FGFS Status Reports

Updated February 11, 2000

Current Development Summary

Here are some notable landmark items in the development of the Flight Gear project.

Supported Platforms

One of the goals of FlightGear is to be portable and support as many platforms as possible. To achieve this goal, Flight Gear is written in ANSI C/C++, on top of OpenGL and GLUT. In addition, we use plib to provide support for many other things that typically cause portability problems such as the joystick, the gui, and sound. This provides a pretty good amount of portability. The following platforms are fulling supported: As long as you have a C/C++ compiler, OpenGL, and GLUT you have a pretty good shot of porting Flight Gear to your platform. If you have a favorite platform not listed here, feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to provide porting assistance and work in support for new platforms into the core source code tree. 

Summary by Project


As part of "plib" of TUX_AQFH fame, Steve Baker has been putting together a basic audio library that can play a sound sample, loop continuous sound samples, and mix any combination of these. You can set the volume and pitch of the sounds individually and on the fly. "Plib" is available at: http://www.woodsoup.org/projs/plib


Jeff Goeke-Smith wrote a basic "heading hold". More recently, the functionality of the autopilot was extended by Curtis Olson to include a altitude hold, height above terrain hold, and an auto-throttle. Norman Vine has written an extension to the heading hold system that will allow great-circle navigation to a destination airport. He is also working on a system that will enable/disable the autopilot in a way that is similar to real airplanes.

Binary Datafiles

Gary van Sickle is working on a binary datafile format for FlightGear that will allow us to store the scenery tiles more efficiently, and load them quicker.


2D Cockpits Friedemann Reinhard has begun work on a stand alone instrument panel library. An early version of this can be found in FlightGear.

3D Cockpits: It looks like Michael Smith can generate 3d cockpit models in a format that will be usable from within Flight Gear. It will take some effort to generate the models and incorporate these into the simulator, but the end results should be slick. You can check out some of Michael's modeling work at: http://www.menet.umn.edu/~curt/fgfs/msmith/

Note, there are pluses and minuses to both the 2D and 3D cockpit approach. Ideally, Flight Gear will support both as best as possible on today's hardware so the user can toggle between one or the other and the HUD in whatever ways make sense.

Engine/Thrust Modeling

A person from Austrialia who I can't remember their name at the moment has begun work on an accurate model of the performance and behavior of a piston engine. If you know who you are, please remind me so I can insert your name here and not sound like a total fool. :-)

Flight Dynamics Modelling

A replacement Flight Dynamics model is being written by John Berndt that will allow the modelling of a wide range of different aircraft types. In addition we still have the Navion modelled in Larcsim, and a C172 replacement (written by Tony Peden).


Durk Talsma is working on incorporating Steve Baker's PUI library into FG so that we can have a runtime point and click interface. Durk has sumitted the first version of this which basically sets up the menu structure. You can show/hide the menu by pressing the "F10" key. Functionality has been added to the menu by Norman Vine. Note that a lot of the proposed menu items are not yet implemented.


Charlie Hotchkiss and Michelle America began work on the heads up display. Charlie has completely re-written the original hud code in C++. Charlie also has navaids and navigation instrument modeling in his sights. Norman Vine has also contributed substantially to the appearance and performance of the HUD.

Documentation and Publicity

Michael Basler has written an article on Flight Gear for a German flight sim magazine. This magazine has agreed to allow us to post the English translation of this article after July 1, 1998 (??-DT) when the magazine is mailed out to it's subscribers. Michael has also -in close cooperation with Bernhard Buckel- written the "Installation and getting started" document, which is an invaluable document for FlightGear "rookies" as well as "Veterans".


Curt has been continuing to plow away at scenery and scenery rendering issues. Thanks to his efforts we currently have a large scenery database, consisting of large areas of the world. Currently the USA scenery contists of correct terrain elevations, coastlines, some land use data such as glaciers and marshes, urban areas, lakes and rivers. The rest of the world constists currently mainly of elevations and coastlines. Currently Curt is focusing on matching the various data sources that are used to generate the FG world even better and also resolve some nasty data errors. Curt has also indicated that the next major thing he plans to work on is adding airport runways, lighting, and other objects to FlightGear.

Time managment / Timezones

Durk Talsma has adapted code from glibc that allows FlightGear to approximate in which timezone it is currently flying. The current implementation allows the specification of a given start-up time. The current version is considered early beta and will require some cleaning. Durk has also indicated that he wants to attempt to refine the code for the sun/moon position that is currently still to be found in the Time subdir. Eventually this should be moved to Astro.


Christian Mayer and Mark Vallevandt, with assistance from Durk Talsma, have written a weather database system that is capable of reading and storing, and interpreting METAR reports. Although currently not used, this database system will eventually pass atmospherical conditions to the Flight Model and the aircraft instruments on the one hand, and be used to generate visual weather effects on the other.  Some experimental code exsists that models the visual effects of Rain, thunderstorms (lightning!!), 2 and 3D clouds. We also have a Rainbow! None of this code has been added to flightgear yet.

(adaptations by Durk Talsma)

FrozenWebHost.com Curtis L. Olson