Panel / Aircraft / Scenery Design / Hard & Software

FlightGear Flight Simulator

The FlightGear project was started in 1997 by a group of volunteers scattered across the internet. FlightGear is a so-called open source project: this means that development takes place in an open environment and that all materials resulting from the project are freely available for everybody. Although FlightGear has traditionally mainly been of interest to hackers and tinkerers, recent years have seen significant efforts to improve usability and user-friendliness, opening up to project to a large group of users.

FlightGear has already been present at FSWeekend since 2005, and this year will be no exception. This year we aim to show how you can use our software by integrating it into home-built cockpits. More specifically, we will show a home-built cockpit, constructed using a mixture of commercially available hardware, salvaged aircraft parts and hand-made electronics interfaces. The cockpit is an approximate version of a 737-800 captain’s side panel and centre pedestal, with a floor-mounted Boeing-style yoke. The main computer runs FlightGear on Linux, driving the main display on a 4K LCD. The same computer also runs the captain’s flight and map displays, using FlightGear’s ability to expose in-cockpit displays to separate applications.

The commercial hardware (GoFlight and Saitek) is interfaced using USB, while custom hardware is connected through a Raspberry Pi with a GPIO extender board, and communicating with the main computer via FlightGear’s standard networking interface. The Raspberry Pi is also used to drive the upper EICAS display, again working as a remote viewer on the main simulator’s cockpit displays.

All the software used in the system is freely available under the same open-source license as the rest of FlightGear, and can work on Windows or macOS as well as on Linux. We welcome people using the software to create their own cockpit experiences.

In addition to the cockpit described above, we will also focus on the historical aspect of Aviation and invite visitors to try their hands on flying the Lockheed Constellation (“Connie”) themselves. We will feature a life-size Kiosk style cockpit of the Constellation, where we allow visitors to take the Constellation for a short Flight. In addition, we will run the same simulation on a regular PC and visitors are welcome to try those as well. Regular flying activities and networking aspects, such as ATC will also be demonstrated.  In addition to those activities, we welcome and questions you might have. Our international team consists of developers, beta-testers, and regular users with expertise in all aspects of the program.

Being an open source project, FlightGear is freely available for everybody to download. For this reason, FlightGear is still a project of interest for potential developers. In order to share the workload, we are continually interested in attracting potential developers. You don’t need any programming skills to be able to help. In addition to software development, we are also actively looking for content developers: For instance, we are interested in the development of 3D content: Aircraft, or buildings, texture or aircraft livery painting, or the beta testing of release candidates. Feel free to drop by if you are interested. Our booth staff will be happy to get you started.

If you want to see more, you are also welcome to attend our live demonstrations in the movie theater: see the program for further information.

For additional information, see also: