FlightGear 2020.1.2 Released

FlightGear 2020.1.2 contains bug-fixes and improvements to the 2020.1 release. For users experimenting with the Compositor renderer, there’s now clearer information on startup, and a simple interface to select the display settings (performance or higher quality)

Bugs affecting macOS users when updating from an older version were fixed, as well as other bugs in GPX flightplan loading.

As usual, grab the updated files here

FlightGear 2020.1 released

The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the 2020.1 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This version is a preview of our next stable release, containing many new features and improvements.

Enhancements since 2019.1 include a developer preview of the upcoming Compositor graphical rendering framework as a separate pre-built binary, better aircraft carrier support, improvements to both the JSBSim and YASim flight dynamics models, better view options, more efficient and improved OpenStreetMap buildings and translation of the UI into Polish and Slovak. Here’s the complete list of changes.

Many aircraft have been updated, including major updates to the Boeing 777, Airbus A320, Antonov AN-24, F-16, Piper J3Cub, Saab JA37 Viggen, Piper PA28 Cherokee, Bombardier Q-400, Space Shuttle.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed 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.

New stable release: 2018.3.5

There’s a new stable (long-term supported) release just available on SourceForge : 2018.3.5. This contains some smaller bug-fixes but most importantly, the build now works correctly on macOS 10.15 Catalina. This required updating many internal aspects of how we build the software, which took considerable effort from a whole team of people.

Get the new release while it’s hot: from SourceForge.

A preview of the 2018.3 release

A change to the release philosophy

After introducing the scripted releases four times a year, the FG development team decided to have a discussion to compare this experience with what we had before, and the result of this is that we want

* less changes of the default airport
* make one of the four yearly releases especially stable

This stable release is planned to be the fall release – so you can expect this to be especially well tested.

What else will there be?

The new C-172p

Flightgear’s default aircraft, the C-172p, is now better than ever.

The cockpit has received a lot of improvements, including new recess casings and glass reflection effect to all instruments, previously missing panel parts have now been included, such as alternate static source knob, low voltage LED, lighter hole, a working glove pocket (which holds the GPS device when not in use), sun visors, and PPT cables connected to the yokes. Other improvements include 3D model and textures changes to all levers, toggles, seats, magneto keys, EGT gauge, attitude indicator and ammeter gauge. An ambient occlusion map has been applied to all interior textures, making the cabin look much more realistic.

The plane now makes use of lightmaps, making night flights much more immersive than before. These include post lights, which are installed on individual gauges, a red flood light which can be used during night flights too, and a white dome flight and wing courtesy lights to be used while in the ground during the pre-flight checks. The lightmap illumination responds to the environment light and dims during daylight.

The exterior model has also received some improvements. It now has a much improved vertical stabilizer model, including a retopologized beacon model, and all of the aircraft antennas have been redesigned as to match the gauges in the model P.

The aircraft has also received new sounds: clicking on the checklist in the pocket by the pilot seat, toggling the control lock, mounting and dismounting the GPS from the panel, opening and closing glove pocket, moving the window latches, and toggling the water rudder cable. The flaps lever and flap motor have also received sound improvements.

Other than that, the tutorials and checklists have received much attention, including two new tutorials: take off and landing for float variants. This release also fixes many bugs, among them an adjusted P-factor effect, making the flight model more realistic.

New cloud lighting

In the Atmospheric Light Scattering renderer, an experimental new option for more detailed cloud lighting is now available. This includes diffraction and rainbow effects on high Cirrus clouds as well as more dramatic darkening and silver-lining for lower clouds seen against the sun.

For clouds seen with the sun, Mie scattering is simulated which darkens the fringes of clouds.

(Note that this is an experimental option and may not yet always work as intended.)

Display visuals

Aircraft developers can now use a new effect for displays, which simulates both the eye response to too bright or too dark display settings for the ambient light level and the visuals of dust on the screen surfaces for glancing light angles.

(Note: This needs to be implemented per aircraft and is not available for all.)

Scenery to explore

An exciting new spot to explore is the Arctic island of Jan Mayen, situated north east of Iceland. It received a makeover with corrected elevation data and coastlines, and is now available via TerraSync. The volcano, Beerenberg (2277m) is also now one of the active volcanoes simulated in FlightGear, making for an impressive sight as the snow covered peak belches out smoke and ash.

The island’s airstrip, Jan Mayensfield (ENJA), has a 1600m dirt runway, perfectly suited for the DHC-6 or c172p’s skis.”

Other improved aircraft

Besides the C-172p, several other craft also have received improvements, including

F-14
– Improved low speed handling, flaps aero rework using OpenVSP, spoiler aero added for yaw, adjusted effectivity at higher alpha based on pilot reports and OpenVSP analysis
– APC now holds alpha rather than airspeed.
– Wingsweep (oversweep) now modelled correctly, wing bending (G load, damage), JSBSim systems rather than Nasal.
– alpha indicated has been aligned based on the touchdown geometry of the hook; optimised for 15degrees indicated.
– carrier and tanker now included in replay

F-15
– Exterior model improvements and revised liveries
– added conformal fuel tanks (IAF, AF86-0023),
– MK-84 air to ground support,
– performance improvements (canvas, cockpit model merged with texture atlas), should work better on lower spec. systems.
– more accurately modelled autopilot
– FDM improvements (mass properties for stores corrected, stores drag, correct aero axes)
– FG Fuel&Payload works correctly with aircraft specific stores dialog

Space Shuttle

– Improvements to the visuals, including furry velcro strips
– Improvements to launch guidance and orbital plane targeting
– More realistic OMS burn procedures
– Expanded systems including circuit breaker simulation
– Expanded failure modeling including tank leakage

Other improvements

Lots of other, less visible things are happening behind the scenes:

– improved joystick configuration dialog
– additions to the launcher
– better support for starting aircraft in a certain state
– bugfixes
– and much more…

A preview of new features in the Honolulu release

Discover Hawaii

The first FG release in 2018 will move to the tropical island of Oahu, using Honolulu as the default airport. In preparation, the islands of the Hawaii chain have received a makeover – textures for the typical shrub vegetation has been added, the terrain texturing has been improved and the airport layouts have been re-generated.

There’s now a lot of new things to discover – fly to the ‘garden island’ of Kauai and look for waterfalls, search for the new highly detailed aircraft carrier ‘Harry S. Truman’ cruising close to Oahu, watch a sunrise from the summit of mighty Haleakala on Maui or discover an active lava fountain on the ‘big island’.

Active volcanoes

Have you ever seen a volcano eruption in a flightsim? This is your chance – in the upcoming release, you won’t only be able to see lava pools and volcanic smoke of Puu’Oo on Hawaii, but also see lava fountains of the Italian volcano Stromboli and even the mighty ash plumes blown high into the air by an eruption of Etna on Sicily. The activity of all these volcanoes can be adjusted from the Environment GUI.

The current implementation is still limited, but in the future, volcanic ash might actually interfere with the weather and aircraft operations – just like in reality.

Unprecedented vegetation detail

Using geometry shaders, the Atmospheric Light Scattering rendering framework now offers the option to see dense volumetric grass layers on the airport greenspaces, as well as rendering additional 3d layers of vegetation underneath the regular random trees and shrubs in regions where this is configured. This offers the eye a pleasantly high level of detail even at close range and adds much to the visuals. While this technique might be heavy for older graphics cards, the performance on a modern high-performance graphics card is excellent.

A helpful co-pilot

Have you ever wanted to fly a helicopter, but didn’t manage to get it off the ground? The Alouette-III now comes with a helper (or flight instructor) for you – Amelia.

Amelia (named after aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart) is an animated co-pilot capable of taking off, landing and hovering the helicoper for you, according to your instructions. You can simply ask her to get the craft off the ground for you, then fly it a bit forward and then take over from her. Or, if you’re interested in operating the winch and doing rescue operations, she can hover over a spot and move slowly to the right spot according to your directions.

New and updated aircraft

A lot of development has happened for various aircraft – for instance the Robinson R44 helicopter has received a stunning new 3d model and many systems are now simulated in detail.

Another great addition, both in terms of visuals and systems, is the new Cessna C-182. If you like single prop aircraft and want to see something more modern than the default C-172p, try it out – it makes for a great plane to do sightseeing in Hawaii!

The carrier handling of the F-14b is now much more realistic, with arrestor wire effectivity dependent on speed at touchdown, more realistic low speed aerodynamics during the approach and correct ‘kneeling’ of aircraft when on the catapult – take the F-14 to the ‘Harry S. Truman’, and you won’t be disappointed!

Lots of details have also been added to the Citation-II business jet and bugfixes, gear damage, a correct autopilot and an improved radar to the F-15.

…and much more

Much more work going on behind the scenes:

* improved usability and integration of the Flightgear launcher
* fixes for AMD graphics cards rendering issues
* many other small bugfixes
* improvements to the YaSim flight dynamics engine for better realism

Stay tuned as we launch the next release!

A preview of features for the ‘Barcelona’ release

Join us for a short overview of what the next Flightgear release within the new automated three-month release cycle will bring!

FG goes to Spain

The most visible change to first-time users will be the change of the default airport. For the future, we plan to name every release after the default airport, and thus while the last release has been ‘San Francisco’ (or 2016.1), the next release (2016.2) will go to the beautiful city of Barcelona. Look forward to some impressive scenery and all-new VRF tutorials and suggested flights in the region!

Improvements to scenery

Improvements to scenery rendering are being added on all fronts. Supported by shader developments within the Atmospheric Light Scattering (ALS) framework, runways and airport keep can now be rendered in multiple ways in high resolution, and this has been implemented for different regions all across the world – including the new default airport of Barcelona ‘El Prat’.

Places across the world continue to be populated with 3d models, for instance check out the progress on London Heathrow!

See the FG world through an infrared camera

ALS now includes a whole suite of filtering techniques, which allow to select brightness and gamma-correction in-sim (i.e. affecting screen pixel color values visible in screenshots, not only the appearance on the monitor). Part of this filter suite is also a night vision mode and, possibly most exciting, and infrared camera mode. The IR vision shows contrasts based on relative temperatures, with the daily temperature cycles of the environment modeled by the weather system.

New and improved aircraft

The Piper J3 Cub, a long-time resident of the aircraft repository, has now been fitted with a brand-new JSBSim FDM as well as support for high-end effects, including interior shadow mapping. Water takeoff and landing by selecting floats rather than wheels is also being developerd.

The Boeing 757 has been updated with new versions and winglets dependent on selected airline livery. The Extra 500 received multiple upgrades and now includes a simulation of icing effects and a sophisticated failure system.

Behind the scenes changes

Multiple less visible changes have also been introduced:

* the handling of shared scenery models has now been much streamlined – shared models now reside in a single location and are most easily obtained and updated via the in-sim terrasync option. Alternatively a (daily updated) collection can be obtained here.

* FG now supports the generation and application of GPU specific rendering setting profiles. The idea is to make the experience for first-time users more pleasant by pre-setting the rendering quality level to something which leads to a good experience for the selected graphics card.

* Currently, support for pre-defining aircraft states (such as ‘cold and dark’ or ‘in air’ or ‘cruise’) is formalized and introduced, with the aim of routinely allowing in-air initialization of complex aircraft with all systems set correctly.

Stay tuned as we fly towards our next release!

FlightGear 2016.1 Released

The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v2016.1 “San Francisco” release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include an integrated launcher that includes the ability to download aircraft, a reduction in the installation package size, performance improvements and many rendering improvements.
Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed 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.

Qt_launcher_for_FlightGear_3.5_on_Windows_7

FlightGear features more than 500 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multiplayer environment, detailed sky and weather 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.

Download FlightGear v2016.1 for free from FlightGear.org/download

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Please continue to our wiki article for all the specific details and new features in the release.

What’s the Flightgear news?

Changes of various kinds affect FG – it seems this year more than in others. Please read here an overview.

Whatever happened to the 3.6 release?

The simple truth is – it didn’t work out. In the end, the release team had personal constraints, got as far as producing a release candidate but then the efforts stalled. Flightgear is developed by human beings, and sometimes things don’t go the way we’d like them to.

Ideally this should have been communicated earlier – we’re sorry for this, the final decision not to have a 3.6 release was made not so long ago.

At this point, let me take the opportunity to point out the links to the automated builds where you can find the (as we now know rather stable) 3.6 release candidate and an automated nightly build of the FG development version.

The matching aircraft collection can be obtained from the repository following these instructions.

What’s the future?

At this point, we’re not sure whether there will be a regular 3.8 release. Rather, the idea which will be tried is a series of more automated stable releases – about four per year. We hope that this will stretch bug reporting by the general audience from the current one-week period between release candidate and stable (which makes it very hard to act in time) over a wider period, giving us the opportunity to respond better. At the same time, it will decrease the waiting period for the next stable. Time will tell whether this works better.

In addition, there are multiple changes behind the scenes having to do with the server infrastructure for the FG scenery. Ideally these would not affect the end user, but they take time and effort nevertheless.

Development on the other side did not stop – we keep making FG more interesting.

More impressive weather

The weather system has received an update to simulate lightning strikes during thunderstorms. Each lightning strike will not only trigger a visible bolt, but also (in the Atmospheric Light Scattering (ALS) framework) at night illuminate the clouds in the vicinity for a split second. In addition, the position is registered in FG, allowing aircraft modelers to include ambient thunder sounds with the correct delay – this has for instance been done for the C-172p. Encountering a T-storm at night will be memorable now!

Improvements to aircraft interior rendering

The ALS framework offers a host of new options for aircraft developers, for instance a quick option to render panel backlighting using the so-called implicit lightmap technique, irradiance mappings giving a more faithful impression from where indirect light can fall into the cabin and the option to show reflections of the lit cockpit panels in the windows at night.

A fire-breathing dragon (and other impressive aircraft)

Among the most interesting aircraft to be added to the repository is the dragon. Demonstrating the versatility of FG, this reptile doesn’t fly on magic (like the Santa and his reindeer do, if you know the model…), instead it uses the aerodynamical data from attempts to reconstruct the flight dynamics of a Pterosaur. Let it slowly climb with mighty wingbeats, soar thermals to rise to high altitudes or swoop down in a steep dive – the dragon sure is fun to fly and at the same time instructive.

Substantial updates also have been done for other aircraft which have been under heavy development: Sounds and pre-flight inspection simulation of the C-172p have been improved. The F-14A variant has been added, making use of all recent rendering improvements and including a simulation of compressor stall. Lots of work have also gone into making the F-15 yet better – it now offers C and D variant, operational weapons and radar, detailed sound and simulation of hydraulical, electrical and ECS pressurization system. The Space Shuttle is now well on the way towards a photorealistic 3d cockpit. Substantial work has been done on the avionics, implementing automatic tracking and pointing routines and a realistic procedure to command OMS orbital insertion and de-orbit burns, as well as one of the most sophisticated failure meanagement simulations in FG.

Improvements to scenery rendering

The ALS rendering framework has added effects for improved rendering of runways. Paved runways are now shown with skid-marks whereas unpaved runways can be rendered with a multitude of materials, smoothly blending the runway into the surrounding airport green.

New terrain textures

The regional scenery texture project is progressing substantially – we have new runway textures, dedicated industrial and port textures as well as detailed customized definitions for South America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia).

Behind the scenes work

Less visually, there is ongoing development on various fronts. The out of window GUI Phi continues to be expanded, providing support e.g. for an instructor station. Using Qt5, a common launcher for all OS is being developed which is expected to ultimately grow into a new in-window GUI option. Finally, the HLA effort aims at utilizing multiple CPUs better by running various subsystems in dedicated threads outside the FG main loop. Currently, only a very limited AI scenario can be run in this mode, but ultimately it is expected to provide improved framerate where poor CPU utilization is the bottleneck.

We hope to be back soon with details on the new release process.

FlightGear v3.4 Released

av9DBjV

The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v3.4 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include frame-rate improvements on some systems, reduced memory usage and enhancements to the built-in web server.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed 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.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player 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.

Download FlightGear v3.4 for free from FlightGear.org

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Major enhancements in this release

Performance

  • Improved frame-rates on some systems from more efficient use of Uniforms
  • Reduced memory occupancy for scenery tiles
  • AI models are now rendered based on display size rather than range
  • AI/MP models may now define objects as being part of the interior, which will not be rendered at large distances

Usability

  • Built-in web server now includes a moving map, a screenshot grabber, and supports SVG-based panels
  • In-application launcher for Mac, based on Qt5

Graphics

  • Improved rendering of runway and other lights under ALS
  • Landing and spotlight support for ALS

Scenery

  • Improved materials XML format making customer material definition easier
  • Procedural rock material definition

JSBSim

  • Synchronization with latest JSBSim

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

  • Extra EA-500
  • North American P-51D Mustang
  • Cessna Citation II
  • F-14b

Other

  • Firewall exceptions are automatically added during setup on Windows systems
  • Aircraft moved to a SVN repository.

Bug fixes

  • See our bugtracker for an extensive, yet incomplete, list of the bugs fixed in this release.

Web Site Updates

December 30, 2014:

  • Upgraded to wordpress 4.1
  • Testing a new theme that is a bit less “bloggy”
  • Added a big fat “download now” button on the front page.
  • Fixed layout for small screens (like smart phones in portrait mode.)

January 24, 2014:

  • v3.0.0 release candidates are available for download and testing.  The official v3.0.0 release is scheduled for 17 Feb.
  • Upgraded to WordPress 3.8.1

December 20, 2013:

Upgraded to WordPress 3.8 and the Twenty Fourteen theme.

November 25, 2013:

FlightGear v2.12.1 (bug fix release) is now available for download.

October 3, 2013:

Upgraded to WordPress 3.6.1 and new TwentyThirteen theme.  The FlightGear web site server hardware has been relocated to a newer larger building.  And v2.12 has just been released!

February 13, 2013: Updated Scenery Download Path

The FlightGear scenery downloads has been updated to v2.10 in preparation for the 17 Feb v2.10 release.  The scenery content does not follow the same release schedule and has updates and improvements every few days.  Thus this is more of a name change formality, and the “v2.10” scenery will work fine with v2.8 and probably most v2.x versions of FlightGear.

January 12, 2013: New Wiki Server

The FlightGear Wiki (http://wiki.flightgear.org) has been moved from a shared hosting server to a new dedicated virtual private host.  The FlightGear wiki is *very* popular and generates a lot of traffic and server load so hopefully this will improve the performance and reliability of our wiki and at the same time help all the other services on the old shared hosting server.

The new wiki host has been donated to the FlightGear project by DigitalOcean. If you are searching for a good hosting service among an ocean of possible options, they are good guys.

December 18, 2012: WordPress 3.5 & New Theme

The FlightGear web site has been upgraded to the newest version of wordpress (3.5) and I am experimenting with a new theme.  We can always return to the old them if we decide we like that better, or we can more forward too.  The new theme has some better support for mobile devices.

December 29 update: when switching to the new 2012 theme, we ended up with comments enabled on all content pages.  This was unintentional.  The page comments were mostly support requests or the odd snarky comment.  I have removed the comments area from regular content pages, but comments are still allowed (and encouraged) for “post” pages.  However, comments will be filtered carefully for topic and usefulness.  Do they expand or clarify the conversation of the post topic?  Support questions will still be referred to the FlightGear forum.  Random positive/negative statements (like “I love flightgear” or “I hate flightgear” will generally be ignored.)  English is preferred for post comments, but exceptions have been made and probably will be made in the future.

October 24, 2012: Scenery Download Page updated

The World Scenery Download page is updated to SVN version 20579.  It may take a day or so for the updated files to flush through the mirror system.

September 7, 2012: WordPress 3.4.2

Upgraded to wordpress-3.4.2.

August 20, 2012: Updated Gallery

Featuring the winning entries of the 15th anniversary screenshot contest, we have added a new screenshot gallery to go along with the v2.8.0 release!

August 17, 2012: Version 2.8.0 Released

Yeah!  Look on the front page (or the recent posts list in the side bar) to read the official release announcement.  Better graphics, new aircraft, new visual effects, tons of new things to explore!

July 30, 2012: v2.8.0 Release Candidate “RC4” Available.

If you are interested in trying the next release of FlightGear ahead of time (and helping us sniff out any remaining bugs or packaging issues) then please take a look for download links in the release candidate section towards the bottom main download page.  Also notice that updated v2.8.0 aircraft are also available for download along with the pre-release.

June 28, 2012: WordPress 3.4.1

The FlightGear web site software has been updated to WordPress v3.4.1.

February 28, 2012: Version 2.6.0 Updates

Both Mac OS X and Windows have had small tweaks to follow up the v2.6 release.  For Mac OS X there is “r319” version of the 2.6.0 dmg which fixes a couple problems some Mac users were seeing.  For Windows there is a “Setup FlightGear 2.6.0.1.exe” which fixes one small 32bit vs. 64bit dll packaging problem some 64bit users were seeing.

February 17, 2012: Version 2.6.0 Released

There has been a large number of changes and updates to the download and information pages as part of the v2.6.0 roll-out.

Jan 29, 2012: New v2.6.0 Release Candidate Available

A complete test release for the upcoming FlightGear 2.6.0 version is available to try.  Follow this link to the FlightGear v2.6.0 Release Candidate page.

Jan 6, 2012: New Developer Snapshot Available

A new developer snapshot (v20120105) is available for download and testing.  This is a way to keep up with all the coolest new features and experimentation without needing to compile the code yourself from scratch.  You can find the download link on the main download page.

Dec 28, 2011: Contributors Section added

A new section has been added to the FlightGear web site: Contributors.  We plan to periodical add profiles of different contributors to this section.  If you’d like to be included here, or have corrections or updates to existing entries, please contact the web master!

Sep 27, 2011: Scenery Download Page added

A World Scenery Download page has finally been added to the new web site.  You can find the page in the main site menu.  The graphical download page has also been updated.  All the links should now point to the v2.4.0 version of the scenery (this corresponds to svn version 16700 from the terrascenery archives.)  Update: a small link error has been fixed so the download map should be working again.  Thanks to those who reported it!

Sep 27, 2011: New wiki and liveries server

The server hosting wiki.flightgear.org and liveries.flightgear.org has been upgraded and the content has been migrated over.  There shouldn’t be any problems, but of course if you spot something odd, please let us know.