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Showing 1-10 of 135 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 141 reviews
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 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 March 2, 2017
This is great but doesn't work with Windows 10. I contact to Saitek, NO HELP what so ever. I purchased few other Pro Flight panels, and the yoke, they don't work. I am surprised because Saitek products I use usually works very well, but these devices are not good at all. Their support creates a ticket and then ask you to go online and try to find solution from previously asked help section. No help, and than they go ahead and clear the support tickets as they say they fixed it, which is a lie!!! I call them again and asked the re-open the ticket and still no news....... It has been more than a year though. I spent almost more than a $1000 for this products that are not working.... I am very disappointed.
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on December 8, 2015
For a unit that is all about the knobs and this expensive, Saitek should have made them better.

I already owned the Cessna yoke, trim, and rudder. They have worked wonderfully (particularly the rudders), so I didn't think twice when I ordered this radio panel. It also seems to have high ratings. Should have actually read the reviews!

These knobs are horrible. The mode selectors on the left are very hard to turn, and the rotary knobs on the right feel wishy washy. In addition, I thought the rotary knobs on the right are push-pull like the real-life Garmin knobs, but they are not. To fine tune, you turn and try to keep the knob between two click stops - it works as well as it sounds, especially since the detents lack conviction.

SPAD software may help you tune more precisely, but it cannot make the knobs feel any better.

If Saitek adjusts the detents on these knobs and make the tuners push-pull, this would be a much better unit. The way it is is very disappointing.
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on December 12, 2011
This is a 'must-have' for serious flight simulator pilots. Much has been written about the feeling of the control knobs - 2 are too tight (the left knobs) and two are difficult to precisely tune (the right hand knobs). That said, this is a simple to operate unit and it greatly improves your flights, particularly on the larger jets where you're using dual NAV radios for ILS landings. You can also use the Com1 and Com2 to speak with ATC (e.g. VATSIM, IVAO) which again greatly speeds up your ability to respond to radio frequency changes. I have read of others who thought this unit is 'too big' but if you're an older pilot, the large easy-to-read red numbers are extremely welcome. Arrived from Amazon in solid packing box, manufacturer packaging was nice as well. I downloaded the drivers directly from Saitek.com instead of running the CD. You DO need to install the drivers even on Windows 7 for this device to work properly with Flight Simulator X. While I was not thrilled with Saitek flight yoke/throttle set nor their least-expensive rudder pedals, I have to say I'm satisfied and excited about this item. Running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

EDIT: After taking several flights in Microsoft Flight Simulator X and using VATSIM Squawkbox 4, I can say that this device is a total pleasure, and greatly speeds up my pre-flight routine. It's great to actually dial in the NAV1 and NAV2 frequencies. You turn the left knob to select the radio device (or other function) then you turn the right knobs to adjust the frequency. When dialing Squawk you press the Swap button to access the left two digits, then Swap again to set the right two. It's cake!

I also purchased the Backlit Information Panel (BIP) and the Combat Rudder Pedals by Saitek. I am not sure if I will keep both of those items, but the radio stack is GREAT. Yes, the left knobs require some force to turn, and I wish they were larger so I could exert more torque, but I'm betting that Saitek wanted these to hold up for a good while. I particularly love being able to dial in my SQUAWK frequency for ATC (transponder). That is golden.

Saitek throws in a mouting frame and some very nice silver set screws, plus some velco strips to make it less likely to skid around on your desktop. These can be mounted on top of other Saitek devices for those who wish to do so. I have mine sitting off to the right of my monitor. Love it.

Two final words: Buy It.
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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 16, 2017
Simply put, Saitek abandoned support.

It didn't work properly out of the box (knobs skipped frequencies) but there was a fix called SPAD. However, that doesn't work in Windows 10, and while there's an alternative (you can look it up yourself) it costs around $100.

Shame on Saitek.
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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 September 4, 2015
I bought this to use with Flight Simulator X ver 10. This Saitek Panel has driver problems. The Saitek drivers that come with it and the updated one on the Saitek web site do not work. The best drivers are on the FSX Forum. Tere are two layers of drivers, on layer is the Saitek panel talking to MS Windows and then there is another layer talking from Windows to FSX and finally to the processor inside the Saitk Panel.

The processor inside the Saitek Panel is very sensitive to the voltage on the USB .. so much so that it is useful to use a powered hub or directly power the Saitek Panel. Try the "Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port High Speed Hub" The Saitek yoke has a built in USB hub, but only 3 ports which is not nearly enough! Watch the the Saitek Panel internal processor wakes up and provides a sensible display, if it is all messed up then the processor did not have enough voltage to initialize properly.

Best to plug in all the Saitek Panels and their USB power before turning on your computer, this helps BIOS and Windows find the USB devices.

Expect extra work with any Saitek Panel and FSX.

Joe
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on November 18, 2014
Some things to know about this radio panel:

1. As others have mentioned, the frequency knobs are finicky. There are clicks that you can feel when turning them. The problem is that the coarse adjust is 2MHz per click, not 1MHz as you would expect. To get a 1MHz adjustment you have to stop rotating halfway between clicks which can be difficult to accomplish when trying to focus on multiple other things at once. The fine adjust is the same way. One click adjusts about 0.05MHz (COM) or 0.10 MHz (NAV) most of the time. The resolution of the fine adjust is half of that in each case. Thankfully these knobs turn very easily.
2. I was not able to plug this into my Saitek yoke's USB port and get it to work. The port wasn't able to supply enough power. Windows displayed an alert to this effect, otherwise I probably wouldn't have figured it out for a little while. I plugged it into a separate powered USB hub attached to my computer and it worked fine. Plan on getting a powered USB hub or plug it directly to a free USB port on your tower and hope that your tower's USB adapter has enough power.
3. The allen wrench supplied with the radio is too small to remove the screws on the Saitek yoke. You will need a 3mm allen wrench for this. The thumb screws provided with the radio are easy to install and twist on/off. However I feel that the attachment to the yoke is not very good with only two screws. The radio rocks back and forth a bit under the force required to twist the two knobs on the left, which is surprisingly high compared to the ease of turning the knobs on the right, but not a huge deal to me.
4. The seven segment displays are large and very bright. For the distance I sit from my yoke, they are too large. I plan to remove the radio from my yoke and make a wooden base for it, and place it further back alongside my monitors. Still within reach, but less "in your face."
5. Saitek provides no instructions for installing the driver. Thankfully it was easy. Connect the radio over USB, insert CD, run install, click through a few menus, done. Assuming the radio has enough USB power, the displays light up immediately after launching FSX.
6. The radio is only about 2" deep, and that's only after you attach it to the plastic frame that comes with it. It is intended to be attached to a yoke, or you can use the stick-on velcro strips that come with it to attach it to a desk (or make your own base, as I plan to do). This is sort of clear if you look at all the pictures, but just don't expect a large flat unit.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, despite the minor issues above. It's still far better than having to use the mouse and bring up the radio stack on the screen all the time. It's nice that it includes a DME display too.

=========
Update 3/1/2015:

* I recently updated my drivers to SPAD v0.5 (http://fstools.weebly.com), a third-party alternative to Saitek's drivers for the Radio, Multi, & Switch panels. Since updating, I no longer have the problem with the coarse adjust knob overshooting the frequency. So I would recommend trying this to avoid problem #1 above. There are slight differences in SPAD, e.g. the default DME setting displays Primary & Secondary NAV DME Distance, not Primary NAV DME distance and groundspeed, but this setting can be adjusted through the SPAD GUI to show the groundspeed alongside distance. SPAD should be set up to start automatically every time FSX starts for convenience, and there are instructions in the manual that describe how to do this.
* I had issues getting the XPDR to work correctly using the Saitek drivers. With SPAD, it's not giving me any problems. The SPAD XPDR setting displays the Altimeter setting on the left (e.g. 29.92) and the Squawk code on the right. The Squawk code can be adjusted by spinning the inner knob, and using the Select button to cycle through the digits.
* I've panel-mounted this device in a cockpit enclosure I built, and I have to say it works very well in a setup like that. I plan to buy a second one so I can have COM1/XPDR and NAV1/DME settings all visible at once. I spend too much time cycling between these on my one radio (those first-world problems).

Most users are probably still going to sit this on a desk or on top of their yoke at close range and use the out-of-the-box Saitek drivers, so I'm sticking with my 4-star rating. If you take the time to upgrade to SPAD and do a panel mount, it's a 5-star product all day long.
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