I installed the standard Flight Gear (flightgear) flight simulator on Ubuntu. I want to use it to test graphics cards.

However, I am struggling with it after it launches, even with the latest version.

I am able to see the scenery at the airport nicely. But I cannot get the airplane to launch to fly!

I tried referencing the online help. I am able to toggle interesting things, like getting the propeller to turn on. Setting the brakes with B seems to do nothing. Also, m seems to do nothing, as recommended in the Flight Gear on-line help.

I would appreciate some simple steps (with a mouse, and keyboard - no joystick) to get this standard Cessna aircraft off the ground. Please also let me know what airport to select.

Some additional links that I have found are as follows:

Cessna 172P

A Basic Flight Simulator Tutorial

FlightGear.org Chapter 6 Tutorials

Thank you to the community in advance for any help!

  • 1
    why not ask here
    – graham
    Jun 8 at 8:49
  • 1
    Did you have a look at the official manual and wiki? I would assume this kind of information was to be found there. Jun 8 at 8:50
  • 1
    And I also think you'll have better luck on the Aviation SE, or on the Flightgear Forum. Jun 8 at 8:51
  • @Artur Meinild %graham: I tried to look at the Aviation SE briefly, but I did not see on the main page anything Flight Gear related. The official manual was a bit confusing for me. I do appreciate the links. I started reading the official manual. But it was very confusing for me. Because of this reason, I sought help here on the Ubuntu page where other games are also supported with the games tag. Per: graham - I can only reference one user to update an email with. I am sorry that I could not also include you with my comments. Jun 8 at 9:09
  • 2
    Stephen no problem - you are more than welcome to ask here. It was just my assumption that there would be a bigger audience for your question on the other sites. In any case, hope you figure it out eventually. Jun 8 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Choose an airport close to sea level, and use the "Autostart" option. Starting an aircraft is a little more complicated than starting an automobile.

This is a long shot - copy and pasted from Cessna 172P Flightgear Wiki:

Engine Start (manual and complex startup)

  • Priming: prime the engine at least 3 times
  • Mixture: Rich (red lever all the way in)
  • Throttle: Open 1/8 (black lever at 20%)
  • Parking Brake: Applied (⇧ Shift+B)
  • Prop Area: Clear
  • Master switch: ON (both)
  • Magnetos: Both (Press } three times)
  • Ignition: Start (S)

Engine Start (automatically with Autostart)

  • Click on the menu "Cessna C172P" and select "Autostart" in order to start the plane. Please note that the Autostart attempts to start the engine with the mixture full rich, so if you are taking off from a very high altitude airport you may need to manually start the plane.

From the FAQ:

Q: Why will the engine not start?

A: You can start the engine automatically by clicking on the menu "Cessna C172P" and selecting "Autostart". For a manual start, please follow the checklists available by clicking on the menu "Help" followed by "Aircraft Checklists". As seen above, the engine must by "primed" before starting. If oil management is activated, you must have enough oil for the engine to work (more than 5.0 quarts). If fuel contamination is activated, the fuel must be light blue in order for the engine to properly work. You must also make sure that the battery is charged enough (you can check and recharge it in the Aircraft Options dialog).
Or it might be as simple as not having the magneto[s] turned on (which provide electricity to the spark plugs), or the fuel mix is too lean (put it at 100% to start) or the throttle too low (put it about 10-20%).
Or even more simply make sure that the game is not paused by pressing p.

Q: Why does the Autostart fail to start the engine?

A: That's probably because you are attempting to take off from a very high altitude airport. Autostart always tries to start the engine with the mixture full rich, and if it fails to do that properly then you must manually start the engine after properly leaning the mixture.

  • Sorry to be confused, but: From your instructions Priming: prime the engine at least 3 times, how can priming be done specifically? Is there a priming button on the dash-board or what exactly? I did get auto-start to start the engine. But the plane veers off the runway, and I cannot steer it back on course. For now, I am referencing: flightgear.org/legacy/Docs/getstart/getstartch7.html in the section 7.3 The First Challenge - Flying Straight. Jun 8 at 13:42
  • I think priming is done by activating the fuel pumps. I found this video. Not sure how it works in FlightGear though.. Jun 8 at 13:53
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    How to fly a plane is incredibly off topic here. Jun 8 at 14:43
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    @OrganicMarble but it seems I have nothing better to do while the mod strike is going on .. 😁 Jun 8 at 19:11

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