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     The Pit Newsletter 

Welcome to the Bi-monthly  newsletter.

In this issue we take a look at Yokes, Throttles and Rudder Pedals form Saitek and CH Products. PC Aviator did such a great job on the subject I've included it in this Newsletter and give them full credit. I'd also like to say we have links to these products at www.kwikpit.com.

We would like to also introduce our KwikPit kit. Finally a cockpit kit that is inexpensive and easy to assemble. Now you have a quick and affordable solution for that cockpit you've always wanted to build.

The  newsletter will give you insight into the different types of flight simulation, technical articles, tips and reviews.

We will also look at the products, accessories, hardware, software and just about anything that makes the world of flight simulation more realistic and enjoyable.

The newsletter will also keep you abreast of what other enthusiast are doing in the community.

Your newsletter ....   We invite you to participate  and email any stories, interesting tips, events, announcements or any contributions you feel may be of  interest  to the flight simulation community. Please email any contributions to: newsletter@kwikpit.com

A Plug .........
The KwikPit Company was created and is ran by  a flight simulation enthusiast. Our goal is to introduce products that add to the enhancement  and fun of flight simulation without the complexity or high  costs.

We hope you enjoy our unique line of cockpit products. We have strived to keep prices low as compared to anything else on the market.

Check out our products at www.kwikpit.com  thank you for your patronage.

The KwikPit Team



 Flight Simulator Essentials     

This is a reprint of  a great article by PC Aviator,  a well known and trusted company in the flight simulator community

Your Single Most Important Investment Towards Flight Simulator Realism - An Authentic Yoke and Rudder System.
If you don't yet own a set of yoke and pedals then this Flight Sim Essentials topic is especially for you. We will assume that you have little knowledge so excuse us for the information that you may consider too basic. We're trying to address everybody's needs. Most of our customers engage in civilian aircraft flying - either light aircraft or jets and airliners. Most aircraft in this category have the pilot using a flight yoke to control the aircraft's elevator and ailerons. And they pretty much all use rudder pedals for rudder and toe brake control.

When it comes to Flight Simulator X or 2004, you can of course control the aircraft using the keyboard or a basic joystick but using either method you don't get the feeling of authenticity unless you are using a yoke and rudder pedals - just like you'll find in a real Cessna 172. At PC Aviator, we represent 2 manufacturers of yokes and pedals - CH Products and Saitek. Both companies produce excellent products and both products have their own specific features.

The names of the yoke and pedals from the respective manufacturer are as follows:

CH Products make the CH Flight Sim Yoke USB and CH ProPedals USB

Saitek makes ProFlight Yoke System and Pro Rudder System.

Let's Look At How A Yoke Benefits Your Flight Simulator Flying.

Aileron and Elevator
A flight yoke is pretty much like a steering wheel for an airplane. In an airplane a yoke is used for both elevator control, for climbing and descending, and aileron control, for banking. Notice we didn't say turning - this is because banking the aircraft is only one aspect of turning - the other aspect of turning is yaw - and this is controlled by the rudder. So turning is a combination of bank and yaw - the yoke provides the bank aspect of a proper coordinated turn.

As in a real airplane, the yoke slides in and out for elevator control and turns left and right for bank. These desktop yokes we are discussing today both provide all the functionality you would have with a real yoke and more.

Most aircraft yokes also have additional buttons on them such as electric trim, push to talk for radio communications. Both of these yokes are equipped with such functionality and more.

So the first you will feel when you plug in and clamp your yoke to your desktop is that you are sitting behind the controls of a typical light plane.

3 Lever Throttle Quadrant
As well as aileron and elevator - both of these yokes also feature a 3 lever throttle quadrant found in any complex aircraft. The throttle quadrant features Throttle, Prop and Mixture control.

A Quick Lesson For Beginners
If you’re an aviation beginner we’ll take a moment to explain that in simple training aircraft such as a Cessna 152 or 172, power is controlled by just one lever – your Throttle. Once you go beyond this level of aircraft to touring aircraft such as, say, a Cessna 182 or Piper Arrow, power control becomes a little more complex where you are controlling both Manifold Pressure (black lever) and Propeller speed (red lever). A pilot manipulates both of these levers to create the required power setting for cruise, climb, descent and landing. Mixture is common to both aircraft types. The 3 lever throttle quadrant enables you to fly complex aircraft in Flight Simulator X and 2004 properly – using Throttle and Prop. People who are using a yoke simply love this feature.

Buttons and Levers Galore
Ailerons, elevators, throttle... all the basic features are there but on top of all that the yoke lets you control such features as raising and lowering landing gear and flaps with levers dedicated to those functions.

The 4 way view hat switch lets you view around the aircraft with a movement of your thumb and without having to reach for your keyboard. This is great for when turning onto final where you need to establish your position relative to final by viewing out the left quadrant view.

Another feature you'll find in a real aircraft is electric trim. The electric trim rocker lets you trim up or down as you need to to trim for your attitude. Just as in a real aircraft it's cool to watch and feel your entire aircraft attitude change as you trim. Other functions on the buttons include being able to tune radios. Flight Simulator X and 2004 already comes with the ideal basic default configurations but you can, also, if you wish, assign completely different functions to all of the levers and buttons on the yoke.

This article is not so much a comparison review between the two products but more to show you what you can achieve by using a yoke - regardless of the maker.

And Now To The Rudder Pedals...

As any pilot knows, a yoke is only half the picture when it comes to flying your aircraft. The other half of the aircraft control inputs comes from your rudder pedals. Rudder pedals are used for 5 main purposes:

1. Properly performing turns while in flight. Ailerons supply the bank but it's the rudder itself that actually drags the tail around to properly turn and change direction of (or yaw) the aircraft.

2. Making fine heading adjustments while in flight. If you're on a precision ILS approach or even normal landing, or tracking a VOR radial, you use rudder only when you want to make fine heading adjustments. Banking with ailerons is not how you do it. Rudder is essential to this function.

3. Crosswind landings. When you're approaching a runway in a crosswind, your aircraft nose is NOT lined up with the runway. You come in "crabbed" as they say. When you are landing in a crosswind it is rudder and rudder only that is used to straighten up the direction of your nose during the final flair. You want to be aligned with the runway and a skilful co-ordinated use of rudder and opposite aileron is required to keep the aircraft level and nose aligned. When you touchdown you want to be lined up exactly with your runway. You know you've mastered landings when you can perform this skilful maneuver and well now you can do it on your Flight Simulator.

4. Steering on the ground while taxiing. Rudder pedals in a real light aircraft are linked to your nosewheel. When you're taxiing, the only way to steer is with rudder pedals.

5. Brakes! your brakes are attached to your rudder pedals. That is how you stop when you are on the ground and for sharper turns, you press just one pedal for differential braking.

Once again, with pedals, both units do their job well in providing both stable and accurate rudder control as well as braking. Since yokes and rudders are fundamentally seen by the PC as joysticks, you can interchange yokes and pedals from each manufacturer without any problems.

Easy To Install and Use
Like all modern computer peripherals, your yoke and pedal will attach to your PC via USB port. You will need two spare USB ports - one for each device. Drivers for CH Products are included in the Windows XP and Vista operating system, and automatically install when you plug in the device. Saitek comes with a CD with the appropriate drivers.

The yoke simply clamps to your desktop with simple-to-use finger screws and can be mounted and dismounted in seconds.
Rudders simply sit on the ground and are rubber stopped and stay firm on the floor or carpet.
Both manufacturers products work with literally any flight simulator. Within Flight Simulator X and 2004 you can go into the Controller section and modify any assignments for any of the buttons and switches and their function.

The CH Yoke on the other hand is easier to install and configure - truly plug and play, also hosts a course elevator trim and the switches you would use for gear and flaps are a little more suited to that feature as opposed to the "button" function on the Saitek unit. If you wish to ensure trouble free installation and configuration the CH unit guarantees you this.



So Which Do You Choose?
It's a hard one to make a call on at our end. From a yoke point of view, CH Products yoke is priced $30 less than the Saitek unit however the Saitek Yoke provides a better separate Throttle Quadrant, a neat LCD electronic stopwatch on the front of the unit for timing instrument approaches, and a flat top perfect for placing your keyboard. The Saitek Yoke also has a nice metal shaft which provides better fine control and a better overall feel.

From a rudder standpoint - these are pretty much neck and neck. We do advise that you use the rudder for the yoke you have chosen just to keep your set-up consistent.

To take a closer look at these units, you can follow the appropriate links:

CH Flight Sim Yoke USB - $119.95

CH Pro Rudder Pedals - $119.95

Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - $149.95

Saitek Pro Rudder Pedal System - $119.95

Additional related peripherals such as extra quadrants for multi-engine flying and so on for these units can be viewed here:

At the end of the day, whichever company's flight controls you choose, we thoroughly recommend you to add a yoke and rudder setup to your flight simulator. Almost all serious flight simmers today have dispensed with keyboards and joysticks and have gone the route of the yoke and rudder flight control set-up. It really changes the realism level of your flight simulation.

We trust you'll give your business to the company who took the time to educate you. We have a vested interest in you and in you enjoying your flight simulator passion to its fullest. We look forward to your loyalty.

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                       The KwikPit Company
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