Customer Reviews

93
4.2 out of 5 stars
Saitek PRO Flight Radio Panel
Price:$140.34 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
Verified Purchase
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2010
Verified Purchase
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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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2010
Verified Purchase
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2010
Verified Purchase
Flight simmers,

While I completely agree with the other two reviews regarding the knob turning force and sensitivity, I have to say that I am "5 star" happy with this product. Why? The price is right through Amazon, the LED displays are bright and stable, when the unit is mounted in a home cockpit the "turning force" issues are lessened and finally, it works as well as advertised.

I like the bigger "footprint" of the unit as the knobs are bigger than the competition. Also, the larger LED's make use easier for those of us who have vision issues.

For the price, you cannot beat this unit. In fact, I am getting ready to order two more to round out my radio stack. Excellent product!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
This works great with the custom made plugins for xplane 10. No problems at all, the plugin corrects the sensitive knobs. It looks great. When you plug it in, the lights wont come on until the sim starts. nice.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
I give this 5 stars in functionality, meaning that it works absolutely great!!! I installed the software easily, plugged in the radio units (I bought 2), and they worked. I could see the values on the on-screen radio stack changing as I twiddled the knobs and pushed the buttons.

So, why an over all 3 stars. This is a 12 inch wide Tonka Toy, and would look very out of place sitting anywhere other than on top of the Saitek flight yoke. In every aircraft I have been in, flown or simulated (former Link and former USAF plus lessons), or even worked on, a typical radio unit is about 6 inches wide. This monster is a foot wide. It looks extremely out of place in a cockpit when realism is desired. You remember, we had 1/2 inch logs for pencils in the first grade... this thing is that kind of monstrosity. The digits are nearly an inch high....it is the Tonks Toy of the simulation world.

HOWEVER it works great, and will look OK on the Saitek Flight Yoke. I wanted to incorporate it into my cockpit, and that is just not going to happen. It will not add to the realism, but detract from it. SO, I guess I am goning to validate their system and buy the flight yoke, and have a second cockpit with all of the Saitek stuff in it.

But a FOOT WODE? sorry, that bumps them way down in the score for me. I guess they did this for the oldersters like me, who cannot see...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Verified Purchase
The PRO Flight Radio Panel by Saitek is a nice equipment and has turned my flights much more enjoyable.
The various options of settings offered gives more reality to the simulation.
An improvement that could be provided to the panel is the way we select the ADF frequencies. The dual knob selects the integer part and the decimal part of the frequency. It would be better if we could set the dual knob to select the hundreds and the tens/unities.
I recommend this product.
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