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FlightGear: An Open Source Flight Simulator

Flight simulators are amazing, extremely complex, very entertaining and educational software, especially for airplane enthusiasts. Today I will present to you the FlightGear. An open source, multiplatform, and extremely complete flight simulator.

FlightGear users can enjoy almost 7500 airports around the globe, more than 1200 liveries (aircraft paintings) different, and almost 500 different aircraft models, including small and large civil aircraft, helicopters, and military jets. All this completely free.

In the software launcher itself, before you even start the simulator itself, you are already beginning to realize FlightGear's level of completeness. The first screen displayed shows which aircraft and airport are currently selected, as well as some details of the settings.

Exploring a little more, on the tab AircraftYou already have a list of hundreds of aircraft available for download and installation, which can be done with just one click.

Of all the aircraft I have ever tested, I will indicate you three, which are my favorite. For those who want a smaller challenge with a smaller plane, a great one is the Cessna 172P Skyhawk. For those who want to fly with big planes but are still starting, my suggestion is to Boeing 777. For those who want a much bigger challenge, and as close to reality as possible, my most realistic suggestion of all, Boeing 707.

Remembering that in order for these aircraft to appear on the list, you must first activate the official FlightGear repository on the tab. Addons (subject we will cover later).

In the tab Location You can choose which airport, runway, or parking lot you want the simulator to start, which means just about any airport in the world. To choose the airport you can search by ICAO code, or name of it in the search field. In the example above, I am searching for Guarulhos airport, which can be found by ICAO code, which SBGR. Or simply searching for Guarulhos.

In the tab Envinroment We have some very interesting features. Here we can choose the time of day we want to fly, which may be morning, afternoon, evening, dusk, dawn, or the actual time of the chosen location.

We can also choose and season of the year, summer or winter, which influence the textures of the game. For example, adding snow where it snows during the winter.

To dust Advanced Weather Modeling gives us a more detailed climate simulation based on terrain and location. Changing things like wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, among others.

Selecting Real-World Weather FlightGear uses real-time information on the weather where you are.

In addition to the above, you can also choose a specific weather condition such as sunny, snow, storm, heavy rain, lightning storm, and more.

The tab Settings It gives us a lot of configuration options, so I'll just talk about the ones I consider most important.

You can connect to multiplayer servers where you can meet and chat with people from all over the world flying on FlightGear. As well as see what type of aircraft, speed, altitude and flight plan of the person in question.

To dust Download scenery automatically enables a feature called TerraSync. With TerraSync enabled, FlightGear automatically downloads in real time where you are, where you are going, and where you are passing. This way the user does not have to worry about downloading all the scenarios and installing them manually. Of course, for most people it would not be very good either if all over 100GB of scenarios were already included during the software installation.

When it comes to graphics settings, we don't have as many options as in normal games. Incidentally, flight simulators are definitely not games. In FlightGear we can select an AntiAliasing level up to 4x, and choose from three different renderers.

The standard renderer does not have great visual effects, but lighter and ensures compatibility with a larger number of hardware and aircraft models. ALS (Atmospheric Light Scaling) has more effects, visually much more beautiful, and also considerably increases rendering distance. Finally we have Rembrandt. This is the most advanced of all three renderers, but also the heaviest.

It's very important to clarify that the way flight simulators weigh on your system is quite different from the way games work. Flight simulators need to simulate a huge amount of flight systems, which usually work on super-powerful millionaires on real airplanes. It's really heavy work, which makes flight simulators usually require much more of your machine than games. Therefore, having a PC running, for example, GTA V at maximum, does not necessarily mean that you will be able to run a flight simulator at maximum settings at 60 FPS. Overall, 30 FPS without drops is a very good value to achieve in a home PC flight simulator.

Finally, we have the tab Addons. This is where you must come to activate FlightGear's official aircraft repository, to have available the hundreds of different models that will appear on the Aircraft tab. Also through this tab you can manually install scenery, modules and aircraft that you have downloaded.

In addition to the nearly 500 aircraft available on the official FlightGear repository, there are also third party repositories. Called Hangars. These hangars, as their name implies, are maintained by third parties and not by FlightGear developers. Therefore there are no guarantees as to its operation.

777-300 booth at FlihtGear

Once you have chosen your aircraft, airport, and configured everything to your liking, just click Fly! and spend hours and hours as commander, co-pilot and passenger of their aircraft.

As obvious as it may seem, it is always good to make it clear that flying in a simulator is not the same as flying in a game like GTA, for example. To get the most out of what the software has to offer, you need to have minimal knowledge about aircraft, and how an airplane works. Or, that you are interested in learning about it.

How to install?

FlightGear is available in the official repositories of all major distros. Then just look for it in the app store in your district, and click install.

For Windows and MacOS users, FlightGear is available for download from official site. Ways to install what's not missing, and you can also install it via Flatpak. For this you can visit the Flathub software page, or simply execute the command below:

flatpak install flathub org.flightgear.FlightGear

If you don't know what or how to work with Flatpaks, check out our tutorial about the subject. Remember that after installing Flatpak support, you will need to add the Flathub repository, which can be done with the command below:

flatpak remote-add –if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

If you are interested in more information about flying FlightGear, please tell us in the comments. And maybe in the future I will produce some more article, or video showing a little more about the software, and how to use it.

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This is all folks!

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