Hardware Review: Saitek Pro Flight Cessna controls

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Background to the review

The background to this review is worth explaining. A new user to FG posted a request for help configuring his new Saitek Cessna controls on the FG forums. They didn't work out of the box as no configuration files existed for them, and he didn't have enough experience to write the config himself. I offered to help, intending to iteratively write configuration files and have him test them. This was going to be a very slow process, so I contacted Saitek and explained the issue. They very kindly sent me a full set of controls so I could write FG configurations files and this review.

Introduction

The Saitek Pro Flight Cessna series are a set of official Cessna licensed controllers. They are intended to closely represent the controls on Cessna 172 - one of the default aircraft in FG.

The product line consists of

  • Pro Flight Cessna Yoke (which includes a 3-level quadrant module)
  • Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel
  • Pro Flight Cessna Rudder Pedals

Saitek also produce non-Cessna branded Pro Flight yoke, quadrant and rudder pedals. Though I haven't used them, based on photos I expect they are very similar in quality and function (though note that the Pro Flight Yoke System includes a built-in chronograph for timing approaches).

As of version 2.8.0, these controls are fully supported out-of-the-box in FlightGear. The rest of this review describes the controls themselves, a discussion of yokes vs. stick, a comparison between the rudder pedals and the competing CH Products pedals, and a final summary.

Pro Flight Cessna Yoke

Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel

While the yoke, throttle and pedals are similar to other products in the Saitek range, the trim wheel is unique. It consists of a single wheel set up to change elevator trim. Those readers who have spent any time flying real aircraft will know the importance of trim, and while most joystick bindings include a control for trim, the experience o

Pro Flight Cessna Rudder Pedals

The Bottom Line

There's no getting away from the fact that the Saitek Pro Flight range is not cheap, and these Cessna branded controls are more expensive.