FlightGear 2020.3 Released

After two years of work, the new stable release of the free open-source flight simulator FlightGear is finally here: 2020.3! It replaces 2018.3 as our supported, stable version. There’s many updated aircraft, visual enhancements and a new default airport/region: Keflavík (BIKF) in Iceland.

The Alouette III getting close to a volcanic plume.

As always there’s also internal improvements to the flight models and other simulation systems, bug-fixes, and performance improvements.

We’re going to take a proper tour around Iceland in another post, and detail some of the improved feature and aircraft over the next few months. The full change-log is available here. But we’d like to quickly share some highlights below.

To get started straight away, visit our download page.

Welcome to Iceland

Iceland is the world’s newest country, if you’re speaking geographically: a land of ice and fire. FlightGear models several volcanoes with multiple levels of activity: Eyjafjallajökull which disrupted aviation in 2010, Surtsey, and the brooding, powerful, Katla.

Iceland seen from space (using EarthView imagery)

Keflavík International Airport (BIKF) is the featured airport for the release: due to its remote location in the north Atlantic, the long runways have been used by all kinds of aircraft over the years; especially as stop-over for early transatlantic services, but also patrolling military aircraft and transports.

Aircraft

  • The A320 has been overhauled, with accurate simulation and display of the flight management systems.
  • The C182 gained an excellent integration of the FG1000 glass-cockpit, as did the J3 Cub and the Diamond DA40. More aircraft installations are in development.
  • The SEPCAT Jaguar GR.1, Bombardier Q400 and twenty more aircraft were added.

Feature highlights

There’s been many changes since the last release, but here’s a few particular interesting ones:

  • FlightGear now simulates tides covering and uncovering shallow areas (littoral areas), like tidal flats (mudflats). You can see tides as the day progresses – there are two highs and two lows per day.
Morecambe bay at low tide
  • Textures can be cached & compressed for faster loading and reduced memory use, giving better performance.
  • Connection to the VATSIM network via SWIFT is officially supported.
  • Better translation support, and handling of non-ASCII file names.
  • Many view improvements, including a new Tower-AGL view.

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