Part 28: Have a nice flight

Flight Gear screenshot

Can you monitor FlightGear flight simulator with Zabbix? Of course you can! By day, I am a monitoring tech lead in a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about this project.

FlightGear is an awesome free, open-source flight simulator. I am not a pilot, not even a good virtual pilot, in fact, probably the virtual cabin crew would be chanting "BRACE! BRACE! BRACE! HEAD DOWN! STAY DOWN!" to my virtual passengers. Anyway, learning to fly would be awesome.

But what good would be virtual flying without any monitoring? For most people, they wouldn't care about monitoring. For me, that's about everything I care with this experiment.

FlightGear Properties

FlightGear can expose all kinds of flight related data over many different ways; XML logging and via its built-in HTTP server, for example. This time I used its HTTP server, and cherry-picked only few values (aircraft latitude, longitude, altitude and speed), as the completely property list is LONG, and I do not understand the most of it.

Anyway, you get the FlightGear HTTP server up and running by launching it like

fgfs --httpd=5480

... where 5480 is the port number where HTTP server will be listening on.

You will then have a property browser available on http://localhost:5480/json/ which is from where I found the values I wanted to harvest for my little experiment to see if this thing would fly.

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Adding items to Zabbix

To get these values monitored, I added two new master items to Zabbix: one for velocities and one for position. Then, dependent items are using those master items.

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My latitude/longitude items also do populate the Zabbix inventory latitude/longitude fields for my aircraft.

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Does it fly?

Yes it does. I can now have data about my virtual flight.

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And thanks to inventory fields, I can show the location of my virtual aircraft on Zabbix geomap.

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If you are a flight simulator enthusiast, feel free to use this technique and possibly gather all the values from FlightGear property browser by using low-level discovery. For my little test, I did not bother.

I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and have learnt that proper monitoring makes sure your projects do takeoff without too much pain.

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