PC flight simulation games often go to extreme lengths to offer a realistic interpretation of flying an aircraft, but without the right hardware the immersion is broken. Owning a decent computer with fast graphics card will allow the simulation to run at acceptable speeds, but there is more to the experience than just visuals you also need best joysticks, and for those who want to maximize their experience, perhaps a flight simulator cockpit. While it is entirely possible to control a flight simulation using a keyboard and mouse, a much better option is using hardware such as the Saitek Pro Flight Yoke for a more immersive experience.
According to Saitek, their Pro Flight Yoke is as close as you can get to actually flying a plane without strapping yourself into a real cockpit. After taking it for a spin I am inclined to agree. Right off the bat the flight yoke impresses with its realistic design. It is made from very durable plastic and doesn’t have that flimsy “toy-like” feel that some cheaper computer peripherals have.
In addition to the yoke the set-up also includes a separate throttle quadrant. The throttle quadrant sports three levers and connects to the yolk. From the yolk a single USB wire is used to connect the hardware to your PC. The wire is somewhat on the short side and clearly designed for a setup where the computer and monitor are close to each other. It’s a bit of a nuisance if you want to sit back further from the computer, but nothing that a USB extension cable can’t fix. What I like about the throttle quadrant is that it is possible to attach it to either the right or left side of the yoke depending on your preferences.
Connecting the peripheral is a hassle free process as each of the components has a sturdy clamp with which to connect it to your desk. Thanks to the design of the flight yoke it completely eliminates the need for a keyboard or mouse while flying. With no less than 14 button and rocker switch positions all the major functions are covered. If somehow more buttons are required a three-position switch is available to assign secondary and even tertiary functions to each of the buttons. A major concern with regards to this flight yoke is the “phantom button presses” that were reported by players using early models of the hardware. Saitek has identified this issue as something that occurred only with certain batches of this flight yoke and the problem appears to be under control now.
The Saitek Pro Flight Yoke is a great peripheral for anyone that want to experience simulators such as X-Pane or Microsoft Flight Simulator as they were meant to be played. Since fighter planes use a flight stick and not a yoke system it is not as useful if you prefer military aircraft simulators.
Overall the Saitek Pro Flight Yoke with Three-Lever throttle is easy to set up, comfortable to use and durable enough to withstand repeated use. If you are serious about your flight simulators or want to keep your flying skills honed even when you are on the ground then this product is a great option. It packs everything needed to offer a realistic experience and drastically increase the immersion of most flight simulations. Click HERE to learn more about the yoke.