Review: Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel
By Thomas Crowell
September 7, 2011
The Saitek Pro Flight Trim Wheel is one of three products in Saitek's new Cessna® Certified range, and, at US$49.99, is the least expensive of the three. Saitek is well known in the Flight Sim community for their quality sim hardware, and has a catalog of over ten unique units to date.
The Trim Wheel comes in a relatively simple box, with a sleeve showing the features of the unit covering a plain white cardboard casing. One feature I found interesting is that Saitek claims the wheel is "the actual trim wheel found in a real Cessna". I may be wrong, but as I recall the trim wheel in a real Cessna is a bit bigger and thicker. Inside the box is the Trim Wheel, the Saitek mounting bracket (which allows mounting on the edge of a table so the unit is either above or even with the edge) 4 screws, a quick start guide, and a piece of paper with instructions on getting the latest drivers.
Set up is supposedly pretty straightforward. Attach the included mounting bracket to the unit, clamp it on to your table, and plug it in to an open USB port. With a little work I was able situate the unit nicely below my TPM unit, (available separately from Saitek) however the space between the two brackets on the TPM is just a millimeter or two shorter than the Trim Wheel bracket, so some fiddling is necessary. Why the brackets weren't designed to fit together, I don't know.
I then proceeded to the link on the paper to get my drivers, however the site doesn't appear to have any drivers for the trim wheel [Editor's note: drivers have since been released]. This may have something to do with how new the product is, but I couldn't find software for it anywhere. I went ahead and fired up FSX. By default the unit controls the flight yoke, which isn't all that helpful or realistic. I went to the controls menu in FSX and, despite my best efforts, was unable to switch the controls to the trim setting. I scoured the web and finally found a forum post saying that the wheel must be turned in a full rotation to register as an axis for FSX and, after doing so, I was able to set the wheel as the trim axis within the FSX menus. I tried out the wheel with the default C172SP, and it syncs well with the wheel in the sim, and is a lot more sensitive (and properly so) than the wheel included on the multi panel. The rotation of the wheel has an amount of resistance similar to that found in a real Cessna, which is a nice touch. The unit is made of solid plastic and feels pretty substantial, on par with Saitek's other offerings. I found that with a little tweaking the unit does a great job at what it's supposed to do, and at an attractive price. It will make a great addition to any simmer's cockpit!
What I Do Like:
- Simple design that goes well with other Saitek products
- Has a realistic feel and syncs well with the sim
What I Don't Like:
- Not Plug and Play like other Saitek products
- Doesn't fit easily under the trim wheel