Saitek Pro-Flight Cessna Controls
By Nigel Martin
We are all seeking new ways to improve our flight sim experience. There has and continues to be a myriad of extras for us to access, long may that continue!
I have been 'hankering' for a more realistic yoke, combination for my VFR single engine flying, looking around there seems to be a fair few around, but, yet again, Saitek, have it seems 'stolen the march' by the introduction of the Saitek Pro-Flight Cessna range.
The association took my attention, especially when reading a little from Saitek, they have been in discussions with Cessna, and collaborated, resulting in the development of a number of items which have been licensed by Cessna. So my friends, another step-up in the world of realism for the general aviation enthusiast.
For my sins, I tend to fly a Cessna 172 (I do NOT own it! I wish...) in the real world, so, when this offering became available I just had to get the set. One specific area Saitek excels in, is the box graphics/description of the items on offer, and boy they look excellent, and of course from those pictures, the items within.
You know, there are simmers, who use a 'basic' joystick, perhaps a separate throttle no rudder pedals, and guess what, still enjoy the hobby just as much as the 'full-on' set up. That is fine, and dandy, what I am trying to say, whatever you want in terms of realism, in terms of peripherals, is fine, the hobby can be, and is enjoyed with the most basics of set-ups. Space and budget of course play a part.
I am lucky enough to have some spare room, for a slightly more 'permanent' set-up, hence the Pro-Flight Cessna set-up. (Sadly not to the extent of a good friend of mine who has a fully, yes fully operational and accurate in every way, 737 cockpit, review being sorted on this later.)
So, the items under the Pro-Flight Cessna banner is, the first bundle: a yoke, and throttle quadrant (for single engine) trim wheel and foot pedals.
So, two very large boxes arrived in the usual super quick process. Upon opening one box, there is very well protected, Pro-Flight Cessna Foot Pedals, and the Trim Wheel, the second box once opened housed the Yoke and Throttle Quadrant.
If any of you have received Saitek items in the past, you will note the superb packaging and presentation at every level. The internal packaging is a work of art and does a consistently excellent job of protecting your investment while in transit to your door.
Before we move into the main review, I have to say the external graphics on all the new Pro-Flight Cessna range is quite superb. The use of clean graphics, matte laminate, and spot uv varnish provides a real quality feel, and in my humble view, suggests a professional quality feel, one that we all hope extends inside the box to all the items ready for connection.
So, to open the boxes...
Yoke And Throttle Quadrant
Opening the box, you will note the in-transit protection, with a 'card collar' that holds the instruction booklet, and installation CD. Removing the unit, you get an instant feel of quality. The weight of the unit indicates a robust build.
Removing the transparent plastic protection, the unit is presented in black matte plastic, with a matte or brushed gun metal grey aluminium strip towards the front of the main unit (running left to right), with the Saitek logo being subtly recessed.
The yoke really is an accurate facsimile of the real unit, having a number of programmable switches located in the usual places for ease of use. (Once you select the function you wish to allocate, it is a easy process to program and very effective). The tension of the unit in all axis feels very accurate. I did note the fitting method, a new format, and an excellent improvement, you are provided with a one piece 'hook' that fits to the front of the main unit, and you are provided with one large threaded screw which once placed onto a hard surface, you can apply with ease, a lovely touch.
Viewed from the front, you will note the Cessna logo on the yoke. On the right handle of the yoke is a small green LED indicating it is operational. This is actually an indication you are using one of three sets of programmable options; you move a three stage switch which illuminates another of the three LEDs.
Looking towards to back (to the right of the unit), you will see three spare USB ports, what a good idea! Excellent...the throttle quadrant fits into a multi-pin socket, located next to the USB port. (i used the spare usb ports for the foot pedals and trim wheel.) Connection to the computer is via a long USB cable.