Flight Gear Aircraft piloting simulator on GNU / Linux

FlightGear is a multi-platform and free flight simulator. It is currently an important alternative to commercial flight simulators. It is probably the only program of its kind whose code is free and with no intention of hiding how it works internally, which makes it very extensible. Although there are players who consider that it cannot exceed the graphic level of the best commercial products, the physical model of the flight and the realism of the controls is at the same or higher level than the best simulators, Wikipedia Source.

You can see a trailer for Flight Gear on YouTube at the following URL:


After watching it, the reader may feel the urge to want to try this excellent open source flight simulator.

3D acceleration

For the rendering of its graphics, OpenGL uses an excellent 3D rendering engine for the creation of models and 3D games, it requires hardware for graphic processing to be able to run the simulator’s graphics, its graphics are not exactly the best, it allows this simulator run on low-performance graphics processing hardware.

Recommended Hardware for FlightGear 3.20+

It may not have the best graphics in the world of simulators but it requires at least a budget of about $ 1000 to be able to run the simulator with a good framerate.


  • A screen with a resolution of at least 1024×768 at 32bpp (currently many GUI dialogs cannot be viewed otherwise)

Graphics processing unit

  • A 3D video card (with AMD or NVIDIA chipset) with support for OpenGL 2.1 or higher and at least 1024-2048 MB of dedicated DDR3 + memory (DDR5 preferred) VRAM (ie 512 Mb VRAM minimum). FlightGear requires an OpenGL 2.1-compliant hardware-accelerated 3D video card to run at reasonable framerates. Many modern PCs have hardware accelerated 3D cards. If your FlightGear video doesn’t run smoothly see Graphics drivers configuration.
  • See Supported Video Cards to find a list of video cards known to work with FlightGear.
  • Cards with operational support for GLSL / shader will allow FlightGear to run with more visual effects.
  • If you’re serious about running FlightGear you should avoid Intel HD / GMA cards at all costs. These are integrated chipsets that only provide basic OpenGL / GLSL support. See problematic video cards for a list of video cards that may not work properly.


  • At least 2-4 Gb of free RAM (and more is better: when building / buying a new system consider 6-8 Gb as the absolute minimum these days). FlightGear uses more than 500 Mb of RAM by default. If there is less free RAM available FlightGear would be slowed down significantly due to swapping of the operating system.
  • At least one quad-core processor with ~ 2GHz each, 64-bit architecture (and operating system) recommended (multi-core processors have benefits for some FlightGear components such as the multi-threaded grid loader). When buying a new computer, today it is a good idea to buy at least one computer with four cores (ie i7).

Storage disk

  • 5 Gb of hard disk space for a minimal installation, approximately 10 Gb if you want to compile it yourself, plus up to 80 Gb for optional world scenarios. More space is required for those who want to check out the latest Git base package. People using script-based compilation on Linux Debian / Ubuntu will need approximately 30 Gb of disk space in total.
  • Input devices
  • A three-button mouse or a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel
  • An optional joystick / controller and / or pedals. Game port or USB (HID compliant), see $ FG_ROOT / Input for a list of input devices known to work with FlightGear.
  • Sound card
  • An optional sound card, compatible with SoundBlaster, preferably with EAX support.
  • Characteristics
  • An accurate and extensive world scenario database. Since November 2013, the official simulator scenario makes use of data from OpenStreetMap.
  • Around 20,000 real airports.
  • Accurate terrain from around the world, based on the most recent release of SRTM terrain data. The scenario includes all lakes, rivers, roads, railways, cities, towns, land, etc.
  • Detailed and accurate sky model, with correct locations of the sun, moon, stars, and planets for the specified date and time.
  • Open and flexible aircraft modeling system, wide variety of aircraft.
  • Extremely fluid and smooth instrumental animation. Realistically model the behavior of instruments in the real world. It even accurately reproduces the faults of many systems and instruments.
  • Multiplayer mode.
  • Real traffic simulation.
  • Real time option that includes both the illumination of the sun, the wind, the rain, fog, smoke, etc.

Development and constant evolution of the simulator.

Thanks to an immense community of global developers who dedicate their free time to continuously improve this excellent flight simulator in recent years it has included significant improvements and the progressive inclusion of new aircraft models for flight simulation with them, perhaps The graphics are not the best in the world of simulators of this type but it has a level of realism in terms of the sensation of flight and piloting of airplanes that leaves its users very satisfied despite the fact that it still has some specific deficiencies but that in the constant development cycle will be corrected.


This excellent game simulator is under the GPLv2, where people with knowledge from all over the world can access the source code, improve it, redistribute it, among others while it remains free software.

How to get Flight Gear?

This is the simplest part since the simulator can be downloaded free of charge from the following URL on its official site:


Once downloaded, you just have to follow those explained in the README.md file or its INSTALL.md to proceed with the installation and then later use of this excellent simulator.

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