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FlightGear 2.6: Your Free, Open Source Flight Simulator Got Even Better [Cross Platform]

Danny Stieben 12-03-2012

flight simulator gamesAs a kid, I’ve always loved to play with flight simulators. I still do today, except the ones we get to enjoy today are way more advanced than what I got to play with about 13 years ago (although the same applies to all games). While today’s flight simulators are much more advanced, they also carry a price tag which not everyone may want to pay. So what’s the best free flight simulator known to man? FlightGear 8 Awesome Free Open-Source Games You Can Enjoy on Windows, Mac, and Linux Read More of course!


FlightGear may not be the most advanced flight simulator game out there when compared to other commercial solutions, but it’s still highly capable and can provide as much fun and realism as the commercial solutions. Additionally, FlightGear gets better with each release, and this latest 2.6 release packs another powerful punch following the 2.4 release.

You can find the download page here. If you’re a 64-bit Windows user, please look at the “Code Improvements” section for an installation tip.

Code Improvements

A lot of code improvements have gone into this latest FlightGear release. For example, FlightGear now has the ability to automatically place planes in correct parking locations at certain airports. Additionally, you can also see a highlighted path on the ground for you to follow for taxiing to your selected runway. Certain software models have also been changed to work better with multi-core CPUs, and load times have been reduced by only loading those parts of the airplane that are visible. The flight dynamics model that FlightGear depends on also got a “major overhaul”.

There also used to be a separate 64-bit installer for Windows that you can add on top of the original 32-bit installation, but these have now been merged. You can choose to include the 64-bit binaries by unchecking the “Force 32-bit installation on 64-bit system” option during installation.

Visual Improvements

flight simulator games

FlightGear also includes some changes that you can see. There are many new or updated AI aircraft and liveries, all of which can now make sound as well. According to the release notes with a bit of humor, “AI controlled pilots have received extensive landing training and now make a more realistic approach and vacate the runway when able.” Clouds have also got yet another update and render even more realistically with no performance impact.

flight simulator games

There is also a new replay system in place where you can start the replay and then take control of the plane at wherever you pause the replay. FlightGear says this is very useful for practicing things like approaches over and over by rewinding and taking control of the plane again.

There are also three planes that FlightGear highlights as much improved including the A-26 Invader and Polikarpov I16, but the most improved one seems to be the Boeing 777-200ER. Be sure to check that plane out when you can. Other improvements including a more realistic sea, rocky steep slopes, wet runways during rain showers, and so on.


Of course, these aren’t all the improvements in FlightGear, but I find these to be the most noteworthy, and yes there are plenty of noteworthy ones. Thanks to FlightGear’s open source nature, it will continually improve until it becomes one of the best simulators in the business. Until then, I still think it’s a decent flight simulator game worth everyone’s time.

What are your thoughts on FlightGear? What would you like to see added or improved? Let us know in the comments!

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    August 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Great! I'm looking forward to the improvements.

    • walter
      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

      i thoght it so pose to be free

    • walter
      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

      i thoght it so pose to be free

    • walter
      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

      i thoght it so pose to be free

    • walter
      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

      i thoght it so pose to be free

    • walter
      May 7, 2017 at 4:00 am

      i thoght it so pose to be free

  2. 2424frawD
    July 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I can also recommend XPlane. Available in Linux and Android, as well as the usual platforms. Also, it flies specifications for not yet constructed aircraft.

    • Danny Stieben
      July 30, 2012 at 1:32 am

      I find XPlane to be pretty good too, but sadly it's not free and therefore also not open source. Great choice for someone who's willing to spend a few bucks.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I'm really inspired with your writing skills and also with the structure to your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self? Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it's rare to look a great weblog like this one nowadays..

  4. Mike
    March 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Interesting that there was a Microsoft Flight ad on the FlightGear site when I went to it.

  5. Preetam Das
    March 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Flightgear runs laggy on my PC (1.2 GB RAM, 128 MB SiS Mirage Graphics, Pentium 4 HT processor), any idea why is this happening, and how to solve it ?

    • XmBill
      March 13, 2012 at 5:48 am

      Your computer is severely under-powered. Looks like it might be time to upgrade if you want to play games or simulators. Especially your graphics card probably needs 1GB of RAM. And your system RAM probably needs to be at least 2GB. Might be time to bite the bullet. For around $300 on a low budget you could get a whole system minus monitor that would run it without any problems.
      In the mean time if upgrading is not possible, reduce your graphics settings to the minimum. It won't look too good, but should improve the lag if possible on that machine. Hope this helps.

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Sadly, I have to agree with XmBill on this one. With those specs, there's not a lot you can do besides upgrading your hardware.

  6. Paul N
    March 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Awesome. I have to try this.