The purpose of this project was to create an aircraft for FlightGear, specifically for exploring the scenery. Whereas other traditional models can be used for flight training in mirroring real aircraft, my models goals are to fly fast and hover, with futuristic performance.

Also with the purpose of showcasing and sharing some lighting and other "eye-candy" features I developed in imitating the runabout and shuttles, that I haven't seen in existing models.

At first, creating a Star Trek™ like runabout seemed the ideal vehicle, but unfortunately, it can not be accepted by the FlightGear development community due to copyright and trademark restrictions.

This model however, entirely created by me, is released under the GPL.

Development and Origin of Bluebird

Candidates for Unencumbered Flying Object
as of 2007.Jan

Thought number One:

Ha ha, must be joking...

While it might be very neat to model a horse, or pegasus (horse with wings), to ride, and then animate, it would be an ambitious project to be sure. The number of polygons needed to make smooth round surfaces, not to mention the walk, trot, canter, and wing movement, would likely exceed flightgear's limitations (and most hardware).

So it seemed I would have to stick with traditional, mechanical flying objects.

I wanted to avoid making any craft that resembled Star Trek™ or any of the other dozen popular space shows, for that would generate the same friction encountered earlier with the Shuttlecraft.
However, since nearly every shape I can imagine has already been done, any goal of completely avoiding any resembling, is practically impossible.

Number Two:
Neat design. Not copyrighted by Hollywood. This is the starting point for Bluebird.

Because of my awareness for health issues, and sensitivity to electrical and magnetic fields, I first mandated that the engines be separate from the cabin, for the health of the crew.
I searched for a better name for the engine pods, but discovered that "nacelles" existed before Star Trek™, and are therefore acceptable names.
I did manage to avoid the round and square shapes typically seen, by making a trapezoid.
Is it aerodynamic?
Hey! Blunt noses improve shock wave separation from the nose, much like the Apollo capsule re-entry, so it's not an entirely off the wall idea.

Next, I added something to provide floating or hovering: counter-grav generators, and placed them on the wings, once again; away from the cabin.
Also, avoiding the name "anti-grav".
Whether these are turbo-fans for pushing air, or something else for manipulating gravity, I shall not say.
Also, when underwater ocean tiles become available, I expect this craft to maneuver underwater just as easily.

Visibility from the cockpit was another big concern, especially compared to a Runabout.
This model features a window with no obstructions, so that flying from the cockpit is finally a desirable position.

The last concern was the doors. One, two, or three leafs... Hinged or sliding... Once again, I choose the practical. We already have sliding doors at the supermarket, so I mixed and matched what fit for the space.

The sound effects I made, are basically the same pneumatic air-pressure design that already exists. Any resemblance to sound effects in movies, is unintentional, and basically a reflection of the physics involved.

This model package originally relied on three 3d instruments from the standard Flightgear base package installation, ai, alt-2, and yoke, and includes two other modified 3d instruments (clock and controls) that needed minor changes to the property or path to work with the ufo flight model.

The digital instruments (digital.rgb) were originally based on the KY196 comm panel, but have been redone from scratch for high-res readability like a glass-cockpit. This digital2 directory should be usable by anyone wishing to add digital instruments to their model.

Possible questions:

Why do I use the ufo flight model instead of a realistic flight simulator?
Because yasim and jsbsim do not support hovering. Although there has been some new support for balloons, and VTOL (Vertical TakeOff and Landing) aircraft like the Harrier, the hybrid performance I seek is not available yet.
Considering the Purpose of my project, this seems like an acceptable compromise.

Why “bluebird”?
Because I could not call it seahorse (my monicker), and there were an abundance of blue-birds outside my window here, so set into motion the inspiration for the name.

Is the name Bluebird meant to be similar to the SR-71 Blackbird?
or a tribute to the first Bluebird
, known for record breaking in the 1920s and 1930s?
Search for Bluebird K7 unlimited speed record to learn more.
The answer is... yes.
If you have to ask "which one?" then you missed the joke.

I did not plan this originally.
Now it is a tip of the hat to both the Blackbird, and the original Bluebird K7. I accept this name completely.

The primary purpose is to have fun exploring the scenery. Call this; flying around mountains and valleys in the "world" as simple as possible. So easy, a kid could fly it. Kind of approaches an arcade game, huh? :)

I hope other aircraft model designers find the digital instruments, or lighting tricks useful.

© 2006 - 2008   All Rights Reserved.
Stewart Andreason

Updated 2008.Oct.30