In the wake of Microsoft shutting down their flight sim operations, I have seen a significant up-tick in FlightGear inquiries and requests for help. Several companies that previously delivered Microsoft based simulation products have approached me with interest in migrating or interfacing their products to FlightGear. At least a couple of these organizations are ready to pay for some consulting time to help move their projects forward. The level of interest I am seeing is well beyond what I can handle personally. There is real interest, real need, and real opportunity here. It would be a shame to ignore it.
I am proposing the idea of organizing a formal group of FlightGear developers who (a) have an interest in doing periodic consulting work, (b) have (or in the future may have) available time to devote to consulting work, and (c) have some knowledge and experience with FlightGear. FlightGear skills could range from knowledge of internal structures, knowledge of communication and interfacing, ability to do custom installation and configuration of FlightGear, 3D aircraft and airport modeling, 2D graphics, hardware design and interfacing, flight dynamics, flight control, etc. As we all know, the skill set that goes into a project like FlightGear covers an immense range and no single person can know or do it all.
This FlightGear consulting group would be formed underneath the umbrella of Airborne Technologies, Inc. Several years ago I met the president of Airborne Technologies (ATI), became involved with one of their UAS projects, and I have now have become a part of the company. ATI is an established business in Alaska and has a long history with aviation and technology. We are involved with a number of projects that share common base technologies that include both hardware and software development for remote sensing type work. By acting as a central business entity, ATI would coordinate and offer structure and consistency surrounding FlightGear consulting activities. An established business presence is able to attract and leverage projects by adding value through hardware development, project coordination, training, and project support. The types of needs and requests I am starting to see have proved to be difficult to address with FlightGear's current informal support structure. Organizations can have needs that go far beyond a few mailing list questions, and they are willing to pay appropriate compensation to the right person for assistance. The proposed structured and professional approach will bode well, I believe, for FlightGear development and could potentially offer a substantial amount of paid work for interested developers.
The purpose of this email is to gauge developer interest and start the ball rolling. Adding your name to our list of potentially interested developers does not lock you into working only through ATI exclusively. There's no problem if individuals and companies currently or in the future wish to make their own private arrangements. But I think it is important that we move quickly to gather a list of interested developers so we can try to address several immediate needs and be better positioned to provide paid support needs in the future.
If you think you might be able to make some time in your schedule once in a while for a paid consulting job and have any of the range of FlightGear skills, I would love to hear from you. Even if you aren't available today and just have a few questions, I'd love to hear from you!
Curtis Olson: http://baron.flightgear.org/~curt/