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Price:$149.99+ Free shipping
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on March 5, 2013
I got this panel because I am currently studying for my instrument rating. I use this panel with Flight Simulator X. It works well, but its large size was a bit of a surprise. Having this panel really adds to the realism of the game and it works best if you already have a yoke and rudder setup. It is much larger than a GA radio panel, it's about 12" across. The knobs on the left hand side are a bit stiff, but they click solidly in position. The tuning knobs and ACT/STBY buttons have a nice feel as well.

Out of the box, the panel has a software bug which makes it so the tuning skips frequencies. If the display shows 115.90 and you move the outer knob, it will skip to 117.90. There is a little program out there called SPAD which takes care of this, if you run SPAD before you run FSX, this is a non-issue. This is the only reason I knocked off a star.

This isn't a cheap accessory, but if you are using FSX to improve your skills as a pilot I think it is worth it. I use this radio panel in conjunction with a Pro Flight Instrument Panel to practice holding, tracking and intercepting. If you think about it, this thing costs less than one flight hour and gets you many hours of useful training. At the very least, it is useful to practice switchology without having to use a mouse. I know it has helped me become more efficient in the airplane when I have to fly with my instructor in a real airplane.
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on March 12, 2010
This is one of the more important items for flight simulation. Essential if you're flying IFR.These units are well built, work well, and are relatively inexpensive. They're light, though. As I mentioned on the review of the autopilot unit, I had to install them into a small wooden box so they wouldn't move around.

I'm running them through a really cheap USB hub. It works but a better hub would provide more stable power. Don't cheese on a USB hub. Buy a good one. Don't try to run these off the Saitek yoke hub ports unless you have a power supply for the yoke.

Bottom line: Great unit. I wish I had three of these! That way, I could leave the radios dedicated to Communications, Navs, and ADF/DME without switching the knobs on the left.
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on June 26, 2010
I bought this because I wanted to be able to navigate and use the ATC functions in FSX without having to use the click spots in the virtual cockpit which can be really fiddly to use whilst maintaining control of the plane.

The radio panel arrived and was well packaged, the face of the panel screws to a stand that supports it so if you were buildling a cockpit you could just use the panel without the stand. Installation was simple and FSX recognised it straight away.

The other review comments about the controls are spot on, but shouldn't detract from this product. The selector for the different radio types is quite stiff to use, but you quickly get used to the right amount of effort required and the tuning dials are a bit imprecise as the 'clicks' don't correspond with the increments on the radio (it's about a 2:1 ratio of frequency to clicks). However given that this tunes both COM and NAV this is perfectly understandable - they have different increments, so something was going to be wrong.

My favourite feature is the DME readout which updates with your speed and distance to a DME equiped nav aid, I also like that when you use the 'Nearest Aiport' option in FSX you can then tune the radio manually and it recognises that you've selected an airport frequency and shows you the options to talk to that frequency.

If you want to navigate and communicate in FSX I think this is a must have, you don't have to want a full cockpit setup, but this one controller makes it so much easier to fly a flight plan than using the mouse and the VC. Well worth the price.
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on February 24, 2010
Overall, the product is great! I am an ex cockpit builder (long ago) and have spent over $900 for the part to do what this does. That said, you get what you pay for and in most ways more than you paid for in my opinion. The function knobs on the left I like. They are more sturdy and some say touch to turn, but not me. I think it may be because the knobs on the right are so incredibly cheap that the other knobs feel so much harder to turn. The only reason I gave this 4 stars and not 5 is because of those knobs. I wanted this to speed up the freq setting part of my sim time, but I spend more time because of how sensitive they are and you'll over shoot the desired freq setting countless times even though you only moved it one "knub". Personally I'm going to spend the $.29 cents at radio shack and replace them with a generic potentiometer or similar. I had to speak the truth here, but I'm sure 99% of people will be more than satisfied with this unit.
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on March 4, 2012
For all those who either have this or are thinking about buying it, I have a little known tid bit for you. The radio stack works great first of all, I think everybody agrees. Somebody (in another review) mentioned the SPAD drivers instead of the Saitek drivers. Spad drivers are much better, believe me. But, here's a very nice point... If you have the transponder (XPNDR) dialed in, it displays on the right hand display (default is 1200) and the left display remains blank. With the SPAD drivers, that blank display window becomes the barometric pressure (29.92). You use the corresponding knob to dial in the current barometric pressure and you will see the display change and you will also see the corresponding change in your altimeter. Now, that is cool!!! As somebody else said... Use the Spad drivers!!! BTW, the Spad drivers are not on Saiteks' web site (do a google search for them, they're easy to find) but Saitek does recommend them.
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on December 17, 2011
UPDATE 12/12/12

A short and simple video added showing the Radio Panel being used to set the on-screen GPS.

Do a search for "Conrolling the GPS knob with SPAD and FSUIPC" to learn how" (MAKE SURE TO ACCIDENTLY MISSPELL CONTROL*L*ING)'

For those interested, I'm entering in KPHL (Philadelphia)

==========================================================================================================================================

Another UPDATE (4/10/12)

A 9" USB touchscreen Monitor CAN be used (the NEW Doublesight driver makes it perfect) for the GPS or radio panel in FSX. AND controlling the GPS with the Proflight Radio Panel knobs (in the DME setting) is incredible!

The Proflight Radio Panel is turning out to be one of the best multipurpose flight sim control panels around. If I could give it 2 rows of 5 stars, I would!

Older update.

I just received the 9" USB Touch Monitor it works well enough for everything else BUT FSX. Things like GPS and instruments DON'T update. Moving the GPS out of the USB screen causes FSX to stop working. This is an FSX problem, not the DoubleSight Touch Monitor. Unfortunately I bought it for use as a GPS touchscreen.

Using the Radio Panel to control the GPS knobs still works perfectly though and adds a great deal of value to the Radio Panel.

.
***MAJOR*** UPDATE 1/11/12

Want a full functioning GPS for MUCH MUCH less than $500?

When the knob on the left is set to the DME setting the display only shows information. AND the knobs on the right have absolutely no function in this setting. THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!

Although these panels aren't directly programmable you can use SPAD (free software) to send fictitious joystick button presses to FSUIPC (payware). FSUIPC then sends commands to FSX.

What all this means is that you can assign one of the two knobs on the right of the Radio panel (when one on the left is set to DME) to operate the knobs on the Garmin GPS. Combine this info with a USB touch screen monitor like the 9" USB Touch Monitor and you have a full function GPS. *** All other knob settings are unaffected ***.

The functions you want to set are "GPS_group_knob inc" & "GPS_group_knob dec" for the outer knob. "GPS_page_knob inc" & "GPS_page_knob dec" for the inner knob. Set the speed of knob rotation (how fast the number/letters move up or down) to about halfway (50). This keeps you from haveing to spin the dial a lot (you only get that ability thru SPAD).

The ACT/STBY button to the right of the knobs is also not used on the Radio Panel when set to DME. That button is now set to replicate hitting the onscreen GPS "Enter" button. So now you can turn the 2 concentric knobs to set your destination, and hit the ACT/STBY button 3 times to activate your "Direct To" setting in FSX.

I can not emphasize enough how much this improves both the flying experience and the learning experience.

==========================================================================================================================================

If you stay with flight sims, you'll need this. At some point you'll get tired of just taking off and landing in various planes and helicopters. In fact, once you get fairly good at landings, where do you go from there?

That's where this comes in. While learning to use it you'll get a better understanding of how real pilots go from here to there. How do they fly above heavy clouds and thru thick fog to land at their destinations? The answer is in this radio panel which is for both communication AND navigation. If you think that you can get by with only GPS and autopilot you're fooling yourself.

True, you can move and click the mouse at on-screen images, BUT THIS MAKES IT SO MUCH MORE FUN! It makes it so much more interesting that you WANT to learn proper navigation. Even if you had a large touch screen monitor THIS is better.

Reading through the other reviews you'll see some justifiable criticisms, and some complaints where the reviewer was lacking some problem solving skills. So lets get to it.

PROs - This unit is great for learning how to navigate from one point to another, AND LAND IN BAD WEATHER!

CONs - My biggest complaint is with Saitek and their drivers. If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know that I yell "DON'T LOAD THE SAITEK DRIVERS!!!" Many of the complaints about using the 3 main Saitek panels can be resolved by using the (free) SPAD (Saitek Panel Advanced Driver) program. In fact the only Saitek panel driver that I do use is the instrument panel driver.

SPAD will make dialing in the radio frequencies both easier and more precise.

The next valid complaint is about the very small selector knobs on the left side. See my pictures on the main page, but here's the short of it.

1) Trun both of the left had knobs so that the pointers are facing each other.
2) Pull them AWAY from the panel. On the newest panel I had to pry up under the knobs with a knife blade. Put the "old" knobs in the empty box that you'll save incase you need to return it, as I did. I had LED segments dieing on my old unit.
3) Go to radio shack and buy a 1 inch (no larger) replacement knob set. These aren't held on by friction, as were the old knobs. Instead there's a setscrew that will tighten against THE ROUND portion of the shaft. Set both of the new knobs pointing at each other and screw the set screws TIGHT. Do not over tighten the screws with pliers or large handle screwdrivers.

And that's it. The radio panel works great, and the left hand knobs have a nice crisp feel when you turn them.

Side Note:
If you have the switch panel and are using SPAD you can use the top left knob as an engine selector when you start multiple engines one after another, instead of just starting ALL of them at once. It sounds weird but it works

End Note:
It's not enough just to set the frequencies correctly; you have to turn on the NAV1, ADF, etc, buttons on-screen (or with the assigned keys).
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on October 16, 2015
I have purchased three of these panels within the last month for my IFR trainer from Amazon.com. I had to return one of these twice because the displays did not work properly. One item you will not see from any of the Saitek (now Mad Catz) products is a 'QC Passed' sticker because if they had tested the panels before shipping them I would have had a much easier time of it.

Dealing with the faulty Radio Panels through Amazon.com IS the only way to go! They sent the first one to me regular UPS ground and then sent the second one to me overnight! And there was no cost to me except time. BIG CUDOS to Amazon.com! If you purchase one, do not buy it from any other vendor because a failure rate of 60% may be expected. Well, this is a review so I'll get to it.

Pros:
- There a two radios in one unit and are 'hot' changeable to Com1, Com2, Nav1, Nav2, ADF, DME and Transponder
- The displays are red led types, large and easy to read
- The packaging is some of the best-ever I've seen
- Drivers are easily obtained from the Saitek site (although not really needed for FSX)
- It comes with a frame that can be attached to other Saitek hardware, top-down or side-by-side (all Saitek uses metric 4mm / 0.70 thread)
- Saitek drivers work perfectly in FSX using SimConnect
- SPAD 0.5.1 (free version) / FSUIPC (unregistered free version) compatible which fixes many Saitek driver issues (knobs) and is configurable.

Cons:
- The drivers from Saitek (SaiPanels.exe and SaiFlightSimX.exe) make the adjusting knobs are WAY too sensitive, one detent=two increments
- If you install the latest Saitek FSX Plug-in, it cannot be used with the SPAD/FSUIPC drivers.
- Customer support at Saitek (now Mad Catz) is virtually non-existent so you'll be on your own solving issues.

Hints and Tips:
- If you install this (or anything else from Saitek) unplug the internet cable first to keep Windows 7 from searching for non-existent drivers
- Install hardware first, there is no need to install the Saitek 'driver'. The Smart Technology software only shows if it is working or not.
- No need to install the Panel Software for this. FSX Plug-in has incorporated this code which makes it impossible to turn off the Radio (and use SPAD)

Some say NOT to use the Saitek drivers. If you can deal with the sensitive adjustment knobs: go ahead! If you don't have any Saitek Flight Information Panels do NOT install any Saitek software and use SPAD to make using these panels enjoyable (that includes the Multi, Switch and BIP as well).

I have a Saitek IFR test bed and use nine Saitek FIPs with their software (no alternative) and SPAD for everything else including the radio. It can be done but it will take you some time researching this on how to do it.... but it CAN be done!
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on October 19, 2012
The panel itself is fairly nice, and despite some complaints to the contrary, I found the selector knobs on the left easy enough to turn without being too easy. I can't say the same thing at all about the tuning knobs on the right. They're next to useless - they use some sort of sensor that makes it so that if you turn it faster than an extremely slow turn, it won't register any changes at all. This makes it tedious to tune distant frequencies from the current. The much larger problem is that the detents in the tuning knobs mean literally nothing. They're just sort of there. They don't correspond with a number change, and usually they just cause an issue of making it hard to tune certain frequencies because the number you want is sort of in between two detents and it'll try to drop into a detent.

The SPAD drivers have a fine tuning thing that I think I might be able to mess around with to get the detents to make some amount of sense, but that won't help with the inaccuracy of the tuning when you turn it at anything faster than about 20 degrees a second. Do get the SPAD drivers, by the way - don't even bother installing the ones that come from Saitek.
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on February 9, 2015
This panel is great but it has a few issues.

First, the software is tough to get working and keep working. Sometimes you start FSX and the panel won't come on. From time to time you will still see the frequencies change in the cockpit even if there isn't numbers displayed on the unit. I've had better results using SPAD software. (google that)

Second, the knobs do not act as if they should. They have click positions but the numbers dial and change different than the click. You have to stop the knob between clicks to set certain frequencies. It's kind of a pain when you look down and your freq is off all of a sudden.
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on November 3, 2011
I am practicing some instrument flying on FSX. The radio panel is to give me more practice using a radio stack. This unit is OK. Nice size. The knobs do not have detentes and are sometimes hard to select between two numbers. There is also no way to set the .5 digit required for some frequencies. This makes it unusable with some navigation facilities. You have to press the swap keys to set the high and low numbers for the transponder. The DME reading is nice. I lowered the rating because of the difficulty in setting some numbers and the problem with the .5 frequencies.
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