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A free flight simulator project that runs under Linux, Mac OS X and Windows platforms

editor's review






FlightGear is an open source and cross-platform cooperative flight simulator software. It also known as the world’s best free flight simulator that runs on Linux/UNIX, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

Features at a glance

Key features include flight dynamics models, accurate and extensive world scenery database, detailed and accurate sky model, open and flexible aircraft modeling system, as well as moderate hardware requirements.

In addition, the program features built-in support for multiple displays, as well as a number of networking options that allow it to communicate with GPS receivers, external autopilot, external flight dynamics modules or other FlightGear instances.

Its extensive world scenery database includes over 20,000 real world airports, taxiways, directional airport lighting, accurate terrain worldwide, scenery night lighting, paged scenery tiles, sloping runways, as well as correct runway placement and markings.

Under the hood, requirements, supported OSes and availability

Savvy tech users should know that the application is written entirely in the C++ and C programming language, using OpenGL, and it requires a 3D-enabled graphics card with OpenGL drivers, a 32-bit or 64-bit 2-3Ghz class CPU and at least 512MB or RAM.

It is supported on the Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, IRIX, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows OSes. On Linux/UNIX it is available for download as a source archive, as well as pre-built binaries for various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Gentoo, or for Solaris, FreeBSD and IRIX systems.

However, the best way to install FlightGear on your Linux distribution is to use the default Software Center or Package Manager application and the pre-built binary packages from the default software repositories (third-party repos are also provided the the community for Ubuntu distros).

Bottom line

Summing up, FlightGear is without no doubt the world’s best free flight simulator application. Be aware that this is not a game, it is a very mature and complex software project that allows anyone to learn how to operate an aircraft.

FlightGear was reviewed by Marius Nestor
Last updated on February 18th, 2015
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