We have a wide range of people interested and participating in this
project. This is truly a global effort with contributors from just
about every continent. Interests range from building a realistic home
simulator out old airplane parts, to university research and
instructional use, to simply having a viable alternative to commercial
The Intelligent Robotics Group at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth,
UK is using FlightGear as part of their aerobot research
to design aerial vehicles
that can operate in the atmosphere of other planets.
For those planets and moons that support an atmosphere
(e.g. Mars, Venus, Titan and Jupiter), flying robots, or aerobots,
are likely to provide a practical solution to the problem of extended
planetary surface coverage for terrain mapping and surface/subsurface
Not only could such devices be used for suborbital mapping
of terrain regions, but they could be used to transport and
deploy science packages or even microrovers at different
geographically separate landing sites.
The technological challenges posed by planetary aerobots are significant.
To investigate this problem the group is building a virtual environment
to simulate autonomous aerobot flight.
The NaSt3DGP computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software package generates
meteorological conditions, which are 'loaded' into the FlightGear simulator
to create realistic wind effects acting upon an aerobot
when flying over a given terrain.
The terrain model used by both FlightGear and NaSt3DGP is obtained
from the MGS Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument,
and the Mars Climate Database (MCD) is used to initialize the CFD simulation.
UTC has been using Flightgear as the basis of a research project
started in August, 2001, with the goal
of providing the Challenger Center at the university
(and hopefully other centers in the future) a low cost virtual reality
The project is using flightgear and JSBSim,
specifically the shuttle module,
to develop a shuttle landing simulator.
They are aiming to
contribute instructions, on how to interface their virtual
reality hardware with Flightgear, back to the OS community.
The project is funded by the
Wolf Aviation Foundation.
Dr. Andy Novobiliski is heading the research project.
Todd Moyer of ARINC used FlightGear as part of an effort to
test and evaluate Flight Management Computer avionics
and the corresponding ground systems. Certain capabilities of the
Flight Management Computer are only available when airborne,
which is determined by the FMC according to data it receives
from GPS and INS sensors.
They wrote additional software
that translates the NMEA output of FlightGear
(including latitude, longitude, and altitude)
into the ARINC 429 data words used by GPS and INS sensors.
These data words are fed to the Flight Management Computer.
the position information from FlightGear is realistic enough to
convince the FMC that it is actually airborne,
and allows ARINC to test entire `flights' with the avionics.
Marcus Bauer and others worked on a simulator cockpit environment
using FlightGear as the software engine
to drive a real cockpit, including three cockpit computers.
are using FlightGear as the software for a moving cockpit
entertainment simulator that supports both flight and space
Many applications started using FlightGear years ago:
- University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
FlightGear is providing a platform for icing research for the Smart
Icing Systems Project.
- Simon Fraser University, British Columbia Canada.
Portions of FlightGear were used in simulation to develop the needed
control algorithms for an autonomous aerial vehicle.
- Iowa State University.
A senior project intended to retrofit some older sim hardware with
FlightGear based software.
- University of Minnesota - Human Factors Research Lab.
FlightGear brings new life to an old Agwagon single seat, single
- Aeronautical Development Agency, Bangalore India.
FlightGear is used as as the image generator for a flight simulation
facility for piloted evaluation of ski-jump launch and arrested
recovery of a fighter aircraft from an aircraft carrier.
- Veridian Engineering Division, Buffalo, NY.
FlightGear is used for the scenery and out-the-window view for the
Genesis 3000 flight simulator.