FlightGear v2.4.0 Released

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Overview

The FlightGear development team is proud to announce the release of version 2.4.0 of its free open source flight simulation program. FlightGear 2.4.0 reflects over one and a half years of development and incorporates several new and exciting features, as well as numerous bug fixes.

One of the hallmark features of this new FlightGear version consists of a completely overhauled weather module. While it was previously already possible to load realistic weather by downloading (or creating custom) METAR weather reports, the current FlightGear 2.4.0 version takes weather generation an order of a magnitude further by applying the laws of physics to the reported conditions and by determining how the atmosphere interacts with the terrain. This results not only in customizable weather, but also in all the exciting phenomena that occur at the boundaries between different weather systems. Among the numerous phenomena included in the weather simulation are fog layers that are limited in altitude, cold fronts, thermals, cloud formation in updraft winds along mountain ridges, and many, many more. In FlightGear 2.4.0 checking the weather is no longer a luxury option, it is essential for flight safety.

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Adding to the improved visual experience, FlightGear 2.4.0 introduces numerous graphical enhancements. By employing state-of-art computer graphic techniques, FlightGear 2.4.0 is capable of rendering highly realistic mountain surfaces, 3-dimensional cityscapes, or shiny metallic surfaces. Through the application of these new computer graphics, water moves realistically and sunlight is reflected from its surface. Many new aircraft models are so realistic and detailed it is almost possible to see oneself reflected in their hull. If that isn’t enough, FlightGear 2.4.0 can draw a full 3D image, through one of the many stereoscopic rendering options.

FlightGear’s user experience is also enhanced through several improvements to the software. New and extended autopilot controllers have resulted in a dramatic improvement in autopilot stability in many aircraft. Additional cockpit systems such as TCAS, and EICAS systems –as well as other realistic aircraft reactions to the environment– provide unique new challenges and opportunities. And if these systems still can’t prevent one from getting lost, it’s always possible to pull up a moving map, or use the new and improved heads up displays.

Under the surface, FlightGear 2.4.0 also introduces several innovations. A brand new experimental HLA interface layer allows for real time communication between several independently operating modules, either running on a single computer, or on a cluster of networked machines. Eventually, HLA allows for a complete modularization of FlightGear, and its integration with professional high-end flight simulator hard- and software components.

Finally, FlightGear 2.4.0 has a built-in option to keep its scenery up to date and download new scenery areas on the fly. While this was already possible by using an external program, this feature is now incorporated in FlightGear itself. The many new and updated scene models all around the world will keep one busy exploring the world of FlightGear. With a choice of nearly 500 different aircraft, from historical to bleeding edge, from ultra-lights to the ultimate flying heavy metal, there is something to cater to each one’s taste. In FlightGear 2.4.0 it’s no longer the sky that is the limit; it’s the imagination.

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FlightGear 2.4.0 Fact sheet

Program enhancements:

Aircraft operations:

  • A new head-up display (HUD) system
  • An in-sim moving map
  • ATC/ATIS improvements
  • EICAS instruments are available on a selected number of aircraft
  • Improved autopilots
  • TCAS, works with AI and multiplayer aircraft, provides aural warnings for conflicting traffic and is also capable of driving a realistic traffic display. AI aircraft also respond to TCAS alerts and take evasive action
  • Updates to the KLN89 GPS.
  • Tankers now refuel with any callsign, and can enable/disable refueling in flight.

AI system

  • A standalone AI flightplan generator program
  • Approaching aircraft now follow realistic approach trajectories
  • Ballistic objects can be slaved to any AI object
  • Improved AI ballistics behavior
  • More communication / interaction between AI aircraft and ground. Support for multiple frequencies for AI/ATC interaction.
  • Speed-up for AI traffic initialization by means of an aircraft usage statistics collection mechanism

AI Traffic

  • General and commercial aviation traffic at LOWI airport
  • Malaysian Airways / Kuala Lumpur based traffic
  • Traffic for Adria (Croatia)

Flight dynamics

  • A new MIL-STD Turbulence model has been added to the JSBSim flight dynamics simulation engine

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Environment

  • A local weather system to simulate physically correct local weather phenomena
  • Discard of outdated METAR weather information sources and improved METAR parsing
  • New Fog layers with limited elevation
  • Scenery can be downloaded and installed on-the-fly via an in-sim TerraSync interface
  • Specific multiplayer pilots can be selectively ignored

Interface

  • Complete overhaul of the autopilot system
    • New digital controllers
    • Flexible use of input and output values
    • Support for mathematical expressions
    • Usable for generic numeric data processing as a “property rule” system
  • Better integration of separate weather systems
  • New support of draggable 3d objects like throttle-levers
  • Support for textures generated from VNC clients
  • Unified runway selection code that is shared between user controlled and AI controlled aircraft
  • New HLA interface for distributed simulations
  • New on demand loading of Nasal modules
  • New support for external (aka real) Garmin 400/500 WAAS Units

Visual effects

  • Various graphics improvements using shaders, including 3D urban effects, reflections, water, rock textures, lightmaps, skydome scattering
  • Easy GUI-based access to a host of stereoscopic 3D rendering effects
  • Panoramic distortion
  • Persistent contrails
  • New standalone 2D-Panel rendering utility
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Bug fixes

  • Fixed METAR live weather (http requests from NOAA)
  • Fixed many sources of the infamous NaN errors
  • Improved stability by fixing many segmentation faults, deadlocks and memory leaks
  • Improved placement of random objects
  • Fixed inconsistencies with scenery tile scheduling
  • The replay system now works again as advertised
  • The ground proximity warning system (GPWS) works reliably now
  • Runway lights also working with ATI graphics cards now (rendering option to disable point-sprites)
  • Many, many more. See our bugtracker for an extensive list

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

  • A new and highly detailed IAR-80 (a Romanian-produced WW2 fighter)
  • A new highly detailed Piper Cub
  • Airbus A320 Family (318/319/320/321)
  • An improved P-51D, completely remodeled and containing improved flight dynamics
  • Boeing 717
  • Boeing 757-200
  • Bombardier CRJ700 Series (700/900/1000)
  • Bombardier CRJ200
  • Douglas A-4F Skyhawk
  • Improvements to the Boeing 787
  • MiG-15bis
  • PZL-Mielec M18B “Dromader”
  • Short S.23 Empire flying boat
  • The Boeing 737NG Series
  • The Boeing 747-400 and 777-200 have received lots of improvements
  • The Douglas DC-8 Series
  • The Eurocopter EC130 B4 Helicopter
  • Tyre smoke effects on many aircraft
  • Zeppelin LZ 121 Nordstern

Start Downloading!

109 thoughts on “FlightGear v2.4.0 Released”

  1. Hi, I am new to flight gear, I know that what I am about to say is related to Tech Support which should be done in forum, but, somehow, while registering, I managed to get my verification code wrong, and I ended up being blacklisted.

    The problem is that in the overview of Version 2.4.0 release it is stated, ” water moves realistically and sunlight is reflected from its surface”, but what I got is a solid blue area, with no moving of water, and, of-course no reflection. Did I messed something or what?

    Secondly, I’ve been using FS2004 for a long time, and it includes options for display settings, which can be maxed or set according to user PC specifications. Is there any option like that in FGFS?

    Thirdly, when setting clouds I selected the option overcast, but in game the sky is not overcast (my understanding is that in overcast sky, one can see little or no blue sky).
    I would be grateful if someone helps me out of these problems.

    1. Just easy, if you don’t see water’s shader. you must update your graphic drivers.

      For display setting you can select in the FGWIZARD your screen resolution and so on.

      You are wellcome.

  2. I’ve just been looking into flight simulators for a short period and am being overwhelmed at just what is out there. I am impressed with what I have read hear at FG. It seems anyone having problems needs to look at their computer and upgrade drivers before they start putting down FG 2.4.0. Thanks for all the comment everyone they really taught me a lot and have given me a lot of ideas.

  3. For some reason at the very end of the instal of 2.4 on windows XP I get an error, after closing the error it says installation finished but if I try to start flight gear it says THIS APPLICATION HAS FAILED TO START BECAUSE THE APPLICATION CONFIGURATION IS INCORRECT, RE-INSTALLING IT MAY FIX THIS PROBLEM. I have tried, and it doesn’t. Is this a common problem, and how can it be fixed. Please use easy to understand words, I am not tech savy, just like to fly.

  4. Will there be any Mac-optimized versions of FG in the future?

    I was able to play FG 2.0 mostly smoothly on my computer but 2.4 is really, really laggy for me even at all the lowest quality settings.

    OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
    24″ iMac8,1
    2GB RAM
    2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro

  5. A “flightgear junior” with simplified controls and a more forgiving flight model for kids and people who are just not that skilled in flying , maybe as an installable add-on

  6. Please fix this really bad bug: in most aircrafts, one engine does not start even in manual startup. In in others, the flaps are staying in a position when i didn’t even move it and its straight. I try to make the flight path straight, but its always isn’t perfect and will just crash if left alone for a while even in autopilot.

    1. PS- So most of the aircrafts are always turning in one direction and like i said, will crash if left alone EVEN IN AUTO PILOT.

  7. Pingback: Anonymous
  8. As to Reuben’s post on the 64bit overlay, I am also asking, is the 64bit FGRUN Launcher ready or available for this new version 2.4.0. as per the previouse version.

    Regards

  9. Hey, any ETA on Debian/Ubuntu official builds – for all supported OS variants, not just the latest Ubuntu one? Having compiling issues so I can’t get to even test it on some different graphics platforms here. Anyway, thanks to the developers and users for making something worthy of a true flight simulator, and at an economical price, too! ;)

    1. Unfortunately I don’t have contact info for the offical debian/ubuntu FlightGear package maintainers. I’d be happy to shoot them an email and try to help figure something out if someone could help me with contact info. (Probably best not to post it here on line, but contact me directly.)

    2. I can’t direct you to the people, but Linux Mephis has the best NVIDIA support out there, BETTER THAN WINDOWS as far as speed goes. Would be really nice to see at leat 2.1 on Mephis, but 2.4 with all the lovely features for Linux Mephis would rock my socks. Can’t even load 2.4 on Windows without an install error, and 2.1 plays fine for about 3 minutes before going down to 2 FPS. I don’t have these problems on any earlier versions when I run Linux Mephis. I think More Linux Support would be awesome for Flight Gears Hard core fans (Linux Users)

  10. I’m on an Ubuntu box; was running 2.0 as good as possible (no FGRUN, for instance so every flight was a command line) but it worked. It was stored in /usr/share/games/FlightGear, and 2.4 is installed in /usr/share/games/flightgear, but uit NEEDS both:

    brianf@skat2:/usr/share/games$ fgfs –show-aircraft

    Base package check failed:
    Version [none] found at: /usr/share/games/FlightGear/
    Version 2.4.0 is required.
    Please upgrade/downgrade base package.

    I think someone overlooked a directory name… Isn’t there a better place to log such things? This seems wrong, here…

    1. Yup, we have a quite a nice selection of helicopters. And our helicopter flight dynamics are pretty realistic and capture all the major dynamic effects that you’d expect to have to deal with and react to as a helicopter pilot.

  11. Downloaded 2.4.0 Windows version. Can’t install. Just creates the directory and then apparently freezes. Tried both normal donload and torrent – same result.

    Have been using 2.0.0 with no problems (apart from my bad flying)

    1. I too was having this issue. Freezing after creating directories. I had been trying to install FG on my H drive. When I finally gave up and accepted the Default of C everything went fine. maybe others are having a similar issue.

      1. I have just tried this. defaulting flightgear to drive C AND terrasync to drive C worked. I’d left terrasync to my ooriginal choice but it still froze.

        Once I defaulted everything to drive C no problems. However I feel that being able to assign any drive is a realistic assumption. Thwere are many installtions that don’t every give you a choice but with bloatee windows, it’s good to put your own programs on a differant drive if possible.

  12. Yet another impossible to play FlightGear release. Better looking, slower (even on my 1 Gb Radeon graphics card) and plain impossible to … take off. On your next release, kindly consider a typical newbie and how (on earth) he or she will be able to fly an aircraft, even for a few minutes. For now, FlightGear will remain installed on my hard drive and will hardly ever be used. Too bad.

    1. Flying an airplane can be very complicated in real life, and FlightGear intends to be a realistic simulation. My recommendation is to start with a simple plane like the Cessna 172 or the Piper Cub.

      The FlightGear manual includes a basic overview of how to start your engine and take off:

      http://mapserver.flightgear.org/getstart/

      We also have a collection of tutorials here:

      http://wiki.flightgear.org/Video_Tutorials

      The wiki is an excellent source of information and well worth visiting and exploring.

      It takes some time and patience to learn the basics of operating and flying an airplane, and once you have the basics down there is a huge array of other things you can learn and challenge yourself with. Weather, time of day, IFR and VRF navigation, operating a variety of different types of aircraft and helicopters. This isn’t intended to be a “game” where you fire it up and start shooting and blowing things up. The goal is learning and practicing and mimicking the challenges and rewards of real life aviation.

      If you are having performance issues, I recommend you install the latest graphics drivers for your graphics hardware, and also check out our forum. If you post a detailed explanation of your setup and how you have configured FlightGear, hopefully you can get a number of tips for tuning different FlightGear options to maximize your performance potential.

      1. Curt, although I appreciate your kind and thoughful answer, I continue to feel that FlightGear has been designed in a very user unfriendly fashion. Being a veteral of X-Plane and Microsoft Flight Simulators (2002, 2004 and X), I DID (naturally) try to fly the Cessna. Controlling the plane is impossible with the perverted mouse scheme – one wrong click and you activate the mouse control so instead of going for a menu, the Cessna climbs sky high and then spirals down for a crash. Terrain also, does NOT work (see my short message below). Finally, the moving map does NOT show terrain, just wire frames of aviation details. All in all, a disappointment. To get an idea of what I can excellently designed software, try your hand at the amazing FREE online Google-Earth based flight simulator at http://www.ge-flightsimulator.com/

        1. Hey, I can see where your frustration lies on the control with the mouse. It can be tricky at times, but then again so is using the trackpad on my Macbook to fly, it is doable, you just need to know the pause key if you start making a mistake, and it is best to pause when going through menus, would a real pilot be buried in a computer somewhere on take off not paying attention, and having no one fly the plane? probably not. I highly recommend for the experience the purchase of a joystick, it makes the experience much better, as well as giving you far superior control over rudder etc. It really is a fantastic program once you get the hang of it, remember, a pilot can’t simple hop in a plane and take off, first they have a lot of learning to do, and flightgear can be the same way

      2. You’re correct, flying is much more than “boring holes in the sky”. However, the complexities of learning to fly do not generally require a degree in computer science or programming. I have tried everything I can think of and have looked at your docs and still cannot get this program to run. No response to my earlier post. Others have posted how dificult this system is and, unfortunately, I must agree. Commercial flight simulators, such as used by the military and airlines, do not require the student to learn how to program that simulator. I suggest you consider the same with your program. All the pix look great. Maybe someday I will actually be able to try it.

    2. Not to mention that selecting Athens, Greece, shows no terrain despite the claims that terrain loads automatically. Tried to set it up so that it does load automatically and gave me “too many mistakes”… User unfriendly software at its best…

        1. The comments section here is really not designed for doing tech support. I’d recommend asking about these issues on the forum. But one very generic tip which has helped a number of people is to update your graphics drivers to the latest available from your graphics hardware chipset maker (like from ati.com, nvidia.com, etc.) FlightGear is sensitive to your graphics drivers because it uses a lot of advanced graphics featues; and many stock windows installations have older and buggier opengl support. Upgrading the video drivers has been helpful for many people.

    3. It’s a shame you feel this way John. I too was an absolute newbie when I first down loaded Flight gear, I still am when you read the posts in the forum – I have no idea what they are talking about most of the time. I think the key was getting a decent joystick and reading a bit about how to use it, not a lot just the basics. Since then I have been able to link to the map server thingy where you can track your flight. Now I am addicted. Please don’t give up, Flight gear is a living example of how ‘what you pay for is what you get’ isn’t always true. I’m not a fanatic I just like flying around.

  13. Hello,

    it is great to see the new version available as there was no public visible development in the last months. Now everyone can see what has been done in the background. All the new and improved features sound really great and I’d be happy to test all this on my machine. But unfortunately I cannot find a Linux version of FlightGear yet. Only Win and Mac available. Is this the intention? I hope no.
    I guess there’s a Linux version in work right now?
    Will there be a repository for Ubuntu for instance? This would be great too.

    So for now I’ll be patient and I’ll check this site again and again until a Linux Version can be found :D

    Best regards and thanks for your great work…

    Lucas Sichardt
    Germany

    1. Hi! I fear I have to back this one! :( I’m missing the linux binary downloads. Are these coming? Where to look for it? Synaptics offers 2.0.0 and playdeb.net has taken flightgear off the menue…

      Anyway! A great job you’ve done, by what I’ve seen so far… thumbs up!!!
      chris

  14. ive only had flight gear a few days but ive been looking for a flight simulator like this for months and lukily i have found it:0

    1. We are working on a new v2.4 aircraft download page. Expect something by tomorrow on that. We also plan to work on a new scenery download page, but that might be a week or two out. For now the v1.0.1 scenery should work just fine, or you can get all the latest scenery via terrasync.

  15. I remember using this simulator in early 2000, back in the earlier days of the project. To see where it has come today it is absolutely unbelievable. This right here goes to show what the result of the hard work and dedication of volunteers is capable of. I used to use Microsoft Flight Simulator a few years back. Just recently I came back to flightgear and downloaded the 2.0 release and the beta 2.4. This simulator is just as good if not better than Microsofts $50 alternative. This project has come so far, the realism, the scenery, the graphics, the 3D cockpits, it is absolutely amazing. Don’t ever let this project die. It has come so far and has so much potential with its open source flexibility, the collaboration of different ideas from people all over the world is the heart of this project. Their are very few projects out there like this. I will enjoy this project for years to come for fun and for training.

    - Mike C.
    Embry-Riddle (Software Engineering & Air Traffic Control Student)

  16. Saweet! I’m downloading it now. Can’t wait to install it and review it on my site! Watch for the review, guys!

    Oh, and 1 question – FG 2.4 RC5 kept heating my CPU to over 80C. Why? It’s a i7-720QM.
    And the nVidia GeForce 230M works with it right?

        1. ….and with FGFS 2.6 next year there will be hopefully the virtual counterpart of the real “D-HECE” be available…

          Anyway,
          Special Thanks to Curt for a new, much better Homepage- this really shows that this project is alive and is getting better and better!

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