  • To provide a developer preview, the Compositor renderer is included as part of this release. It provides a fully XML-configurable multi-pass rendering pipeline that is compatible with ALS and includes clustered shading.
  • Support for DDS Texture Cache, improving loading times for texture files.
  • Make star cutoff controllable at runtime
  • Use of non-directional point sprites as a fallback for drivers that do not support triangles of point sprites is now supported by setting /rendering/triangle-directional-lights=false.
  • A new Tower AGL view has been added. This is similar to Tower View, except that it keeps both the aircraft and the ground immediately below the aircraft in view, zooming and panning smoothly as the aircraft moves. Good for viewing landings.
  • Improved airport grass textures
  • Updated regional material definitions for California, Asia, Iceland, Jan Mayen island.
  • Active volcanoes - Katla, Eyjafjallajokull, Surtsey.
  • Instanced-based random and OpenStreetMap buildings, improving performance and graphical quality significantly.
  • Improvements to the Wingflex Shader.
  • Users may enable/disable the pilot model from the View Options dialog.


  • Added the ability to set up the starter and acceleration times of a turbine (parameters <n1spinup>, <n2spinup>, <n1startrate>, <n2startrate>).
  • The <integrator> filter can now be reset to 0.0 by setting its <trigger> property to a negative value.
  • The integration scheme of the <integrator> filter can now be chosen among rect (Euler), trap (Trapezoidal), ab2 (2nd order Adams-BashForth) and ab3 (3rd order Adams-Bashforth)
  • The following functions can now be used in <function>: floor, ceil and fmod. Their functionalities are the same than the corresponding C/C++ functions.
  • <function> now checks the number of its arguments.
  • New system component linear_actuator
  • Export the fuel density to the property tree
  • Added cyclic clipping for FCS components
  • Added the ability to control the turbine engines spin down factor
  • [Backward compatibility breakage] Gyros are now measuring rotation rates instead of rotational accelerations. Gyros that measure rotational accelerations do not exist in the real world.
  • Output properties of flight control elements are no longer tied. This saves a lot of spurious warning messages and allows direct references of the same properties among several flight controls.
  • Water vapor in the atmosphere is now managed through its mass fraction rather than its partial pressure. The former being the physical quantity that is conserved when pressure and temperature vary.
  • Check that there are at least 3 contacts before trying to trim on ground.
  • Added optional transmission of the simulation time for FG UDP interface
  • The existence of the property that is used for table independent vars is now checked during execution rather than when the XML definition is parsed. This relaxes the order in which filters, table and more generally flight controls need to be declared in the XML definition files.
  • Electric engines RPM is now exported in UDP sockets.
  • The parameter <ignitionn2> now affects N2 rather than N1.
  • A warning is now given when max < min in a <clipto> rather than throwing an exception
  • Added the ability to log properties in a CSV file with the new fgfs executable argument --jsbsim-output-directive-file


  • Ground friction (stiction) changes
  • Support for transonic flow effects.
  • Control initial gear state directly by setting /fdm/yasim/respect-external-gear-state=true, rather then YASim settings this depending on whether the aircraft is in the air or on the ground.
  • Electric engines are now supported.

Weather and Environment

  • Increased turbulence will be encountered near active volcanoes.
  • Configurable METAR URL.
  • METAR strings are decoded and displayed in a human-readable form in the weather dialog.


  • Two new carrier-specific starting options are supported in the launcher: carrier-takeoff and carrier-approach.
  • A new --carrier-position command-line argument has been added. This can be used to select the aircraft start position on an aircraft carrier. Either a catapult (e.g. cat-1), a parking position (e.g. park-1), on final approach on the FLOLS (flols) or abeam the carrier (abeam).
  • MPCarrier can now be detected by the GUI even if not available on startup. To enable this feature set /sim/mp-carriers/auto-attach=true.


  • New fgcommands add-aiobject and remove-aiobject for adding/removing objects to the AI subsystem.
  • New AI aircraft, including 747 Freighter, CRJ900, SR-71, Saab 340.
  • Numerous updates to AI traffic schedules and airline liveries.
  • Space Shuttle TAEM and approach at KEDW scenario.
  • Accurate Britten-Norman Islander performance data, from an Islander pilot.


  • Connection to VATSIM via swift is now available via the GUI.
  • FGCom now supports both COM1 and COM2, as well as volume settings.
  • The views defined by the user's aircraft (Pilot view, Helicopter view, Tower view etc) can now be used with multiplayer aircraft. Viewing a particular multiplayer aircraft is done by clicking in the Pilot List dialogue's "view' column (see the "Multiplayer/Pilot List" menu).
  • --disable-hold-short option which allows the user to force a start on the runway when multiplayer is enabled. This option should be used with caution - it can give other pilots and ATC a nasty fright to find an aircraft materialize on the runway!
  • Support for recording multiplayer data

Nasal Scripting

  • Configurable load order for core Nasal modules.
  • Improvements and bug fixes to Emesary, the messaging interface.
  • Improvements to the core libraries.
  • Garbage collection improvements to reduce frame stuttering
  • Re-loadable nasal modules
  • Canvas EFIS framework
  • New methods in Canvas Image to set colors of pixels in the image.


  • FG1000 Glass Panel improvements include user-configurable VFR transponder codes, volume controls, new fascia, UI is now resizeable, support for custom SVG files (e.g. for a G500). The FG1000 is now available on the Cessna 182T, J3 Cub, Diamond DA40.
  • Improved glider vario instrument.
  • New Aircraft:
    • Airbus A320 - airliner
    • Alisport Silent2Electro - glider with electric sustainer motor
    • Bombardier Q400 DHC8-402 - shorthaul turboprop airliner
    • Breguet Atlantic BR 1150 - long-range maritime patrol aircraft
    • Cessna 140 - GA aircraft
    • Cessna 208B Caravan - short range passenger, freighter and utility aircraft
    • Cirrus SR22T - GA aircraft
    • Diamond DA40 NG - GA aircraft, including FG1000 glass panel cockpit
    • Diamond DA62 Twinstar- Twin engine GA aircraft
    • Diamond HK36 Super Dimona - motorglider
    • Dornier DO 28 Skyservant - Twin engine STOL utility aircraft
    • Douglas TBD Devastator - WWII Torpedo bomber
    • Draco Wilga - turboprop taildragger bush plane
    • Fokker T.V - twin engine bomber
    • Glasfluegel H201B Standard Libelle - glider
    • Grumman F11-Tiger - carrier-based fighter
    • Grumman HU-16A Albatross - twin engine amphibian
    • Petliakov PE-8 (Ant-42/TB-7) - WWII bomber
    • Piper PA28-161 Warrior II - GA aircraft
    • Pipistrel Alpha Electro - electric training aircraft
    • Pipistrel Taurus Electro G2.5 - glider with electric sustainer motor
    • Rolladen Schneider LS8sc neo - standard glider with electric sustainer motor
    • Robin DR400 Ecoflyer - GA Aircraft
    • Scheibe Bergfalke II/55 - training glider
    • Schempp-Hirth Arcus S - high performance glider
    • Schleicher Ka6(CR) "Rhoensegler" - training glider
    • SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 - jet attack aircraft
    • SUMPAC - Human powered airplane
    • Supermarine Swift - jet fighter
    • Yak 52 - training aircraft
  • Major updates to over 70 aircraft. Including 737-100, 737-300, 777, A-26-Invader, AR-234, ASG29, ASK13, ASK21, Aero-Commander, Aichi-D3A, B-17, B-24-Liberator, B-25, Bombardier-415, CH750STOL, CRJ700-family, Cessna-208-Caravan, Cessna Citation II, Cessna-L19, Cirrus-SR22, Concorde, DO-228, DO-335, Diamond-Da40, Diamond-Da42, Dragonfly, Embraer-ERJ-145, F-15, Fairchild-Metroliner, Falcon-50, Fokker-S-11, Fw200, H4-Hercules, Harrier-GR3, Horten-Ho-IX, Hughes-XF11, J3Cub, JA37, JAS39-Gripen, Jaguar, LS4, Lancair-235, Lionceau, Lockheed-NF104A, Lockheed-P38, ME-262, Mirage-2000, MirageIV, Northrop-xb35, PC-12, Piaggio-P166, Piper-PA-28, Potez-630, R44, Ryan-Navion, SIAI-Marchetti-SF.260, Socata-ST10, SpaceShuttle, Starship, Tecnam-P2006T, UH-1, Yak-18T, Zlin-50lx, an24b, bluebird, c182s, dhc1, f-14b, f16.


  • Updated Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Slovak translations.
  • Map dialog displays heliports and allows configurable cursor key panning
  • Faster Terrasync: Download a tarball of airport information on first start and only check for updates every 24 hours rather than every simulator run.
  • GPS fly-by mode
  • integration to provide centralized crash reporting.
  • Change screenshot filename to have date and time
  • New thread safe particle manager -- should reduce random crashes around particles.

Updates since 2020.1

Changes since the 2020.1 preview release include:

  • Various launcher improvements including a Welcome screen and a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+F) to Fly!
  • Improved regional definitions for California, and better grass textures
  • New AI model for the 747 Freighter, and numerous AI livery and traffic updates.
  • Updates to the FG1000 glass panel display including configurable VFR transponder codes, volume controls, a new fascia, resizeable UI and support for custom SVG files.
  • A hangar full of new aircraft: HU-16A-Albatross, LS8, Embraer-ERJ-145, Cessna 208B Caravan, PZL 104 wilga 2000 Draco, Scheibe Bergfalke, Taurus, f16, Dornier Do 28 Skyservant, Petliakov Pe 8 (Ant 42/DB 7), Grumman F.11 Tiger
  • Updates to a large number of aircraft including CRJ700, Dragonfly, Mirage 2000, Jaguar GR1, H4 Hercules, JA37, Supermarine Swift, A320, Cirrus-SR22, Cessna Citation, J3Cub
  • Updated Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Slovak translations.
  • Faster Terrasync: Download a tarball of airport information on first start and only check for updates every 24 hours rather than every simulator run.
  • GPS fly-by mode
  • integration to provide centralized crash reporting.
  • New thread safe particle manager -- should reduce random crashes around particles.