Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
GNU/Linux Aviation HOWTO (2006) (tldp.org)
107 points by borcunozkablan 70 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments

As an occasional general aviation pilot (I found this HOWTO after trying to find tools to aid in flight plan calculations), I think it would be great if we took it a step further and make a full-fledged Linux avionics system, but it seems unlikely [0]. And Garmin will likely not be replaced in a dozen years.

[0] https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/36853/do-safety...

The creator of Asterisk (the linux-based PBX) has been building a modern modular avionics system which I believe is Linux-based. From what I can tell they have plans for certification.


I would love to have something like this accessible and hackable just for my simming.

The new octavia device looks really nice but it is pricey for what it is.

Are you talking about this device?


Yes. Thanks for the spell correct.

The link you posted doesn’t make it seem unlikely inasmuch as it completely pillories even the notion of using Linux for avionics on both technical and economic merits, completely counter to your claim that it would “be great”. So why would it be great?

In practice most pilots use an iPad app for flight planning and navigation. No technical reason why open source hardware/software could be used for that if it had good UX (which is pretty uncommon in the Linux desktop space)

I think you and the link in OP are talking about two different things. The link talks about "safety-critical avionics" and answers mention that they use proprietary RTOS. Certainly, anything that can be done on iPad could be done on Linux, and Linux is quite common for non-real time embedded things.

These answers seem to be quite out of date, as the aerospace industry (most notably SpaceX) has been using Linux as part of their rocket control systems for quite a while now.

That is suicidal. Linux is not a real time operating system.

Bare metal seems more appropriate than a GPOS.

a linux avionics system isn't terribly interesting -- what do you think a g1000 is...

open source, however, could be interesting

Do you have a reference for the G1000 running Linux? Thanks.

I don't think it does or it would be listed here: https://developer.garmin.com/open-source/linux/

I've seen a kernel panic on G1000 once, does not feel like a Linux (unless they also heavily modified the panic handler)

Ooo, what did it look like? A Mach kernel oops (aka "just start painting text from the top-left"), a BSOD (more structured), a dialog box over the top, or...?

Also what info was printed? An inscrutable Guru Meditation, a register dump, or...?

Just idly fascinated to figure out how much info would be dumped by a piece of avionics running in end-user production mode.

lol yeah, I was very sad that I forgot to take a pic but it's black and white, text on top-left and it's just a register dump.

I went on a bit of a rabbithole trying to look for firmware downloads for the G1000 to run `strings` on but sadly they're not publicly available anywhere.

But I'm very happy to be able to say that you don't need to be sad you didn't get a photo anymore because I found https://mooneyspace.com/topic/21333-g1000-pfd-start-up-error... :D

No amount of quote-googling got me any further though, which was why I went firmware hunting. Now at least I have a good conversation starter for anyone who looks like they might have a dealer account next time I'm at a hangar though...

Try WindCheck EFB on iOS!

I just wanna Foreflight for Android :/

Most popular OS, yeah right :(

> Most popular OS, yeah right :(

As other commenters have said, it’s probably not the most popular OS for that particular population.

Interesting that Boeing has continued to develop it as an iOS only app even after they bought it in 2019.

Not really. It’s a very complicated, highly sophisticated piece of software written for native iOS. And the market is small. By rewriting it for Android, the only market share they could expect to get would be what they can steal from Garmin’s Android install base - which the Play store notes as “100K+” downloads. And we haven’t begun to consider the explosion of the hardware/software testing matrix.

The ipad operating range ends at 35C. That's ok for airliners, but in smaller aircraft with bubble or no canopies where the device can be exposed to sunlight, the temperature can exceed the limit.

For those use-cases alternatives to foreflight are probably good enough.

For cases where it matters and must be foreflight the price of the device (even apple taxed) doesn't matter at all compared to other cost.

Needs a (2006).

Added. Thanks!

Does anyone have a recommendation for a simple simulator on windows? Not looking for anything too fancy.

MSFS is scalable from a small child being able to fly with the keyboard or an Xbox controller to near-professional grade airline simulators.

Thanks, I'd love to use it but my graphics card wouldn't be happy :/

If it can run on an Xbox it can probably run on your PC!

Xplane and msfs are the canonical ones. The current msfs is actually very newbie friendly. Great guided tutorials and the complexity and difficulty is hugely scalable.

I enjoyed aeroflyFS also however as a simple pickup and fly.

On the combat side of things, Tiny Combat Arena is well reviewed: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1347550/Tiny_Combat_Arena...

A lot of people also seem to like VTOL VR: https://store.steampowered.com/app/667970/VTOL_VR/

On the combat side the top games are War Thunder (which I don't recommend due to it's microtransaction model), DCS World (flawed and expensive but still fun), IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad (good WW2 game) and Falcon BMS (excellent, but focused on the F-16 and has a small community)

“Flawed and expensive but still fun” is perhaps the best capsule summary of DCS I’ve ever seen.


Since FlightGear only comes with one aircraft by default, here are some suggestions for very high-quality aircraft to download:

- TL96. Great little ultralight which will get blown around with the slightest gust (be careful on approach!)

- Piper J-3 Cub. Lots of things to customize on this one, with 'no doors' being an option for those who like the view!

- Cessna 182. Just as good as the default 172 but with some more horsepower.

- Piper PA28. Basically as good as the C172 and C182, but with a low wing to distinguish its performance (it has a tendency to roll into the turn).

- Cessna 337G. Really fun to listen to!

- Lockheed Super Constellation. Beautiful late-50s propeller airliner. The autopilot is touchy, the landing speed envelope is small and the engines are wont to burst into flames, but it's so rewarding to get it right!

- Cessna 208B. One of my favourites - turboprop, high-wing, lots of cargo space. You can fly FedEx up and down California in style with this one :)

- Boeing 707. Very fast early jetliner which is a pleasure to fly. The flight engineer's panel is well simulated.

- Tupolev TU-154b. Amazingly detailed, just like the 707 is. Hope you can read Russian ;)

- McDonnell Douglas MD-11. There are two variants of this available for download, so make sure to get the one with the higher rating. The simulation has some weird glitches but it's a good aircraft overall.

- Boeing 777. Strong contender if you like the 'heavy iron'.

- Airbus A320. Excellently simulated, probably the best there is for FlightGear. Almost every switch and button works exactly as described in the real-life manual. Trust me, I have the real-life manual and I've tried :)

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact