Light and elegantly built, the PUMA flight trainer is an effective helicopter control simulation device. We purchased one from Helicopters Only in Canada. We received it in about two weeks from order. The PUMA Pro Flight Trainer has all the basic controls to be able to simulate and train as in a Bell/Schweitzer-style helicopter. That is, the cyclic is between your legs and the collective on your right side. The unit is built well. Parts are attached to a central U-shaped solid metal piece and the light square tubing supporting the collective mechanism is bolted to that. The cyclic attaches centrally and the entire control falls flat for transport. The grip, resembling a B8-style grip, is comfortable and fitted with all the standard buttons, front trigger and Hat switch. The collective has a switch box with two switches and two buttons. The throttle is wrapped in soft foam and there is a spring to keep the control steady in the position it is set. The anti-torque pedals have a solid feel to them.
Assembly takes about a half hour. We followed a manual provided in CD-format. However, a page found in the box pointed to a slightly different manual on the seller’s website. Tools are provided to fasten the unit using M4 -size bolts and relative nuts. We used a small electric screwdriver to make it even easier. Some of the bolts have washers, others didn’t. We figured that parts that were supposed to be adjustable (the position of the collective can be adjusted by mounting the unit in several different holes) used washers and those who were fixed (such as those fastening the cyclic) didn’t. In any case the unit was very sturdy when assembled. A small red 3D printed wrench is provided to tighten the “friction” of the controls. Another 3D printed, also red part is supplied to center the cyclic when calibrating it and, when reversed, to close a gap that is used to slide the cyclic control down for transport. A very smart solution.
The cabling is terminated into pins in the USB control board. You have to pay attention to the type of board you have (see the CD for your type) and to correctly orient and place each of the 12 cable terminations marked 1-9 and 01-03. Velcro straps are provided to secure all cabling in place.
Finally, configuring the unit was very straightforward. Once the hardware settings page opens, you will find a representation of the unit, ready to go through the standard calibration procedure. While buttons can be configured as one likes, the Hat switch is pre-configured for POV changes, as it is standard in flight simulator controls.
In short, the unit is well built, assembled with no difficulty, and it provides a great ways to delve in the world of helicopter simulation. Its price is in the range of other offerings of the same type. A great product that will likely help to cut significant time from your rotary training.