FlightGear Newsletter October 2009
Welcome to the fourth edition of the FlightGear Newsletter.
This is currently the skeleton newsletter for the next edition. Please feel free to contribute!
We're still looking for a permanent (or even a temporary) newsletter editor, so if you'd like to get involved, have a look on the Forums.
What's new in CVS
James committed some large changes to the route manager and generic GPS code this month, aimed at making the code able to support modern GPS and FMS systems, with the option of supporting historical systems (such as INS) as well. The user-visible part of these changes is the updated GUI dialogs, especially the completely new GPS dialog, which lets you easily find and navigate to waypoints. Internally the code has been changed to be more reliable, more configurable, and to support future developments. Current work is focused on adding support for routing using airways, SIDs and STARs, and flying approaches.
The new code is designed to be generic, and make it easy for aircraft and cockpit developers to simulate real-world devices in their panels. Volunteers to create reusable navigation instruments (or update existing ones) are welcome!
In the hangar
The frantic pace of FG aircraft development continues, with 4 variants of the popular Boeing 737 in development. At the other end of the scale, the popular Diamond Katana is now in CVS.
737-900ER in Development
XSaint, kyokoyama (alphaMedia), JcHND and others are currently developing a Boeing 737-900ER, a variant of the B737NG. Currently in general testing, the plane is estimated to be released between this November and next Ferbruary. Already, liveries for Continental and Jet Airways have been in demand, as well as "orders" from virtual airlines such as Skynet International and Aurelen Europe.
737-100 and 727-230 in CVS
Emmanuel Baranger aka Helijah is making a wonderful model of a Boeing 737-100. It includes a 3d-cockpit, stairs, tyre-smoke and pushback. The original one was developed together with German Lufthansa AG. There were only 30 of them built. You can download the latest model here: http://helijah.free.fr/flightgear/les-appareils/737-100/appareil.htm
Heiko Schulz is making a model of the 727-230, another nice aircraft of the same decade like the 737-100. It is currently in developement, but already flyable in CVS. It will also include a 3d-cockpit, tyre-smoke and pushback. When the autopilot will be finished, the Sim-pilots have to fly here like in the old days: No GPS, no FMS, no Autothrottle! Time in which flying really was flying!
The 737-series is very attractive to many users and developers, and in particular the ubiquitous 737-300, which is used all over the world. The 737-300 model in 1.9.1 wasn't shaped right- the fuelage was to long, but not wide enough, the wingspan of a 737-100, and the complete model was floating above the ground, wings not textured.
This has been fixed now using free available data from Boeing and some modelling pages. Unfortunately liveries made for the old model won't fit anymore. It wasn't possible as the old model hadn't got the right shape. :-(
But it is possible to convert with a bit work the old liveries, and making better ones new, as there is a paint-kit included. And some other nice features have now been added:
- tyre smoke
There is no 3d-cockpit yet, but the chances are better than ever to get one.
Diamond D20 Katana
Ron Jenson aka Jentron and Helijah made a wonderful model of the single-engine GA, which is produced in Austria/Europe and is already quite common in Europe. It is using JSBsim as fdm and seems already quite realistic in its flight behaviour!
From New York state, Long Island and Staten Island have been submitted for inclusion in the repository.
Also, for those with TerraGear, the state of Hawaii is almost completely rendered in FlightGear.
Pilots in Asia: the airport of Manila, Philippines (RPLL) is actually in redesign. Terminal 1 and 2, the Tower and many shared models are available now via TerraSync. All new models are illuminated so that the approach at night will give a complete new impression. Terminal 3 and Cargo Area are work in progress and will be added in near future.
The FS Weekend is the largest flight simulator event in the world. Each year it takes place at the first or second weekend of November, this years event is held at 7 and 8 November. The event is held in the Aviodrome musuem, located at Lelystad Airport, the Netherlands. Since 2006 FlightGear has been represented each year, by a small team of enthusiastics, and this year will be no exception. If you like to join the team or if you happen to be around, write an email to the mailinglist. Of course you may also show up at the show without prior notice.
Thanks to Durk, who organizes the FlightGear booth, five FlightGear instances will be presented and if everything goes well, each of them running a tripple screen setup. Some of them will have professional style controls and instruments. This is definitely the place to be for everybody interested in FlightGear and flight simulation!
ADC Contests enters the FG Community?
This year, alphaMedia proposed an extension of the prestegious ADC Contests into the developing community of FlightGear. The ADC is a contest to create the best 3D aircraft models in the general internet, with almost 600 models included in the two years it has been held. Starting as a simple contest in SketchUp, the ADC has become the second largest regular-basis modeling contest on Google and become the parent project of |Skynet International. AM is currently negotiating the extension with the developers of the new Boeing 737 creators. More information can be found below:
(Skynet Virtual is currently being renamed to Skynet International.)
The previous flightgearliveries.co.cc (aka Liams hangar) is no longer, It has now been switched to Flightgearliveries.ning.com, using a different server as well as being more user friendly and having a much improved appearance. It now features more simple-to-use pages, and is now FlightGears devoted Airline repaint resource, unlike UnitedFreeWorld which is for scenery, and military aircraft- and a whole lot more. However all is submitted to unitedfreeworld as well. Users also have the ability to join this new site and post on the main page, add their pictures to the gallery; etc. You can also follow the progress of work on Ibiza airport scenery, on the scenery page. I hope you will find this little hangar useful and hope it attracts new members to our community. With the recent release of the Airbus A320, Work going ahead on the 737-900ER, Etc;- This site is expected to expand dramatically with Airliner repaints- and I hope to draw a small crowd.
Virtual Airline News
Coastal Air Systems, with its seemingly endless continue growth in expansion, creates its own Board of Directors. Late in the evening on October 15, 2009, the head of the virtual company sent emails congratulating the first 5 members on the newly formed Board of Directors. Each person in CAS' Board of Directors has specific duties that will ultimately help Coastal Air Systems function and become better oriented into serving, promoting, and expanding the Flight Gear community. Truthfully not every new member of the BoD for CAS knew that they were involved in the selection. Yes, being a little embarrassed, that includes me. However, not only me but I am sure the rest of the newly selected members are proud of the announcement. This is Wookierabbit, and I will keep you posted on the most updated details throughout the month in this small section.
Currently, a majority of virtual airlines are in high demand for more pilots. A few newly developed alliances are in high demand for more virtual airlines to join.
List of Airlines/Alliances in high demand
- Americair Airlines,
- Aurelen Europe Airlines
- Skynet International Group
- Sky Alliance (Partner of Star Alliance)
If you are interested in taking part, have a look on the Flight Gear Forums.
Airport Diagram Generator
Ever wondered how pilots know what exit to take on the runway, how to get from the gate to the runway and how the tower can tell them what route to follow? Well, they use maps, like you and I use in daily life when we need to find an adress. Instead of streetnames, the run- and taxiways have numbers and a letter of the alphabet (eg. 28L, S1).
The Airport Diagram Generator is a Java application capable of generating airport diagrams using FlightGear data only. These diagrams are GNU GPL and can be used for all kinds of purposes whether you are ATCing or flying. The diagrams contain a schematic layout of the airport (taxiways and runways), (ILS) frequencies, navaids and so on.
Budd Davisson is a long time aviation journalist in the USA. His website includes a huge archive of pilot reports from lots of different aircraft, many of which are modeled in FG. It's a great resource for those wanting to get an impression of what flying the real aircraft is like, and also often contains useful information on how to actually fly them.
With the ADC surpassing its records, new naming of CAS Board of Directors and countless improvements to the community, this month has been rather hectic but eventful, leading FlightGear a step closer to the best it can be.