Three years ago I had my first experience with rudder pedals while flying in Longbow II, when my wife surprised me with a set for Christmas! I had been struggling along for a few weeks using key commands to control the tail rotor, and suddenly a whole new world opened up to me!
Those were CH Pro pedals, and they are still going strong. Recently I acquired the latest version of these pedals, now fully USB. Onward and upward!
The Hard Stuff
The base is strong and about 14" wide by 13" deep, so they will fit under any desk opening. Like the Thrustmaster Elite pedals, these are spaced about 5" apart, double the spread of the basic pedals and more like the pedals in real aircraft.
Flight Simulator 2000.
Like real aircraft, these pedals move on an arc that swings between the two pedals, as if both were mounted on opposite sides of a turntable. When you push on one pedal, your other foot is forced backwards. This is the same as the old game port CH pedals, and mirrors real aircraft controls and once you are used to it you will realize that it improves your situational awareness.
How so? The resistance of the pedal when you push on it as well as the relative position of your feet is physical feedback telling you that you are moving the rudder. While the spring resistance doesn't increase with depression the physical position and relative arcing of your limbs works well as rudder position feedback.
Unlike Thrustmaster's Elite pedals, the CH Pro pedals also have toe brakes! If you are a civilian flight sim fan, this is a must! The toe brakes will usually have to be recognized in the software, and only FLY! has this recognition built in so far. As for military sims, B17 II among others will recognize the toe brakes.
The Pro Pedals USB can also be used in racing sims. CH includes chocks with the pedals to disable them from sliding back and forth in the grooves. The pedals then rotate down like a normal car pedal instead of moving forward on their pivot, and the player can use them as gas and brake in a driving sim. Very nice!
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I didn't try the pedals in any driving sims, but I'm told they work perfectly. I did hook up the pedals to my F16 Combatstick USB without any trouble. I checked out their function under WIN98 OSR2, and in FS 2000 and MiG Alley (v.1.10).
Some of my favorites, like F4 and EAW, are not on the supported list for the release of the pedals. The release was targeted to specific flight sims that see more than one joystick ID. With the generic driver the stick is listed on ID#1 and the Pedals on ID#2, so that only games\sims that recognize more two or more joystick IDs will work.
MiG Alley actually finds the pedals and they are selectable in the control configuration screen, but for some reason they don't actually work in the sim. (This could be related to a DX7 bug since there are several.) CH is hard at work on a combo driver, however, and then any simulation will be supported. This driver will be available for free download from teh CH Products website as soon as it is completed.
Pedals are a necessity in any prop driven fighting aircraft and even more so in chopper sims. No serious simulation chopper fan will get by for long with a separate throttle and pedals. While the twist action on Logitech's Wingman Extreme Digital 3d, or Saitek's Cyborg will do the job, you simply won't get the precise control or SA that pedals can offer.
The ability to control the collective instantly and accurately and to also control the fantail torque so that you can spin on a dime to address enemies is a must in Longbow 2 or Apache-Havoc. With Team Alligator, Comanche-Hokum and Gunship arriving in the next couple of months, all these pedals need is the combo driver to take off.
B17 Flying Fortress II
When the Pro Pedals were first released they came with a one year warranty, but CH later upgraded this to a full THREE years, a testimony to their durability. CH is using new potentiometers, with a new design that they have patented. These potentiometers also get higher resolution than the current optical systems used in some sticks (10-bit vs. 8-bit).
Street price for the old Pro Pedals is around $79.00, and it looks like the new ones will come in at about $10 more. If going USB is the answer for you, or if you need toe brakes and dual modes, these are a great buy. If you are into FLY! or FS2000, get em now. For other sim fans, you'll have to wait for the driver.
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