Top positive review
73 people found this helpful
Superb kit for added realism in flight sims!
on 25 February 2009
The Saitek Yoke and Throttle Quadrant is a superb piece of kit overall. Both the kit and the accompanying software is fully compatible with Vista 64-bit, and it worked straight out of the box in Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX).
Early batches exhibited a 'phantom button' fault (Saitek do replace these units via dealers) but this was remedied in later batches. More recent reports of the fault have transpired either to be dealers still offering old stock, or a misconfiguration of FSX (FSX can assign joystick button clicks to the 'mouse yoke' option too, or duplicate joystick button assignments for different controls, creating a conflict if not reconfigured in the game settings). Happily, the set I bought from Amazon UK (sold by Avides) is totally fault-free.
There are no instructions for setting up the kit and no supplied manual which isn't really excusable because a manual HAS been produced - but it can only be downloaded direct from Saitek's site. Without a manual, the back of the box suggests mount options but the rest was easy to figure out. The clamp of the quadrant mounts the quadrant either on top of or on the front edge of the desk. The main yoke unit is pretty big and takes up a lot of desk space, but the clamp holds it adequately. However, the clamp obstructed my sliding keyboard shelf under the desk so I have to move the keyboard to an accessible place on my desk before mounting the yoke. The clamp only just squeezes in front of the keyboard shelf (my desk overhangs this shelf by a mere 2 inches so it's tight) but it DOES fit. Clamps for both the yoke and quadrant are sufficiently strong enough to allow a hefty amount of push and pull!
The base of the yoke offers a USB hub. These ports are primarily to for additional quadrants and other flight add-ons (bought separately from Saitek). There is also a power connector socket to power these USB ports, but the power pack is an optional extra, which seems a bit cheap of Saitek given the price of this kit. However, the main yoke and quadrant do not require additional power and so an adaptor will likely only be required for certain add-ons. The cable for the main yoke is USB, but it is not overly long. Buyers who don't have front-mounted USB ports on their PC might benefit from acquiring a desk-mounted USB hub. The cable connecting the quadrant to the main yoke is plenty long enough.
Software installation is easy. Windows XP 32 and 64-bit are supported, and likewise Vista 32 and 64-bit varieties. In forums, Mac users also report success. You cannot install the drivers until the yoke is fitted, but Vista 64-bit happily accepted the new drivers and software. No additional downloads are required. There is a good variety of buttons on the yoke itself which are ideal for trim, flaps and rudder control if you don't own the separate rudder pedals. There is also a 'mode 1/2/3' selector to allow the yoke to store three different sets of control-assignments if desired (e.g. one set for prop plane controls, one for gliders and one for jets). The accompanying quadrant offers another three axes for throttle, fuel mixture etc, together with six additional rocker switch buttons for engines, landing gear or anything else of your choosing. More quadrants can be added if desired. All functions can be reprogrammed with the accompanying software, but in FSX, I haven't found this necessary.
The yoke takes a little getting used to at first. Out of the box, there is a degree of dead zone on the X-Y aileron axis necessitating a tilt of at least 10 degrees before the yoke had any affect on tilt of the plane's wings (this can be reduced in FSX and third party utilities if preferred). I found the pitch movement (pulling the yoke outwards or pushing inwards) was smooth; pitching upwards sometimes seemed to offer a lesser degree of lift than a regular joystick which gave me a few bumpy landings before I got used to it. The quadrant levers behave with great accuracy, making minute adjustments in throttle easy to accomplish. Each lever also offers a 'reverse direction' option that can be assigned to a different control function if required.
The main yoke feels strong and sturdy (the quadrant is perhaps a tad flimsier but is robust enough to serve its purpose), and the spring back to centre on both axes is just right. Overall, the stability of the controls in straight-and-level flying is fantastic, and it adds a much greater sense of realism to flight sims than a regular joystick can achieve - but buyers more familiar with other controllers might find themselves back at flying school until they get used to it!
A thoroughly recommended flying companion!
EDIT: if you have calibration problems, see first cooment which describes how to fix it