Arduino FlightGear Cockpit (AFGcockpit)

Page last changed: March 2011


What is it?

This is a project which uses the Arduino Duemilanove to control an aeroplane (Cessna) in the Flightgear flightsimulator (FG). The communication between Flightgear and Arduino is with the serial cable (USB). A future plan is to display different data using voltmeters as well, however far away in future in case I don't get bored before that.

AFGcockpit stands for Arduino FlightGear cockpit.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are interested about this.


  • I want to learn electronics, especially with Arduino in mind.
  • Since it is open source, everything is possible. Since it is possible, I want to do it!
  • I like the FG simulator, and this would be a fun project!


The current features are:

  • Two 4051 muxers connected in parallell (only uses 3 pins to control, 2 analog ins). Can now read input from up to 16 different sources (this can be expanded to 6 muxers, ie 48 controls, on the Duemilanove).
    • Aileron, rudder, elevator, elevator trim controlled by rotary pots
    • Throttle and flaps (value is converted to 4 discrete steps; 0, 0.3, 0.6, 1) controlled by fader pots
    • Breaks (parking, left, right) are controlled with buttons connected to second muxer. Values converted to bools.
  • LEDs and 7 segment displays controlled by 74HC595 shift registers (require 3 pins). Current uses:
    • Parking brake LED
    • Sync LED (lits when FG and Arduino are not in sync)
    • Two 7 segment displays showing the air temp (!)
    • ...but can be expanded easily to show more important stuff or build a digital autopilot or comm radio!
  • LCD to show different values read from FG. This is mainly for debug and is planned to be removed.
  • Switch to enable/disable sending data to FG, in case you want to use mouse, autopilot etc.
  • 20 different data read from FG over serial port (ascii format).
  • Main loop runs at around 300 times per second if FG send data at 2 Hz and Arduino send at (if necessary maximum) 10 Hz.

Communicating With FG

The communication with FG is carried out over the USB serial port cable. A generic protocol is created, actually two at the moment. One is used for sending and the other for recieving.

FG is started with the following commands:


This will cause FG to read data from the serial port at 10 Hz and send data at 2 Hz at the baud rate of 38400.

Download the protocols:

and place in the protocols folder of FG, ie. $FG_ROOT/Protocol.

PCB Layout

I don't have this, but I have an SVG sketch showing how everything is connected at the moment.

Source Code

Big and messy source code


Yes, the wiring is messy!

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Version History

Previous versions on a separate page.

fg-arduino is a related project.