Author Topic: Flight Gear 3 is an Open Source FREE Flight Simulator Windows / Mac OS X / LINUX  (Read 6884 times)

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Software Santa

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Flight Gear 3 is an Open Source FREE Flight Simulator! Windows / Mac OS X / LINUX / BSD / Solaris / SGI Systems (That's MOST of YOU!)

A Software Santa PICK! This is MUCH MORE fun than that ol' sleigh: that thing corners like a Battleship!

Want to have a free flight? Take FlightGear!

Yet Another Flight Simulator? ”You can do anything with the software except make it non-free”.

      The full text of the GPL can be obtained from the FlightGear source code or from

    * User-supported and user-extensible: Unlike most commercial simulators, FlightGear’s scenery and aircraft formats, internal variables, APIs, and everything else are user accessible and documented from the beginning. Even without any explicit development documentation (which naturally has to be written at some point), one can always go to the source code to see how something works. It is the goal of the developers to build a basic engine to which scenery designers, panel engineers, maybe adventure or ATC routine writers, sound artists, and others can build upon. It is our hope that the project, including the developers and end users, will benefit from the creativity and ideas of the hundreds of talented “simmers” around the world.

Without doubt, the success of the Linux project, initiated by Linus Torvalds, inspired several of the developers. Not only has Linux shown that distributed development of highly sophisticated software projects over the Internet is possible, it has also proven that such an effort can surpass the level of quality of competing commercial products.

System Requirements

In comparison to other recent flight simulators, the system requirements for FlightGear are not extravagant. A medium speed AMD Athlon64 or Intel P4, even a decent AMD Athlon/K7 or an Intel PIII should be sufficient to handle FlightGear pretty well, given you have a proper 3D graphics card.

One important prerequisite for running FlightGear is a graphics card whose driver supports OpenGL. If you don’t know what OpenGL is, the overview given at the OpenGL website

says it best: “Since its introduction in 1992, OpenGL has become the industry’s most widely used and supported 2-D and 3D graphics application programming interface (API)...”.

FlightGear does not run (and will never run) on a graphics board which only supports Direct3D. Contrary to OpenGL, Direct3D is a proprietary interface, being restricted to the Windows operating system.

You may be able to run FlightGear on a computer that features a 3D video card not supporting hardware accelerated OpenGL – and even on systems without 3D graphics hardware at all. However, the absence of hardware accelerated OpenGL support can bring even the fastest machine to its knees. The typical signal for missing hardware acceleration are frame rates below 1 frame per second.

Any modern 3D graphics featuring OpenGL support will do. For Windows video card drivers that support OpenGL, visit the home page of your video card manufacturer. You should note that sometimes OpenGL drivers are provided by the manufacturers of the graphics chip instead of by the makers of the board. If you are going to buy a graphics card for running FlightGear, one based on a AMD/ATI Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce with an absolute minimum of 64 MByte, better 128 Mbyte might be a good choice.

To install the executable and basic scenery, you will need around 50 MB of free disk space. In case you want/have to compile the program yourself you will need about an additional 500 MB for the source code and for temporary files created during compilation. This does not include the development environment, which will vary in size depending on the operating system and environment being used. Windows users can expect to need approximately 300 MB of additional disk space for the development environment. Linux and other UNIX machines should have most of the development tools already installed, so there is likely to be little additional space needed on those platforms.

For the sound effects, any capable sound card should suffice. Due to its flexible design, FlightGear supports a wide range of joysticks and yokes as well as rudder pedals under Linux and Windows. FlightGear can also provide interfaces to full-motion flight chairs.

FlightGear is being developed primarily under Linux, a free UNIX clone (together with lots of GNU utilities) developed cooperatively over the Internet in much the same spirit as FlightGear itself. FlightGear also runs and is partly developed under several flavors of Windows. Building FlightGear is also possible on a Macintosh OSX and several different UNIX/X11 workstations. Given you have a proper compiler installed, FlightGear can be built under all of these platforms. The primary compiler for all platforms is the free GNU C++ compiler (the Cygnus Cygwin compiler under Win32).

If you want to run FlightGear under Mac OSX we suggest a Power PC G3 300 MHz or better. As a graphics card we would suggest an ATI Rage 128 based card as a minimum. Joysticks are supported under Mac OS 9.x only; there is no joystick support under Max OSX at this time.

Here I AM tooling along in my antique DH "Beaver" towards downtown San Diego ...

This Program is TOO COOL! It's a large download but well worth it!
(You can steer with the Keyboard or Mouse also - But a Rudder/Throttle/Stick combo and a Full Motion Flight Chair make for a ride Just like YOU were THERE! )

For ALL Systems: 

The FlightGear Manual:

Look here first for Downloads:

Download Windows Version here:
Download Macintosh Version here:

Categories: Games - Educational - 3D Graphics - Flight Simulator - Mac System X - Panther - Tiger - PPC - MacIntel - LINUX - Windows - SGI - Solaris - BSD
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 10:24:27 AM by Software Santa »


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