|CH Pro Pedals
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
You're an accomplished pilot in EF2000. You've taken your share of medals in USNF97. But now you're considering making the leap to WWII prop sims, or into Red Baron II or Flying Corps Gold, but you have never used rudder pedals.... So... are they an "extra" or are they a necessity for a virtual pilot?
About eighteen months ago I hooked up my first set of pedals to a Thrustmaster HOTAS, and I could barely believe the difference they made in low speed aircraft. I told that story when I reviewed CH standard pedals, and now I'm set to review their Pro series.
First impression: the box is 25% larger than their standard pedals, and in appearance this set is much more like the Thrustmaster Elite pedals than like the CH standard set. The Pro pedals are also more than 50% heavier than CH basic pedals, but this isn't a strike against their entry level set: I've used them for eighteen months without any problems.
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.
Like the Elite pedals these ones move on an arc that centers between the two pedals. When you push on one pedal, the other one moves in the opposite direction. In other words, when your left foot moves forward, your right foot is forced backwards. This approach mirrors real aircraft controls and once you are used to it you will realize that it improves your SA somewhat. 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.
Unlike the Elite pedals, the CH Pro pedals also have toe brakes! If you are civilian flight sim fan, this is a must! However, you need a dedicated game card like the CH or TM or PDPI L4 in order to access this function because you need two simultaneously functioning inputs.
Must your game specifically support the toe brake function? The answer is somewhere between "yes" and "no." It turns out that Thrustmaster built support for toe brakes into the F22 Pro (see the RBRK function in the manual) because they planned to produce a similar function on their own pedals. As a result, the F22 will "read" the signal from the toe brakes and send the appropriate command according to any sim that has provision for toe brakes. Of course, you have to program the correct line into your F22.
In the meantime, they 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 all the user has to do is flip a switch on the base to use them as gas and brake in a driving sim.
I didn't try the pedals in any driving sims, but I'm told they work perfectly. I did hook up the pedals to both my SUNCOM HOTAS and my Thrustmaster HOTAS without any trouble. I checked out their function under both WIN95 and WIN98, and in these sims:
Pedals are a necessity in any slow speed 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. 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 Team Apache. While the twisting shaft/rudder action on sticks like the TM Millennium or the MS Sidewinder Pro can substitute to some degree, its not the same.
When the Pro Pedals were first released they came with a one year warranty, but CH has since upgraded this to a full THREE years, a testimony to their durability. CH states that the potentiometers are rated to two million cycles; thats a LOT of flying!
Street price for the Pro Pedals is around $79.00, a bit more expensive than the Thrustmaster Elite Pedals at an estimated street price of $66. But with the toe brakes and dual modes they will still be a better buy for many gamers.
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Last Updated July 12th, 1998