Have you ever spent your whole sim session just looking for key commands, customizing controls and testing out the configuration?  Sometimes I don’t even get the airplane off the ground. There is amazing flexibility for you to program buttons and switches to whatever you like, but sometimes that blank slate is overwhelming. If that’s you, I want to share my latest configuration in case you need a starting point. For years, my setup has consisted of a CH Eclipse Yoke with CH Rudder Pedals. I’ve really had few complaints with that setup, but I’ve been excited to try the Honeycomb Alpha Controls since they announced the product development a couple years back.  I’m not suggesting that these are the best configurations, and I tweak them every so often, but this is where I’ve landed currently.  If you need a place to start, this might be a place to try.

 

My Guiding Principle
When selecting assignments for a button, my guiding principle is to try to get as many checklist items to have a yoke assignment (the Honeycomb ignition switch serves this well for startup and runup).  In addition, I look for those that are awkward to click in the airplane and can throw me off by trying to find it with the mouse, like the Autopilot button.  At the end of the day, you are best to configure your setup in a way that serves you best for your mission on the sim. Since I am a real world pilot, I like to create as many similarities to the real airplane as possible so that my sim sessions are like chair flying.

 

Honeycomb Yoke
I love that the switches on the base of the yoke are prelabeled. Sure, you could change them, but having your lights, master and ignition switches set up realistically is a huge plus. Out of the box, I struggled a little with the key configurations. The images of the yoke’s buttons weren’t showing up, so I had a hard time figuring out what I was programming. I learned that there is a file replacement if you are a Mac user to fix this. Here is the layout of the rest of the yoke:

While my setup has become dedicated to muscle memory, I always keep a copy of the configuration of all my controls printed out near the computer for quick reference.

Here are the commands to look for when assigning this configuration. Sometimes finding the command you want takes some hunting. Note that to assign Autopilot on/off in the Airfoillabs Cessna 172, you have to select it from a series of blank text boxes (upper left, above).

Number Pad Views
Although it took me a while to discover, I found that you can easily memorize and recall views that you set using the number pad keys.  By default, CTRL+NUM PAD [0-9] will memorize the 3D location (set it to the view you want first using the q,e,r,f,<,> keys), and then the Num Pad [0-9] switches your view to the saved location.  This has saved me from having to finagle with a bunch of panning and tilting using a hat switch, and instead jump right to the view I want.  I like this feature so much that I’ve mapped certain num pad views to my hat switch instead of the ability to pan and tilt.  Here’s my configuration:
 

If you have a keyboard with a number pad, this can come in handy to combat some of the view challenges that are inherent in a sim.

Saitek Throttle Quadrant
The most noticeable change from the CH Eclipse was the lack of throttle and mixture control (don’t worry, Honeycomb is developing their Beta Throttle Quadrant). In the meantime, I had to pick up a stand-alone throttle quadrant, so I ordered the Saitek Throttle Quadrant. It’s straightforward and has a few extra programmable buttons below the quadrant. Here’s my setup:
 

Note that the prop lever really doesn’t do anything for a Cessna 172. I’ve set it to a view zoom at times as well.

Again, finding the actual key commands when you look them up to assign them isn’t always straightforward.


 
Download The Template
As you work to configure your own setup, feel free to download my blank template of the Honeycomb Yoke or Saitek Throttle Quadrant.  You can note down your assignments as you create them and it serves as a handy reminder when you’ve developed a little mental rust in between sessions.

 

2 Comments

  1. Larry Hodgins

    ” For years, my setup has consisted of a CH Eclipse Yoke with CH Rudder Pedals. ”

    Do you continue to use the same rudder pedals? Are there other models of rudder pedals you care to recommend?

    Reply
    • Clay

      Hey Larry! I do still use the CH pedals and really like them. I have used the Saitek pedals before and Iiked them, too. I don’t think you’d go wrong with either, but I feel like the CH might have a heavier base that stays in place well on the floor. With my Saitek pedals, I had to mount them to a board that my chair also locked into.

      Reply

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