Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CH Products Eclipse yoke, As real as it gets

I tested the Eclipse Yoke in X-Plane 10 and was extremely pleased with how it felt and operated. Once I had the input settings configured to my liking, I found that flying with the Eclipse felt very smooth and natural compared to a joystick, and with the number of controls available, I was able to map my most commonly used commands to the yoke itself meaning less time spent with my fingers on the keyboard which lends itself to a more authentic flying experience (or what I think is a more authentic flying experience; the closest I've come to piloting a real plane was sitting in the right seat of a Cessna 152 as a passenger).

The Eclipse Yoke works flawlessly in Linux (Kubuntu 11.10), but you'll probably want to use a program like QJoyPad to map the left hatswitch to keyboard inputs so you can use it for things like looking around the 3D cockpit. Without QJoyPad, the left hatswitch reports as axes instead of buttons for reasons that are complicated and boring, and you can't assign look commands to an axis in X-Plane making work-arounds pretty much mandatory. Windows doesn't require any such work-around, again for reasons that are complicated and boring.

The center knob on the Eclipse is used by the CH software to select one of three profiles. However, without the software they're reported as regular button presses which can be assigned commands. So, for example, I have X-Plane 10 set-up so that turning the switch all the way to the left will show me the 3D cockpit view, center will give me an exterior view of my plane, and full right will put me in the nearest tower. Pretty handy, I think.

I don't have anything negative to say because, honestly, nothing came to mind while I was using the yoke. I booted up X-Plane, took to the air, and never once had to think about the controller sitting in front of me. It just works, feels great to fly with, and doesn't get in the way. I highly recommend the CH Eclipse Yoke, it's one of the best yokes you can buy without spending a small fortune.

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