Flightgear can commicate with several different methods. In this example we are using a serial communication which is fairly simple method for Arduino to communicate with Flightgear. Arduino is connected with it's normal USB-cable to computer and computer recognises Arduino as a serial device. All we have to do is to send a simple serial command to pc and Flightgear will read it.

What will you need?

In these examples I use:
  • FlightGear 3.2
  • FlightGear Launch Control (program to make FlightGear start without terminal)
  • Arduino UNO
  • Linux (Ubuntu 14.04)
  • on/off switch
  • potentiometer

What knowledge you need:

  • Arduino basics (how to read input, analoque input, serial sending...). I you're not familiar with Arduino, learn it from here: Arduino guide homepage
  • Ubuntu basic skills (file editing, find folder using file explorer, know what terminal is...)
  • Little soldering skills

With this guide you should be able to do a switch and a potentiometer interface to control your simulators properties such as aileron, elevator, gears, lights, fuel valve, etc. By expanding what you learn here you should be able to create a larger control panel and/or use an old analogue joystic that does not fit anymore to modern computer (no game ports in modern sound cards anymore).

I am using Flightgears Cessna 172P Skyhawk aircraft in these examples.

Now, let's first set up Flightgears Input Protocol File to read messages correctly from serial connection... continue to Set up Flightgear.