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The Open Air Traffic Simulator

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BlueSky - The Open Air Traffic Simulator

BlueSky is distributed under the GNU General Public License v3.

BlueSky is meant as a tool to perform research on Air Traffic Management and Air Traffic Flows.

The goal of BlueSky is to provide everybody who wants to visualize, analyze or simulate air traffic with a tool to do so without any restrictions, licenses or limitations. It can be copied, modified, cited, etc. without any limitations.

Please send suggestions, proposed changes or contributions through GitHub, preferably after debugging it and optimising it for run-time performance.

BlueSky Releases

If you are not (yet) interested in reading and editing the source of BlueSky, you can also download a release version of BlueSky, that you can install directly, without having to worry about python and library dependencies. You can find the latest release here:

BlueSky Wiki

Installation and user guides are accessible at:

Some features of BlueSky:

  • Written in the freely available, ultra-simple-hence-easy-to-learn, multi-platform language Python (both 2 and 3) (using numpy and either pygame or Qt+OpenGL for visualisation) with source
  • Extensible by means of self-contained plugins
  • Contains open source data on navaids, performance data of aircraft and geography
  • Global coverage navaid and airport data
  • Contains simulations of aircraft performance, flight management system (LNAV, VNAV under construction), autopilot, conflict detection and resolution and airborne separation assurance systems
  • Compatible with BADA 3.x data
  • Compatible wth NLR Traffic Manager TMX as used by NLR and NASA LaRC
  • Traffic is controlled via user inputs in a console window or by playing scenario files (.SCN) containing the same commands with a time stamp before the command ("HH:MM:SS.hh>")
  • Mouse clicks in traffic window are use in console for lat/lon/heading and position inputs


BlueSky is still under heavy development. We would like to encourage anyone with a strong interest in ATM and/or Python to join us. Please feel free to comment, criticise, and contribute to this project.

Installation on Linux/Mac

Run the install script to create the required Python virtual environment (optionally with the --headless flag to omit GUI dependencies for a minimal installation):

./ [--headless]

Then follow the instructions at the end of the script.

It may be necessary to first install pip, tkinter and virtualenv, e.g. on Ubuntu do:

sudo apt-get install python3-pip
sudo apt-get install python3-tk
sudo pip3 install virtualenv

then re-run the install script.

Installation using pip

Note that headless is now the default when installing using pip (in contrast to the method above). To install a full GUI environment please do the following:

# NOTE: 'full' option attempts to pip install pyopengl-acclerate, which may have issues installing
python3 -m pip install bluesky-simulator[full] || \
  python3 -m pip install bluesky-simulator[gui]

The pip install approach above may fail due to permissions if using the system python3. Either append --user to the pip command above or prepend sudo if you are on a Linux/Mac machine.

If installing in development mode from a locally cloned copy of bluesky (instead of via PyPI) change this to:

python3 -m pip install -e .

Note that to install the GUI dependencies in development mode, this becomes:

python3 -m pip install -e .[full] || \
  python3 -m pip install -e .[gui]

Docker support

To run in a Docker container:

docker-compose build
docker-compose up

Connecting to a remote BlueSky Simulation

This will skip discovery and attempt a connection to the specified host (using the default ports):

> python --client --bluesky_host=



To install development packages:

> pip install -r requirements-dev.txt


To run the unit tests (excluding upstream legacy tests which fail):

pytest --ignore bluesky/test/tcp/ --ignore bluesky/test/traffic -W ignore::DeprecationWarning

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