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Hardware

FSElite Original: Airline Experience 737 Simulator

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The joy of flight simulation is that you get all the thrill of flying multiple aircraft, wherever you want in the world, without the large price tag of training or having to leave the comfort of your desk chair. Most people, for one reason or another, are limited to the experience of sitting in front of their PC, learning different aircraft systems and basic flight handling without even touching a real aircraft. In the effort to immerse yourself even further into the realm of virtual flying, one step further would be to start to build a home cockpit. For the same price as a Private Pilot’s license, a Boeing 737 cockpit will certainly quench the thirst for the ultimate virtual flying experience but can be both time consuming and costly. A satisfying middle ground is visiting one of the pre-built simulators that can be found in garages, caravans, lockups and business parks all around the globe. Most of these are meticulously put together by like-minded virtual flight enthusiasts, with the view to achieving the highest level of immersion possible and sharing that with visitors who purchase block time to spend in the sim.

I visited recently established Airline Experience, a 737NG flight simulator based at Fairoaks Airport (EGTF), in Surrey, UK. Airline Experience has been assembled and run by four real-world airline pilots: James, Anna, Graham, and Nick who all met at Fairoaks over the past few years whilst learning to fly or operating different aircraft from the small WWII GA airfield. Now, James and Anna operate an Airbus A320 fleet out of Heathrow, Graham flies 737s from Luton and Nick flies out of London City using Embraer aircraft. The team have all progressed to real-world flying from experiencing simulation in one form or another and provide great insight as to what it takes for others to do the same.

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Honeycomb Aeronautical Bravo Throttle Quadrant: First Look

HONEYCOMB AERONAUTICAL Bravo First Look

The Honeycomb Aeronautical Bravo Throttle Quadrant is perhaps one of the most anticipated pieces of hardware for flight simulation. Following on from the hugely successful, and frankly incredible, Alpha Flight Controls, the Bravo has a lot to live up to. When Honeycomb first entered this space with their initial proposals, it had the community excited for what could possibly come from having such varied controls at price points that appealed to the masses.

We feel a true review can only come after an extended period of time with the controls in a variety of simulators, but we also know that many of you are keen to learn about our first initial impressions of the new hardware. With that in mind, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of the controls, our first thoughts and the overall look and feel.

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Unboxing and Set-Up

If you haven’t watched our unboxing video, go check it out now. As you will see, the box is well presented and the controls are packaged up super nice. Inside, you will find the two sets of throttle handles (GA and Commercial), 2 clamps, the suction pad and of course, the main Bravo hardware itself. There are a series of leaflets about Aerosoft and various partners, as well as the instruction manual. I’m mostly impressed at how compact the box was, yet the product was nicely protected throughout with some very premium feeling foam. If you own the Alpha Flight Controls, then you will already be familiar with the quality.

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FSElite Original: Interview with Jonas Hernstig from Total Controls

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Late September, we reported about a new company named Total Controls, who hopes to raise enough funds for their first product, the Multi-Function Button Box through a Kickstarter fundraising. The Kickstarter will end of 27th October 2020 at 19.00 CET. FSElite took the time to have a chat with Jonas Hernstig, founder of Total Controls, and give him the chance to explain to our readers the goals of this project.

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Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition: First Look

THRUstmaster Tca Sidestick First Look

Finding the right hardware to start your journey into flight simulation is always tough. For months, I tried desperately to use a keyboard and mouse. The virtual flight instructors were always mad at me for terrible landings (tips on pg. 63), but I always blamed the hardware setup I had. However, when I got my first joystick, my flight sim life changed. Finally having full control over each movement meant I could land with much more precision. I could no longer blame my hardware for the rough landings, but at least having a joystick made things easier than ever before.

As we enter into this new realm of flight simulation, it’s worth stopping to remember that finding your first piece of hardware is a crucial first step into your flight simulation journey.

For years, Thrustmaster has been involved in the production of quality hardware in the flight simulation world. The TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition is the latest in a long line of products from the hardware manufacturers, but the first entry that is designed with commercial airliners in mind. Working closely alongside Airbus, the new TCA Sidestick is designed to offer enthusiasts and future pilots alike the chance to hold something close to the real thing.

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Design and Feel

The design is taken straight out of an Airbus cockpit. Blue hues make up the base, whilst the buttons and switches strike a good resemblance to sidesticks I’ve seen in rea Airbus cockpits. Despite being made from plastic, it feels sturdy and durable.

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Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls: The FSElite First Look

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Whilst at FSExpo 2019, I was kindly gifted a pre-release edition of the Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls Yoke to take home. I thought that I would write up a brief first look for those interested in learning more about the product. Please note that this is NOT a full review, which will be coming in the next couple of weeks just before release.

Build quality and packaging is great. Opening the box feels like I am opening something that is above its price point, almost like opening a really big iPhone box. Feels very high quality to use compared to my previous Saitek Pro Flight Yoke.

Attaching the yoke to the desk is done with a dedicated plate. This can attach to your desk either by a sticky and suction surface on the bottom of the plate or via clamps that attach to the plate and my desk. The yoke will then attach to this plate.

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