FlightGear: Sophisticated and professional open source flight simulator

FlightGear: Sophisticated and professional open source flight simulator

FlightGear: Sophisticated and professional open source flight simulator

Today, we will enter the Gaming World but professional. That is, we will do a more detailed review of an interesting Open Source Flight Simulator Game, that already in another past opportunity we mentioned. And it is called "FlightGear".

"FlightGear" For those who are completely unaware of it, it is a flight simulator created by an international group of volunteers, which has also been published as free software and open source under the GPL license. And the same, is used both for the academic research and EducationAs for fun.

3 native alternatives to Flight Simulator for Linux

3 native alternatives to Flight Simulator for Linux

For those interested in exploring bliss previous related post of many years ago, with the theme of Games about flight simulators, you can click on the following link, after finishing reading this publication:

"FlightGear It is a multiplatform and free flight simulator. It is currently an important alternative to commercial flight simulators. It is probably the only program of its kind whose code is free and with no intention of hiding how it works internally, which makes it very extensible.

X-Plane is a civil flight simulator, created by Austin Meyer, it is one of the main flight simulators that compete against Microsoft Flight Simulator. According to its developer, it is an extremely accurate simulator, based on calculating the effect of air flow on the surfaces of simulated aircraft.

YS Flight Simulation System 2000 is a freeware flight simulator developed by Soji Yamakawa, a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University."

Related article:
3 native alternatives to Flight Simulator for Linux

FlightGear: Open Source Flight Simulator

FlightGear: Open Source Flight Simulator

What is FlightGear?

According to Official website de "FlightGear", currently this application is briefly described as follows:

"FlightGear is an open source flight simulator. Which also supports a variety of popular platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) and is developed by qualified volunteers from around the world. The source code for the entire project is available and licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Later, they detail about this development in a general way, the following:

"The aim of the FlightGear project is to create a sophisticated and open flight simulator framework for use in research or academic settings, pilot training, as an industry engineering tool, for DIY-ers to pursue their idea. Favorite Interesting Flight Simulator, and last but certainly not least as a fun, realistic and challenging desktop flight simulator. We are developing a sophisticated and open simulation framework that can be expanded and improved by anyone interested in contributing."


Among its current main features the following may be mentioned:

  1. Installers available for Windows, Linux and MacOS. And also for FreeBSD, Solaris, and IRIX.
  2. Available as Free Software and Open Source.
  3. It supports standard 3D model formats and much of the simulator configuration is controlled through xml-based ascii files.
  4. It allows the creation and use of third-party extensions for FlightGear, making it an attractive option for use in private, commercial, research or hobby projects.
  5. It incorporates, among many elements, the following: More than 20.000 real world airports included in the set of scenarios; Correct runway markings and placement, correct runway and approach lighting; large airport runways, sloped runways and directional lighting.

Flight dynamics models (FDM)

"FlightGear" it also allows you to add dynamics models or even interface with "proprietary" external flight dynamics models. However, it comes by default and available, the use of 3 different Flight Dynamics Models. And these are the following:

  • JSBSim: Generic flight dynamics model (FDM) that allows to simulate the movement of flying vehicles. It is written in C ++ and allows the game to be run in a standalone mode for batch executions. Or allow the driver to be part of a larger simulation program that includes a visuals subsystem (like FlightGear.) In both cases, the aircraft are modeled in an XML configuration file, where the mass, aerodynamic and control properties flight are all defined.
  • YASIM: This FDM is an integrated part of FlightGear and uses a different approach than JSBSim by simulating the effect of airflow on different parts of an aircraft. The advantage of this approach is that it is possible to perform simulation based on geometry and mass information combined with the most commonly available performance numbers for an aircraft.
  • UIUC: This FDM is based on LaRCsim, originally written by NASA. And it extends the code by allowing aircraft configuration files in place and adding code for simulating the aircraft in icy conditions. UIUC (like JSBSim) uses lookup tables to retrieve the coefficients of force and aerodynamic moment of aircraft components, and then uses these coefficients to calculate the sum of the forces and moments acting on the aircraft.

More information

For its discharge, installation and use on GNU / Linux you only need to download the desired executable from "FlightGear" next to its corresponding compressed data file. Both can be located in their own folder and then the compressed file can be unzipped there.

Once the executable file (in AppImage format) we must indicate to it the path created for the compressed file. After that, we just have to wait for the installer to take the data and that's it, to try and play.

FlightGear: Screenshot 1

FlightGear: Screenshot 2

FlightGear: Screenshot 3

Note: Currently "FlightGear" goes for the last stable version 2020.3.11 according to its official site at SourceForge.

Summary: Various publications

Your Order

In summary, "FlightGear" is currently one of the few open source flight simulators, which can not only be a lot of fun, but can be highly formative / educational. And thanks to that, your source code is available and licensed under the GNU General Public License it develops steadily through its large community.

We hope that this publication will be very useful for the entire «Comunidad de Software Libre y Código Abierto» and of great contribution to the improvement, growth and diffusion of the ecosystem of applications available for «GNU/Linux». And do not stop sharing it with others, on your favorite websites, channels, groups or communities of social networks or messaging systems. Finally, visit our home page at «FromLinux» to explore more news, and join our official channel Telegram from DesdeLinux.

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