|CH Pro Pedals
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Many virtual combat pilots have NEVER used rudder pedals, and many others hardly know they exist. What difference does it make? What is it like for someone who has never used them, to suddenly add them to a realistic simulation where they are a real addition to the control method?
CH is one of two companies that manufacture rudder pedals for PC simulations. Both CH and TM manufacture two different sets of pedals, a standard set and a high end set. Recently I added the CH standard pedals to my HOTAS system, and tried them out with both CH stick and throttle and the TM F22 and TQS. Here is my story...
94th Aero Squadron
April, 1918, at the Meuse-Argonne Front
I've just flown in to Amiens to join the first American squadron on French soil, attempting to push back the Germans. Unfortunately, we are slightly outclassed by superior German aircraft, but at least we are not green pilots, and we have the will to fight!
8 AM and I am taking to the air in my Nieuport 28. I am flying as wingman in one of two squadrons of four aircraft. I was startled to learn that two aircraft have no ammunition, but orders are that we fly anyway, and they tell me that Thompson is a crack shot with his pistol...
At 8:15 we are crossing German lines at 8000 feet, and a moment later we spot them! A flight of at least six triplanes (DR I?) at 9 o'clock, at roughly the same altitude as us, and they haven't seen us yet! We begin to climb, hoping to break into the cloud cover at 10,000 feet before they can spot us...
No good, they have seen us and are also making altitude, and a minute later we are engaging. Luckily they had not seen our second squadron of four (two without machine gun shells), who come diving out of the clouds behind the Germans just as we engage.
But whats this? They are all over me! I feel like a thousand thumbs and like my airplane is made of lead. Just a moment, here is the problem.... I exit to the configuration menu and turn OFF the coordinated rudder assist and turn ON my new CH pedals. Now my Nieuport 28 responds swiftly to my commands and I can flip her over like a top!
Yes, Virginia, it was my first experience with rudder pedals! I had wondered why I was not faring very well in the dogfights. Well actually, I was wondering if the AI was balanced in favor of the AI pilots; it was obvious they could outmanouver me with one wing falling off... I knew something was VERY wrong.
Previously if I wanted to break hard right I had to wait while the aircraft slowly responded to aileron control, then pull back on my stick. Now the aircraft flip over almost immediately. Or if I want to turn over to pull a fast dive or a split S, there is no wait time to begin the manouver. And the side slip is a great defensive move... but it can't really be done with a proper rudder.
What do you know, it was the lack of pedals! The lights have gone on. There really IS a reason why they put rudders on these things! NO ONE ever informed me that proper pedals would make so much difference. It is simply night and day.
And not only for Flying Corps. Ditto for Fighter Duel, or for any prop sim! I have managed to break almost even odds using the split S and diving on unwary opponents at level six or so, but once its a turning fight its game over. If I didn't get some major damage done on the first pass I rarely made it up later. But with rudder pedals my Spitfire or 109 is a whole new airframe!
I feel like I have been flying WITHOUT any rudder, trying to make do with ailerons and elevator alone. I could never go back, and neither would you. If you play online sims and have not been faring very well, you will need to acquire rudder pedals AND a good game card. Most sound boards will not support both pedals and stick simultaneously.
My conclusion: if you fly jet sims exclusively, don't waste your money. If you fly prop aircraft, RUN do not walk to your nearest store and buy some pedals! You wont' regret it!
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Last Updated June 17th, 1998