Despite the tremendous fun I was having in BF2, I couldn’t wait to see how the pedals performed in FSX. My personal airplane is a taildragger, so I am intimately familiar with the importance of differential braking and good rudder control in those types of airplanes. Long have I struggled with ground control on old workhorses like DC-3s and other classic conventional landing gear aircraft. Well, not any more! Between the smooth and accurate rudder control and the equally responsive differential brakes, I am now able to fly those airplanes in the manner that they are intended to be flown. The relatively heavy construction of the pedals lends confidence that they won’t fall apart during extreme aerobatic maneuvers, and the two strips of Velcro provided with the pedals ensure that the pedals will stick to a carpeted floor well enough to prevent slippage under most conditions. For those living in hardwood floor or linoleum habitats, there are rubber feet on the bottom of the unit to hopefully provide similar adhesion qualities. What options are left to folks that need to utilize both solutions is unclear, however. Both the hook and felt portions of Velcro are provided, though, so I think that problem is eminently solvable.
Having found the pedals to be greatly beneficial to the flying of conventional gear, fixed-wing airplanes, I decided to test their merits in flying the FSX helicopters. Fixed-wing pilots of modern airplanes (those having a training wheel under the nose rather than the far more manly tailwheel of my airplane) can pretty much keep their feet on the floor once they’re in the air. Not so with a helicopter! Helicopters are highly dependent on the proper and enthusiastic application of corrective forces on the tail rotor. The great big whirling set of blades that provide lift to the chopper also create a tremendous amount of torque that needs to be continuously countered by the pilot via manipulation of the tail rotor. For example, the clockwise (from the pilot’s point of view) rotation of the rotors creates an opposite anti-clockwise (to the left) torque in the hover that must be countered by application of left rotor. At cruise speed, however, a healthy application of right rotor is required, at least in FSX. This steady and constant demand for anti-torque input was a bit of a pain when using the Z-axis of the joystick to control it, but is more natural and comfortable to control using the pedals.
With the release of the Pro Rudder Pedals, Saitek has addressed a need at the high-end of the controller market. Hard-core simmers will be thrilled with the new rudder pedals and the additional realism and accurate control that they provide. Others may decide that the cost isn’t worth it, and make do with the Z-axis on their controller of choice. Those that do decide to make the purchase, though, will receive a useful and well constructed device.
While they aren’t for everybody, true hard-core flight simmers will be thrilled with the additional capabilities offered by the well-constructed Saitek Pro Rudder Pedals.
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