Flight Gear

This is a free and highly sophisticated flight simulator.

The project is primarily aimed at civilian flight simulation. It should be appropriate for simulating general aviation as well as civilian aircraft.

In FlightGear, scenery is divided into two kinds of data: Objects and Terrain. Objects are the buildings, bridges and radio towers, etc. that represent three-dimensional structures. Terrain represents the contours, elevations and type of ground you fly over.

Features include:

  • Wide range of aircraft models from gliders to helicopters, and from airliners to fighter jets
  • Over 20,000 real world airports included in the full scenery set
  • Correct runway markings and placement, correct runway and approach lighting
  • Taxiways available for many larger airports (even including the green center line lights when appropriate)
  • Sloping runways (runways change elevation like they usually do in real life)
  • Directional airport lighting that smoothly changes intensity as your relative view direction changes
  • World scenery fits on 3 DVD’s
  • Accurate terrain worldwide, based on the most recently released SRTM terrain data.) 3 arc second resolution (about 90m post spacing) for North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia
  • Scenery includes all vmap0 lakes, rivers, roads, railroads, cities, towns, land cover, etc
  • Nice scenery night lighting with ground lighting concentrated in urban areas (based on real maps) and headlights visible on major highways. This allows for realistic night VFR flying with the ability to spot towns and cities and follow roads
  • Scenery tiles are paged (loaded/unloaded) in a separate thread to minimize the frame rate hit when you need to load new areas
  • Implements extremely accurate time of day modeling with correctly placed sun, moon, stars, and planets for the specified time and date
  • 3 Flight Dynamics Models:
    • JSBSim – a generic, 6DoF flight dynamics model for simulating the motion of flight vehicles
    • YAsim – an integrated part of FlightGear and uses a different approach than JSBSim by simulating the effect of the airflow on the different parts of an aircraft
    • UIUC – based on LaRCsim originally written by the NASA
  • Advanced Features
    • Aircraft Carrier – supports carrier operations on the Nimitz, (located near San Fransisco) and
    • Atlas – supports carrier operations on the Nimitz, (located near San Fransisco) and Eisenhower
    • Multiplayer – supports a multiplayer environment, allowing you to share the air with other flight-simmers
    • Multiple Displays – allows you to connect multiple instances of the program together to display different views of the simulation though a highly flexible I/O subsystem
    • Recording and Playback – ability to record your flight for later analysis or playback
    • Text to Speech with Festival – supports Text To Speech (TTS) for ATC and tutorial messages through the festival TTS engine
    • Air-Air Refuelling
  • Multiplayer gameplay


Writing 3rd party extensions for FlightGear (or even directly modifying the FlightGear source code) is straightforward and doesn’t require a large amount of reverse engineering. This makes FlightGear an attractive option for use in private, commercial, research, or hobby projects.

Homepage: www.flightgear.org
Developer: Curt Olson and many others
License: GNU GPL v2
Written in: Mostly C++, with some C

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