As always with Virtual Fly’s products it’s hard to find any flaws: their quality is simply impeccable. This review completes the triad of primary flight controls, including the YOKO+ yoke and the TQ6 throttle quadrant.
The first thing you notice, much like with YOKO+ and TQ6, is the weight. This is a sturdy, no-plastic, unit. With aluminum alloy pedals and all-metal construction, the pedals are about 20 lb (9 Kg.). Nothing flimsy here. Virtual Fly bills them as “unbreakable” and we would be hard-pressed to think of a situation in which they would, indeed, break. The unit comes with a two-year warranty. An extra set of resistance springs, fastening belts, Velcro and a USB cable completes the offering.
The look of the pedals resembles those found in a Cessna 172, wide footrests with a Z-shaped section to differentiate the brake area on the top end. The movement of the pedal is linear, forward and backward, with a 1 3/8″ (35 mm.) run. This is more than adequate even for tight turns and gives enough control granularity for smaller direction adjustments. The bottom of the pedals sits quite high over the floor, at about 4 1/2″ (115 mm.). This means that to break you will likely have to lift the feet off the floor, which is what you would do in most aircraft. The pedals sit over a large metal plate, which can be affixed to the floor of the sim via screws or rested against a wall. Oblong slots allow some degree of adjustment if the former option is chosen. The unit can also be mounted using Velcro or fastened to a chair via the included straps, although we noticed a tendency for the front of the unit to lift up when braking unless the straps were kept fairly low around the chair’s legs.
Understanding that every sim is different and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, we would have still liked to see some additional adjustment of the pedals over the plate, perhaps on a slide moving a few inches in the front-back direction, closer or further from the pilot. Regardless, AFSBI’s staff of different heights tried the pedals at three different distances about 4″ (10cm.) from each other, and all found them comfortable. In short, the design seems to accommodate different heights well from the same seating distance.
On our X-Plane 11 sim, the setup was extremely easy. The setup screen opened up with a picture of the pedals and, essentially, there are only three controls to calibrate, the Yaw axis and the two brakes. It took less than a minute to go through the entire procedure.
Once we fired up the sim we looked at an innovation in these pedals. RUDDO+ uses “load cells” to convert the force exerted on the pedals into a smoother signal for the sim. This improves direction precision when both pedals are pressed and ameliorates the effect of differential braking, rendering both more realistic. RUDDO+ pedals use pressure sensors to do this, which allows you not to be overly concerned with the aircraft skidding one way or another because one brake is activated with a higher pressure than the other. Of course you can still brake on only one side to execute a tight ground turn. On slowing down after landing, you will be able to decelerate straight with no effort. The cantilevered mechanisms which actuates the brakes, plus all other innovations described above, makes the simulator behave as expected on a real aircraft.
As in other Virtual Fly “+” controls, RUDDO+ pedals are equipped with Hall sensors. These sensors rely on digital chips’ distance from a magnet rather than on mechanical potentiometers to sense the position of the pedals. In short, nothing that can break.
An easy to use test and calibration program is provided (here) to further customize the pedals action (note that this program can be used with other Virtual Fly products). We found, however, that the basic calibration in X-Plane was already good enough.
On our simulator testing everything worked predictably. We were able to maintain center-line throughout the takeoff run without problems. Upon landing, we made the taxiway and smoothly applied brakes to clear the active.
This is essentially a professional-grade set of pedals. Much like all other Virtual Fly products, it should appeal to the advance simulator enthusiast, to the sim integrator and to the flight school with a need to acquire heavy duty controls for use day in and day out in a busy training environment. The RUDDO+ pedals can be used to do it all, thus earning our seal of approval.