Saitek was founded in 1979 by Swiss technologist Eric Winkler, but today it is owned by Mad Catz - http://www.madcatz.com/ based in San Diego, California, USA.
Saitek have gone from strength to strength and since moving into the ‘game controller’ market have inundated us with some excellent products none more so than the Pro Flight Range of flight simulation hardware. Since the dawn of flight simulation on PC’s, we have yearned for perfect, ergo-dynamic hardware to make our flight simming not only more enjoyable but more importantly, more realistic.
Enter, the Pro Flight Cessna Range of products, out of the Saitek workshops.
|The Saitek Cessna licensed Yoke system comes complete with the Yoke and a 3 lever, throttle quadrant. The Yoke is a 1:1 version of Yokes found in Cessna light aircraft, with the addition of a range of buttons and switches that are programmable. It has quite a different feel to it than|
|any other flight simulation yoke on the
market of this type.
Obviously it will not feel like the yokes that are in the higher price ranges, or the yokes that are true replicas of real world yokes but it does have a more ergo dynamic feel to it than the previous yoke from Saitek.
There is an array of buttons and hat switches on each handle which are all configurable within the settings of FSX. Then there is the throttle quadrant, which also has 3 rocker switches that are also programmable, giving the user 6 additional operations when configured properly.
Like all the products from Saitek, this yoke system comes extremely well packaged, which shows that Saitek take great care in getting their products to the user in perfect order and ready to use. The box has a very professional look to it with graphics and descriptions adorning it.
Inside the box the yoke, throttle quadrant and associated clamps are all packaged in clear plastic bags and inserted into moulded cardboard. This prevents any damage in transit and affords everything in the box a snug fit. There are two layers to the box. When you open it, you will see the yoke in one layer and the throttle quadrant and clamps on the bottom layer.
Overall, a very well packaged piece of flight sim’ hardware.
The first thing I noticed about the yoke was, there is no clock or timer display on the front as was with the previous yoke. Instead you get the Cessna badge, a nice touch but purely decorative. Having got used to the clock and especially the timer, I was a little disappointed but have got used to it now.
On the left handle, there’s an 8-way hat switch, a pushbutton, and another 4-way button. The right handle features a 3-way mode selector, a pushbutton and two 2-way rocker switches.
The hub of the yoke has 3 USB ports, so you can connect 3 other USB devices to your pc through the Cessna Yoke and it also has the PS/2 socket to facilitate the throttle quadrant. There is also the ubiquitous power supply socket but so far Saitek have deemed it unnecessary to supply one. I feel that by using a power supply with any of the Saitek yokes would benefit them greatly by giving more power to each unit when plugging in various USB devices to the yoke. It would be great if, in the future Saitek included a power supply unit with their yokes.
In the four graphics below, you can see the amount of switches and buttons that are available on the Cessna Yoke. Although all these buttons are not actually found on the real world Cessna aircraft, Saitek have given the user of this yoke a good array of configurations depending on how you set up your buttons and switches in the config’ software that is including with the yoke.
Depending how you use the software included, with all these buttons you should have 30 possible actions plus the 8 way P.O.V hat switch, if you
use all three modes on offer. This combined with the three switches on the throttle quadrant, gives the pilot a wealth of choices.
The throttle quadrant that comes with the Cessna Yoke is in fact the normal Saitek Throttle Quadrant, that came packaged with the original yoke and has a PS/2 connection that connects directly to the PS/2 socket on the rear right of the yoke. It has 3 smooth moving axis with detents for idle. It also has a reverser on all 3 axis, which acts as a pushbutton, actuated with the lever. Apart from that, there are also 3 2-way rocker switches on the base of the quadrant.
The yoke and quadrant are mounted on your desk by a clamp on each unit, so you can therefore place them independently wherever it suits your particular set up. Although the throttle quadrant is a good piece of simulation hardware in itself, it would have been better if the TPM unit from Saitek was packaged with the Cessna yoke. Real world Cessna’s have push/pull levers for the throttle, pitch and mixture. I believe though that this is an argument for the flight simulation purists as this throttle quadrant is really quite up to the task in its own right.
||The Cessna yoke and quadrant are compatible with
Windows Vista (all versions).
Connection is by USB2.0
Compatible with all major flight Simulation software titles including:
The Saitek Cessna Yoke comes with two pieces of software on a one disk. The first piece of software is the driver which, as with all other flight simulation hardware, is required to make the system work on your computer. The second piece is the Saitek Smart Technology (SST) program. Installation is very easy. All you have to do to install is insert the CD into your computer’s disk drive, run the installer, and follow the on-screen prompts. The installer will then tell let you know when you have to connect the yoke to your PC.
Saitek Smart Technology (SST)
The SST software is basically the engine behind your yoke, lever, button or switch operations.
It is a powerful program which increases the functionality of your Saitek controller.
Most modern games do have their own control configuration screens, but by using the SST software you can:
• Increase the number of functions you can assign to the controls on your controller
through shift states and multiple modes.
• Create and save profiles for your favourite PC games, which you can load to
configure your controller for that game every time you want to play it.
• Assign keyboard and mouse commands to your Saitek controller to play PC games
that do not offer support for game pads and joysticks.
Saitek Smart Technology (SST) is a very complex, extremely
useful tool and one that I could not cover in this review but I
would recommend that you spend some time reading the manual
because, if done wisely, the SST will definitely enhance your
When you open the SST you will be greeted by a series of screens, which you then progress from, to the inner machinations of the SST.
Once your Cessna yoke is connected, the SST will automatically recognise it and take you through several layers of key mapping. It’s a matter of choosing the right command to assign to each button or axis, that most suits your needs.
When you hover over each part of the yoke or quadrant it will be highlighted in blue, ready for you to assign the various functions to it.
Take your time and think about what you want to do with each switch, lever or button.
I have used a yoke for flying ever since the Pro Flight Yoke came out from Saitek. I was extremely delighted that for once there was an affordable yoke on the market that would hopefully, enhance my flying experience. It did that and more. Now Saitek have produced this wonderful, Cessna licensed yoke I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and start flying with it.
|Whilst flying with this yoke, I found it to be
really smooth and very responsive. It also has an added
benefit to the previous yoke in that it has a full 90°
rotation from centre in both left and right directions
as I have shown in the graphic to the right.
The yoke self-centers when released, and as with the previous model it uses springs for centering. It is also possible to use the yoke just like it’s real world counterpart in that it is possible to fly and use the PTT(push to talk) switch on the left hand.
In the real world, Cessna pilots tend to fly using the left hand whilst holding the throttle lever. This prevents any degradation in power especially during take off. I have flown in a Cessna 172 and this is the way I was taught to do it.
The angle or rake of the handles on this yoke, make it a more comfortable grip as your hands tend to be more relaxed at this angle rather than the previous incarnation where your grip is in a more vertical position.
All of the switches and buttons are truly sensitive and response time is immediate. They are also very well positioned and very easy to use whilst flying.
When I tried to look around from inside the cockpit, I found I was also tending to alter the trim settings of either the rudder or elevators. So, my advice is, whatever you map your buttons to, be careful when using these two buttons/switches. A little practice would suffice I’m sure. It’s just that my thumb seems to rest quite naturally over both switches, so I need to be more cautious and aware of what I’m intending to do.
Other than this though, I can honestly say that I’m extremely happy with the whole Yoke and quadrant design and setup. The yoke is just like the real world Cessna yoke in terms of comfort and is a joy to use when flying even for quite long flights. I didn’t suffer any fatigue whilst using it which is great news.
I am super impressed with this build so, all in all the Pro Flight Cessna Yoke system is a pleasure to use and fly with. It is extremely easy to set up, from box to use was about three to four minutes. Thereafter it was a case of sitting with the SST programming software supplied and carefully working through the functions that I wanted to apply to each of the buttons and switches, both for the yoke and the throttle quadrant.
The true to life Cessna design (apart from the additional buttons and switches), was very much appreciated as I fly GA Cessna172 /182 mostly, so it added to the sense of realism for me.
Some may feel the price may be a little high for a flight yoke and quadrant but you are getting a yoke of exceptional quality and build in my opinion. I personally found the pricing to be comparable to other yokes on the market of this design.
I certainly found it to be a more ergo dynamic design and for me, flying for a few hours without fatigue is what I am looking for. You will find it in the Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Yoke system.
● Built by Saitek.
● Very authentic design.
● Accurate 1:1 scaled yoke handle found in Cessna® light aircraft.
● Durable Stainless Steel shaft with precision bearings gives smooth and predictable elevator and aileron control.
● Used with the supplied SST Programming software, integrated mode switch trebles the number of controls you have at your fingertips.
● Separate throttle quadrant with additional switches to configure any combination of throttle, flaps, mixture or prop pitch.
● Mount on top, in front of your desk, pilot or co-pilot side so that the controls are exactly where you want them.
● Unique, 2-position desk clamp keeps your yoke and quadrant securely fixed no matter how extreme the flying conditions.
● POV Hat Switch.
● 3-position Mode Switch.
● 3 axis levers on Quadrant.
● 16 buttons, 3 lever detent buttons.
● Compatibility with most flight sims.
● Easy USB connection.
● May be deemed slightly expensive for some pockets.
● No clock or timer display
● Some issues with switch placement, but can be overcome with practise.
● Still no power supply. Although not needed to use out of the box, I feel it would assist the power for additional USB devices plugged into
System Specifications Used For Review
● Intel Core i7 -2600 CPU @ 3,40GHz
● Asus P8P67-M PRO Motherboard
● 2 x Geforce GTX 570SC 1280Mb
● 16Gb DDR3 Corsair Vengeance 1600
● OCZ Agility 3 120Gb SSD - Windows 7 64bit
● 2Tb WD Sata - FSX
Current List Price
● 189.99 GBP
As I basically only fly GA aircraft and mostly Cessna aircraft, I was very pleased that Saitek decided to bring out a Cessna dedicated range of products. The Cessna yoke is, for me, an absolute joy to use and I’m so impressed with the quality of the build, design and ease of use, I can only award a Mutley’s Hangar score 10/10.
A superbly designed product that I would whole heartedly recommend to all FS enthusiasts.