News list for Lighter-than-air for JSBSim and FlightGear.
- Small updates to the HTML pages here.
- My hangar at GitHub contains the
latest version of my aircraft. The most recent version or any earlier
release is easily downloaded through the GitHub web interface or using git.
- My hangar at gitorious contains the
latest version of my aircraft. Enter Source Tree view for the aircraft
and click on "Download master as .tar.gz".
I have made a scenery
objects add-on with hangars for most US Navy airship
air stations (roughly corresponding to the state at the end of WWII).
The hangar models are adapted from Moffett Field (KNUQ) in FLightGear.
Installation: Unpack the archive in a directory named Objects and add it
first in your scenery path.
Submarine Scout, ZF Navy free balloon, Zeppelin NT and
LZ 121 Nordstern have been updated in FlightGear/git.
See the git repository updates link for each aircraft below.
They will all be part of the up coming FlightGear 2.2.0 release.
Updated the Scania mast truck for Zeppelin NT.
Updated the web site.
Zeppelin NT and LZ 121 Nordstern have been updated in FlightGear/git.
LZ 121 Nordstern is now available in FlightGear/git.
A new airship has arrived: LZ 121 Nordstern, the sister ship to
LZ 120 Bodensee, the first passenger Zeppelin built after the
First World War.
I have updated LZ 129 to work with the current FlightGear/CVS.
This version should also work in FlightGear 2.0.0 and I have updated
that package as well.
The Zeppelin NT airship has been updated in FlightGear/CVS.
Added a drivable add-on mast truck vehicle for FlightGear/CVS.
The Zeppelin NT airship has been updated in FlightGear/CVS.
The ZF Navy free balloon has been updated in FlightGear/CVS.
It appears LZ 129 is currently unserviceable in FlightGear/CVS.
I'll fix this shortly.
The Excelsior balloon is also unserviceable in FlightGear/CVS.
It will be fixed eventually.
Notes for the Zeppelin NT at the FlightGear wiki.
Updated Zeppelin NT, Submarine Scout and ZF Navy free ballon available
Updated LZ-129: updated to work with the current FlightGear/CVS.
Updated Zeppelin NT available in FlightGear/CVS.
It will be included in the base package of the new upcomming
FlightGear release! :)
Added multiplayer copilot dual control to the Zeppelin NT
(available in FlightGear/CVS).
The Zeppelin NT has beed added to FlightGear/CVS.
News: A draft subsystem for modelling added/virtual mass is available
in JSBSim/CVS. It also works in FlightGear/CVS.
Updated Zeppelin NT: Added added/virtual mass modelling and made the
PDF more functional.
Updated LZ 129 Hindenburg: Added added/virtual mass modelling
and fixed some bugs.
Updated Zeppelin NT: Mooring mast locations are now shared over MP
and it is possible to moore to some MP/AI objects, e.g.
crash_tender and snowplow vehicles.
Great news: JSBSim in FlightGear has finally been updated! And the Submarine
Scout is now available in FlightGear/CVS.
Updated Zeppelin NT: Improved throttle controllers. Needs today's
JSBSim/CVS patch for FlightGear (or later :).
Updated Zeppelin NT: Variable pitch propellers, more proper engine controls
and mass balance.
First alpha release of my Zeppelin NT aircraft model.
Updated Submarine Scout: New structure for the MP integration - now
all Submarine Scouts (within range) form a broadcast group.
Make sure you update all
copies of mp_broadcast.nas (yes, it is all over the place, sorry).
Updated Submarine Scout: The ground crew is now visible over the multiplayer
Updated Submarine Scout: Added an ALDIS lamp for morse code signalling.
The lamp is lit by pressing the trigger
(controls.trigger()) unless in Pilot view where the trigger drops bombs.
Pick up the lamp in W/T operator view by clicking on the handle.
Updated Submarine Scout: Some more 3d model improvements.
Updated Submarine Scout: Remodelled the fins and fixed some remaining reset problems.
Updated JSBSim/CVS patch for FlightGear/CVS.
Updated JSBSim/CVS patch for FlightGear/CVS. In a quick test it looks like
the recent updates to JSBSim/CVS has solved the crash on reset problems.
Updated LZ 129 with the improved temperature modelling.
Updated Submarine Scout: Now with ballonets for envelope pressure and trim
control. (The effects of the envelope going flappy isn't added yet, though.)
New JSBSim/CVS patch for FlightGear/CVS (includes the ballonet modelling).
Updated ZF Navy free balloon: Improved gas temperature modelling and some
3d model work.
New JSBSim/CVS patch for FlightGear/CVS(OSG) available.
It includes some updates to the gas cell simulation model too, namely
the effects of adiabatic expansion/contraction.
(I'll commit them to JSBSim/CVS after
a bit more testing.)
Updated Submarine Scout: Added ground crew and improved startup (as it starts
(somewhat) "held down" by the ground crew). The multiplayer communication
part is also updated (and incompatible with the old version).
Updated LZ-129: Improved startup - it now starts attached to a mooring mast.
The startup state is still not stable so let the ship settle before take off.
Updated LZ-129: somewhat improved trimming of initial static condition.
It still has a tendency to bounce, though. And don't forget that letting
FlightGear choose the runway often deosn't work (as the resulting reset
usually fails miserably).
New JSBSim/CVS(+LTA, they are the same now) patch for FlightGear/CVS.
(Note: I'll only make new patches for the plib branch or 1.0.0 if requested.)
Updated Submarine Scout: Silly eye candy now (fully) working. And the most
silly part is replaced.
Updated Submarine Scout: More 3d model updates and some silly eye candy
Updated Submarine Scout: Some 3d model improvements and tinkering with
the FDM config. Now in a more appropriate colour.
Updated Submarine Scout: Some 3d model improvements.
Great news: Since yesterday my lighter-than-air support is part of
JSBSim/CVS! Thanks Jon!
This means that it hopefully should migrate into FlightGear/CVS fairly
soon and eventually be part of the next FlightGear release.
Meanwhile: New patches for FlightGear/CVS OSG and plib branches. The latter
might work for FlightGear 1.0 too.
Updated aircraft (needs the new patch for FligthGear): LZ 129,
Submarine Scout, ZF Navy free balloon and Excelsior III stratospheric
Updated LZ 129: New propellers and improvements to the mooring mechanism.
Two new mooring masts: EDDI / Tempelhof and
EDNY / Friedrichshafen.
Updated LZ 129: External views back in working order. Improved mooring
mast selection and added a second mast at KNUQ.
Updated LZ 129: Improved mooring and ground assisted landing physics and
added more mooring masts: KNUQ / NAS Sunnyvale / Moffett Field,
KNEL / NAS Lakehurst and one on MP-Nimitz from my
Carrier_over_MP add on.
Updated LZ 129: Added support for attaching a mooring wire and connect
to a mooring mast. The interactions are not that well tuned yet but it
works. I had to move the visual reference point, so all external views
are a bit off for now.
New patches for FlightGear/CVS (OSG and plib) that includes the new
external force support in JSBSim/CVS.
Updated Submarine Scout: Fixed a bug in the static trim handling and
added some (so far) primitive gas heat transfer modelling.
Updated patch for JSBSim/CVS.
New LTA patch for JSBSim: Adds support for modelling realistic gas bag
temperature changes - allowing super heat and similar effects.
New patch for FlightGear/CVS: Adds support for modelling realistic gas bag
temperature changes - allowing super heat and similar effects.
The patch also upgrades FlightGear to the latest JSBSim/CVS with several
bug fixes and some new features.
Updated LZ 129: tuned the dynamic lift to better match historical
Updated Submarine Scout: Removed experimental copilot control - that
stuff is now in
my network dual control
Cessna c172p aircraft.
New LTA patch for FlightGear/CVS (OSG and plib branches).
New versions of Submarine Scout, LZ 129, ZF Navy free balloon and
The new aircraft versions require the new LTA patch and vice versa.
Let me know if you find any problems.
A bit off topic: I've made the carrier in FlightGear (sort of) multiplayer
capable and it is great fun to fly a blimp in formation with the carrier.
(Of course one can do this with the standard AI carrier too, but then
one will miss out on the bridge view of the carrier user - which
I used for the screenshots.)
New patch for JSBSim: Fixed a LTA induced problem in FGAuxiliary
and did some cleanup in FGGasCell. Patches for FlightGear/CVS will follow
soon. (I'm having some problems integrating the present JSBSim/CVS version
into FlightGear, and don't know when I can have new patches for FlightGear
Added some new screenshots.
New version of the Submarine Scout airship for FlightGear CVS: fixed key
binding clash with engine start and added some textures and made some parts
New version of the Hindenburg for FlightGear CVS: Cleaned up the 3D models
and made smooth faces smooth.
New version of the ZF free balloon for FlightGear CVS: Cleaned up the 3D
models and made smooth faces smooth.
New version of the ZF Navy free balloon for FlightGear CVS adds some
nice new eye candy.
New patch for JSBSim: Cleanup of FGBallast and updates to
Submarine Scout and ZF balloon. I'm planing to do some more
work before porting the current JSBSim-LTA to the FlightGear tree.
Added a new balloon: Excelsior III high altitude balloon from the
Just to show that there is life in this project: The track of
longest Zeppelin flight to date. Starting from Saarbrücken
I followed first the Saar, then the Mosel and finally the Rhein to
Rotterdam. The new real weather interpolation in FlightGear provided lots
turbulence and initially I had quite some problems weighing off properly
(as can be seen in the altitude track ;). Other than that the flight went
New version of the LTA support for FlightGear CVS (plib and osg). The main difference is
in the JSBSim ML extension: gas_cell and ballast elements now live in the
mass_balance element instead of in the propulsion element.
New version of LZ 129 Hindenburg adds engine reversing, better engine
configuration and improved sound.
New versions of the Submarine Scout and ZF balloon that works with the
changed JSBSim ML extension.
NOTE: The new aircraft versions require the latest FlightGear-LTA patch.
Updated version of the Submarine Scout blimp with some 3d model
Updated version of LZ 129 Hindenburg with new engines, improved
Nasal subsystem and a working (though modern) radio.
New patch for JSBSim-cvs. No new functionality yet but it is the first
patch from my newly created git repository - which so far looks like a much
cleaner way to work than my previous dual cvs solution.
New patch for FlightGear CVS/OSG. This one should work.
Updated version of LZ 129 Hindenburg adds (nonauthentic) engine sounds.
Extra update: New LZ 129 version with propeller animations that work
for both plib and OSG FlightGear.
New version of the LZ 129 Hindenburg: New improved aerodynamics and
improved 3d model.
New patch for FlightGear CVS/plib which just has been synchronized with
JSBSim and one for CVS/osg which wasn't synchronized.
I'll continue to track JSBSim CVS.
New working diff for FlightGear CVS/plib. The one for CVS/osg applies
without problems but as I don't have OSG set up it is not tested.
Note: It seems the diffs failed to contain some new JSBSim files.
I'll try to fix this ASAP.
New patches for FlightGear and JSBSim. No new LTA code but
JSBSim-cvs has some new stuff that could be nice in FlightGear.
Updates to LZ 129 Hindenburg: minor corrections to the FDM and
3-d model. More to come.
Updates to the ZF Navy free balloon: new electrical system and a
working radio. Minor updates to the Submarine Scout.
Updated the Submarine Scout to support the new fly by view in FlightGear.
New version of the Submarine Scout with updated FDM. It flies quite
New patches for JSBSim and FlightGear CVS plib/osg (minor code cleanup
no new functionality).
The new patches for FlightGear updates the internal JSBSim to
JSBSim/cvs in addition to my extensions.
Improved the web page.
New version of the Submarine Scout: slightly updated flight model,
new electrical system and navigation lights.
New patches for the current CVS versions of FlightGear and JSBSim and
new versions of the Submarine Scout and ZF balloon.
I have made my experimental setup for calculating aerodynamic
coefficients for the Submarine Scout with the Gerris Flow Solver
available below. (NOTE: There is absolutely no guarantee that those
files result in numbers that make any kind of aerodynamic sense
what so ever.)
New patch for JSBSim/CVS. (A method dropped from FGForce required some
changes in my code.)
Small updates to the Submarine Scout.
Update: Some more improvements to the Submarine Scout aerodynamics
(more tweaking is still needed, though).
Update: Improved Submarine Scout aerodynamics: now it is mostly
stable in pitch and unstable in yaw as it should be.
Update: New patch files for FlightGear CVS (osg/plib)
and FlightGear 0.9.10. NOTE: The latter replaces the entire JSBSim FDM with
the latest version which might affect other aircraft. Don't overwrite your
old 0.9.10 binary.
Update: New version of the Submarine Scout: improved 3d model with
instruments, updated aerodynamics (somewhat more controllable) and
Updated the Submarine Scout model: Fixed some problems and added a
static pitch trim using movable ballast to simulate the use of
ballonets for trimming. This makes the craft behave considerably
better even though it still has the old aerodynamics.
It still easily becomes very unstable in pitch, though.
Breaking news: The numerical problems with FlightGear/CVS have been
"resolved"! It turned out to be my old enemies "wingspan" and "wingarea"
that for some reason must not be "too small". Why "too small" varies
between JSBSim and FlightGear and even with display size in FlightGear
I have no idea. Since the problems occur when ground contact is lost it is
likely that these parameters are used by the ground reaction code.
News: Updated versions of the ZF Balloon and LZ 129 for FlightGear
(both 0.9.10 and CVS). Also a patch for todays FlightGear/CVS/OSG version.
(It should most likley work with the plib-branch as well.)
New versions (both for FGFS and JSBSim) of the LZ 129. The aerodynamic
model has been improved based on virtual wind tunnel experiments done
using the Gerris Flow
Solver. The flight behaviour in FlightGear 0.9.10 is much improved
(though the pitch instability seems to be way too large).
It is plausible that the aerodynamics can be further improved by
rerunning the simulations with a higher resolution.
Random wind tunnel
The issues with FlightGear/CVS are still unsolved.
Things become stranger snd stranger: it turns out that at my system
the ZF Navy free balloon does not work when the FlightGear window is
1440x900, but it does work when the size is 800x600. Very odd.
Now the ZF Navy free balloon seems to work with the patched
CVS/HEAD version of FlightGear even without the debug flag. I'm
not sure what is going on, but things seems to be going in the right
direction. The LZ-129 does not work, though. Strange.
Strangely enough, the ZF Navy free balloon seems to work with the patched
FlightGear/CVS if --log-level=debug is specified.
- Added a patch file for FlightGear/CVS/OSG as it now also includes
an up-to-date version of JSBSim. NOTE: Unfortunately my LTA addition do not
yet work on FlightGear/CVS - lift-off causes fgfs to crash.
Added a patch file for FlightGear/CVS/pre_osg which now includes
the latest version of JSBSim. However, LTA-aircraft do not work
with this version of FlightGear yet since one always gets a
division-by-zero error at lift-off. This error does occur inside the
JSBSim code although these aircraft work without any such problems in
JSBSim standalone. I am currently trying to track down the source of this
Here is one example of such a crash.
It seems like the aircraft position gets totally destroyed somehow..
Update: New version of the ZF Navy free balloon for FlightGear.
Now with some basic instruments and a (so far) dysfunctional radio.
Update: New patch for JSBSim-cvs and FlightGear-0.9.10.
Some code cleanup and removed
all internal use of metric units (as the rest of JSBSim uses imperial
units). New version of the LZ 129 for JSBSim (since some properties changed
names with the latest patch).
Update: New versions of the LZ 129 and ZF Navy free balloon both for
FlightGear and JSBSim. The LZ 129 mass balance and inertia tensor is now
much more plausible.
AN-2 2.5D panel:
I 3Dfied the panel of
the superb AN-2 by Yurik V. Nikiforoff and Anton Nikolaev, you can find
the modified files [Removed since the AN-2 now has a real 3D panel].
Updates to the ZF Navy free balloon w.r.t. ground reactions and added some
scripted tests for JSBSim.
Update: New version of the ZF Navy free balloon for FlightGear.
Now with plausible mass balance and inertia tensor.
Added a patch file for FlightGear-0.9.10, the current release version. Here
my extensions work fine.
Update: Made some improvments to the LZ-129 3d-model and to
my AI scenario.
Update: Converted the DXF models for the ZF Navy free balloon and
LZ-129 to AC3 format. They look much nicer now.
Note: FlightGear/OSG does not like my 3d models in .dxf format, they
show up completely broken. I guess I'll have to learn Blender.
On another note I 3Dfied the panel of
the superb AN-2 by Yurik V. Nikiforoff and Anton Nikolaev.
Update: New patch for JSBSim-cvs and an updated version of the LZ-129
Hindenburg airship with autopilots to simulate the rudder and elevator
coxswains and scripts to test the model in JSBSim. Note: this new flight
model does not work in FlightGear yet since the JSBSim version in there
is too old. The model is also not very well-behaved.
Ok, sometime between my last tested FlightGear build (in August) and the
current plib and OSG version something changed: now FlightGear locks up
when a lighter-than-air vehicle takes off. I'll try to understand why this
happens ASAP. On my laptop the lock up even freezes the X pointer
permanently - it doesn't even help to kill fgfs - joy.
FlightGear patch for the current CVS version (without the headtracking part
this time - I'm currently 1300km away from my headtracking setup).
Minor update to the ZF Navy free balloon.
Real life strikes again. (But my thesis should be finished any
month now soon..)
Today I finally got my 1:270 scale blue-print of ZR-3 Los Angeles
(LZ-126) from the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen. It did not
contain the detailed weight information their LZ-129 Hindenburg
blue-print does, but I think I have that data in the USS Los
Angeles book by William Althoff.
Updated the patch for JSBSim-CVS (i.e. the one in the public JSBSim
CVS, not the developer CVS - I sure hope sourceforge get their act
together soon). The previous patch lacked one of the critical
fixes for the unit conversion problems I found in JSBSim. If
someone downloaded my LZ-129 model and found that it behaved
utterly strange in JSBSim then that might be the cause. Sorry,
it's my fault - I didn't manage to keep my JSBSim/FlightGear
and JSBSim-CVS trees synchronized (and I do all my testing on the
(PS. Jon has fixed the unit conversion problems in the current developer
CVS version of JSBSim. DS.)
Made some improvements to my JSBSim modifications: some source
documentation, some unit conversions and inertia moments for (some)
non-ellipsoid gas cells.
Some more improvements of the Hindenburg model.
Improved the flight model and the 3d-model of the Hindenburg.
Animated the elevator and rudder controls in the Hindenburg 3d-model.
Added animated elevators and rudders to the Hindenburg 3d-model.
- Created an aerodynamic flight model for LZ-129 Hindenburg based on
data for U.S. Akron (which was of similar shape and size).
- Added engines to the flight model for LZ-129 Hindenburg.
- Updated the ZF balloon with a nasal function for performing
a pre-flight weigh-off.
Added some (more or less arbitrary) aerodynamic lift to the Dirigible No 1.
It may fly like a dog - but it flies. :)
Added a new aircraft: the imaginary Dirigible No 1. (Not to be
confused with the real US Signal Corps one).
Fixed the balloon stability by adding (so far artificial) damping
aerodynamic moments to the model.
Ok, the unit conversions work now, but the balloon has become extremely
Now I think I know why most of my attempts to make JSBSim models have
gone pear-shaped: For some reason <location> tags do not get unit
converted so all my metric location data seems to get interpreted as
I'll submitt a bug report or patch for this tomorrow.
Updated the ZF free balloon: better help and the pilot view is movable.
The new updated page is up now. (My old README file is still
Finally added support for manually valving gas. The gas balloon
is now perfectly flyable (though still lacking in the aerodynamic
part of the model).
Standby for an updated page - it will be
in HTML, even.
The LZ-129 3d model improved.
Improved the balloon 3d model.
Added my own 3d model for the gas-balloon. It is ugly and the
instruments are not back yet. (I do my 3d models in brlcad which
unfortunately makes texturing problematic.)
The AI scenario now also includes LZ-129 Hindenburg on a route
between Lakehurst and central New York.
Added an AI-scenario that lets my (very crude) 3d model of ZR-3
USS Los Angele s circle KSFO at 1500 ft.
Added a very crude and unfinished model of LZ-129. It does not
Improved the gas-balloon aircraft: it is now possible to start on
the ground and there is a minimal (altimeter and clock)
instrument "panel". I still don't have any distributable balloon
Improved the inertia modelling of the gas cell (there might be
some interesting bug in that code, though - the c172p-Blimp
behaves a bit too much like a pendulum.).
Improved the blimp converted c172p, but it is still not very
controllable (and the blimp hull is not yet part of the
Added a "blimp conversion" of the c172p. It flies but is very
unstable - the modelling of how and where the buoyancy forces
are acting on the airframe needs to be elaborated.
Uploaded a new patch file against the current cvs version.
Moved the dynamic ballast handling from FGTank to its own file.
The gas-balloon is now flyable and controllable by removing and
adding(!) ballast. (Though not landable - I have not managed to
specify a sane landing gear). The balloon is configured to start
in the air at KGCN which seems to be a windy place :) Controlled
gas valving is not implemented yet.
The gas-balloon actually flies. (All parts of the GasBalloon
JSBSim config are uninformed guesses, though. I really need to
learn how the aerodynamic, landing gear and mass parts work.)
The ballast handling does not work yet so any flight depends on
well choosen initial values for volume, max volume and ballast.
Trial and error rules at the moment.
Fixed a minor sign problem. (Ok, I had the heaviest balloons
ever..) Now things float - for a while at least.
Back to my