FlightGear Open Source Flight Simulator

Final Approach View from Cessna 172 Skyhawk Cockpit, FlightGear - Airplanes and RocketsI don't know why I never knew about a great open source (aka Free) flight simulator called "FlightGear," but I do now. It's not quite on the level of Microsoft's Flight Simulator, but for free it's a pretty darn nice sim. The graphics are superb, but the flight controls, at least when using the keyboard, are a bit unstable. I was FlightGear Open Source Flight Simulator - Airplanes and Rocketsnot able to properly trim the aircraft for straight and level flight at any power setting, so landings especially were kind of difficult. FlightGear does have a joystick interface, but I don't own a joystick. My MS Flight Simulator has always done very well when using the keyboard keys. The basic download comes with a couple dozen aircraft, and there are many additional models available as separate downloads. Thanks to all the folks who have spent their valuable time developing FlightGear!

Per the About page on the FlightGear website: 


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

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

The idea for Flight Gear was born out of a dissatisfaction with current commercial PC flight simulators. A big problem with these simulators is their proprietariness and lack of extensibility. There are so many people across the world with great ideas for enhancing the currently available simulators who have the ability to write code, and who have a desire to learn and contribute. Many people involved in education and research could use a spiffy flight simulator frame work on which to build their own projects; however, commercial simulators do not lend themselves to modification and enhancement. The Flight Gear project is striving to fill these gaps."


Cessna 172 Skyhawk Airframe Model, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets      FlightGear Configuration Screen - Airplanes and Rockets

These are the opening setup/configuration screens

Ready for Takeoff in Cessna 172, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets      Chase Plane View of Cessna 172 Skyhawk Taking Off, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets

Cessna 172 Skyhawk instrument panel (L) and chase plane view of takeoff (R)

Rear View of Cessna 172 Skyhawk, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets      Landing Approach View from Cessna 172 Cockpit, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets

Chase plane view of Cessna 172 Skyhawk on runway (L) and final approach view from cockpit (R)

Basic Keys Help Screen, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets      Common Aircraft Keys Help Screen, FlightGear - Airplanes and Rockets

Keyboard control menus



Posted March 31, 2012