(Tim Gorham is North America’s Product Manager at Thrustmaster. We met him briefly in Oshkosh at Airventure.)
AFSBI: These are great looking pedals.
Tim: So the rudder pedals are what we are announcing here at the show. This is the first mass market ‘pendular’ (TPR) based rudder system that exists. So it’s a perfect pairing for our Warthog on the higher end Elite products. It’s 100% metal. It’s a replica of what you’ll find inside a real plane and sim pilots have been looking for this for years and years and years. I’d say it’s perfectly customizable the way you like to use them. But it’s as close to the real thing as you can possibly get.
AFSBI: OK. It looks like what you find in larger aircraft.
Tim: Yes, exactly.
AFSBI: Tell me about the headsets, USB powered, perfect for ATC simulation.
Tim: Yes, the headsets are at our elite level of flight sim hardware. As you can see with the metal framework the on ear, the on headset volume control, the gel inlays within the ear caps, the unidirectional microphone. It’s all made to replicate what real pilots had said it would be would feel like and look like so it’s going to be a huge seller. We hope for the flight community who really it’s all about immersion. It’s all about recreating what they love in the real sky. The U.S. Air Force has officially licensed these products also one interesting thing to note is that logos on the side of the headset can be changed, so in the future we’ll be able to release specific plates to put onto the sides which will be specific to a game or a license or possibly even customize them to gamers official squadron icon or or something similar. So we’re super excited about those.
AFSBI: Timing and prices?
Tim: TPR rudder which are 100% metal, the first mass market pendular rudder system those are available starting this week for preorder for $ $499.99 on any of your favorite retailer. The U.S. Airforce headset is going to be at $99.99. Preorders begin on August 16. And both of them shipped roughly six weeks to two months after the preorder.
AFSBI: So I heard Keith at PilotEdge talking about your products, obviously is supporting you guys big time.
AFSBI: But there was a point in his talk he says well fly your joystick because it self-centers so well. Good and true, but a lot of pilots use yokes not sticks. I’m one of them. So what about yokes in your lineup, anything that we can advise our members?
Tim: We don’t make a yoke right now. It is probably the number one piece of feedback we’ve heard from pilots here at the show. We know that there is a huge market for it on the civilian flight simulation site. It would double or even triple the number of planes that somebody could accurately simulate in flight sims by flying with a yoke. Our RD team, they have it on their radar, it’s on the road map, but it’s not something that’s coming up in the very, very near future. In other words not before the end of 2018. It is something that we know is highly in demand and would help us cement ourselves our existing reputation of the number one sim hardware provider in North America.
AFSBI: I would say so. Obviously a yoke with force feedback seems to be increasingly a major component to provide full immersion in simulators.
Tim:We’re hearing it from many different sim and real world pilots coming through the booth at the show and we know for sure that it’s something that’s on our RD team as well. Thrustmaster has two sides, two categories of products, racing and flight simulators. So both simulators and the racing side are very well known for how accurate and powerful force feedback is. So it’s really just a matter of time to adapt one side into the other.
Tim: Also there’s probably many different considerations that the RD team and the business team have to take into account before they’re able to release force feedback sticks and rudders and yokes.
AFSBI: Anything on the throttle quadrant side?
Tim: So we don’t have anything official to announce but are we are starting this year really focusing on turning the Warthog throttle into something more customizable. So with interchangeable flight sticks that can just screw off of the base of the Warthogs that use that same engine but just match the stick to the plane that you’re flying in-game. Everything at that level is always a one-to-one replica of what you’ll find inside a real plane with real components, real metal components, officially approval by the companies that make them, such as the US Air Force or Boeing. We already heavily invested and evaluating what are the next steps for creating that interchangeable system both on the stick side and on the throttle side as well.
AFSBI: Thank you for your time.