Rudder pedals are an important piece of equipment for any serious simmer. Whilst the effectiveness of a rudder axis on a joystick is okay, it’s not exactly designed for more complicated scenarios. Rudder pedals provide that extra sense of realism and control needed for serious pilots. They’re often one of the first things someone will purchase when looking for new hardware to enhance their setup, but finding a decent pair is sometimes hard. This is not only because there’s a huge selection out there, but also because they vary in style, quality and price.
The Ruddo Pedals from Virtual-Fly have been designed for professional simmers and cockpit builders alike. Regardless of your sim setup or design, the basic design of the Ruddo Rudder Pedals lends itself nicely to anyone’s set-up. Inside the packaging is the Ruddo pedals themselves, the USB cables to and from the product to your PC, and a manual. There were also some additional bits which I’ll cover further down in the installation of the product.
Setting up the Ruddo Pedals is very easy. Remove the packaging, place them where you need them, and plug them in via the USB cable. The drivers, despite being included with the product on a USB, install automatically once they’re plugged in via Windows 10. You can configure the pedals to your needs in the simulator. You have one axis for the rudder controls and another for the toe brakes. Once the pedals are set up, there are a few other things you can do to make sure they’re suited for the environment your simulator is in.
Despite weighing in at roughly 11 kilograms, the force required is often greater than 11 kilograms meaning they can move unless attached to the floor. Fortunately, Virtual-Fly has included a few options for simmers to choose from to make sure the pedals as stable as possible. The first choice is to use several included holes on the floor plate and fasten it with screws to the floor. Yikes. Of course, that’s an option for someone with a dedicated cockpit. You could also drill into a piece of wood, which then stretches to your back wall. The choice is yours. Alternatively (and what I did), you can attach a “hook-and-loop fastener” ( Velcro) to the your carpet.. Surprisingly, the pedals were pretty stable – even on my carpeted floor. From the research I did, hardwood floors also work well with this method. If you do use hardwood floors, you will have to use both sides of the “hook-and-loop fastener” compared to the carpet method, which just requires one side. What is worth mentioning is if you decide you would like to fix the product to the floor, you will need to supply your own screws. I found this odd considering the overall cost of the product.
In addition to the aforementioned securing devices, you can also loop a belt around your chair. This will then prevent you from rolling away (if you’re on wheels) when you start using them. I didn’t need to use the belt as the controls themselves were well enough designed that I didn’t have to fight tooth and nail to apply pressure.
In terms of specification, the pedals are built with a superior manufacturing process. The all-metal design means that they are one sturdy piece of equipment. The base is a mix of both aluminium and steel giving you peace of mind that they won’t be breaking any time soon. Unlike other products which tire over time, Virtual-Fly has stated that the Ruddo Pedals are equipped to withstand the test of time and aggressive use. Even in the most challenging of crosswinds, slamming any sort of force for deflection on the pedals will be handled just fine.
Another exciting feature of the pedals is how they use something called ‘load cells’ on the toe brakes. Other gaming controllers use this technology to send accurate signals to the software, which is then actioned on the screen. In the case of the pedals, the load cells will measure the amount of pressure applied, convert that to something the sim will understand and then apply that amount of differential braking. In a traditional controller, the amount of pressure depth applied will then translate to how much that axis has moved. In the case of load cells, it will convert force to the sim. So the harder and faster you apply that force, the more differential breaking will be applied. Another advantage of this system is that you can actually apply equal differential braking to the aircraft in the simulator.
If you own a set of pedals already, you may know the struggle of trying to apply equal pressure to the brakes. Because of how they’re designed, it’s almost impossible to apply the same amount of force with both feet. Our bodies are good at knowing what equal pressure is when we want to apply it, but the way the message is delivered to the sim doesn’t always translate. However, with load cells, it’s the force our feet apply that is the message being sent to the sim. Meaning you actually can apply an equal amount of pressure and have it effectively translated in the sim. This is the most innovative technology I’ve seen in a braking system for any piece of hardware, compared to other rudder pedals I’ve used recently.
In terms of size, the Ruddo Pedals take up a lot of space. The full length of the product is 393mm with a width and height of 400mm and 253mm respectfully. The majority of the real estate space is taken up by the black housing box, as opposed to the pedals themselves. For me, I preferred the low profile of the pedals as I could comfortably rest my feet on the floor when using them. Tapping the brakes is a lot easier too due to the positioning of the toe section.
Whilst the build quality is exceptional, the design of the pedals feels uninspired. The black box with grey pedals is perfectly functional, but it does lack any kind of ‘wow’ factor. When you compare them to other products on the market, such as the Thrustmaster TPR pedals, there’s a lot left to be desired in terms of aesthetics. Of course, when they’re on the floor and your feet are placed on them, it doesn’t make much in the way of difference.
One of the best feelings I had from the pedals were just how silky smooth it was to go through the axis. Regardless of whether you applied a slight tap or full deflection, the motion felt very natural and easy to do. This goes back to why I didn’t have to use the belt on my chair to keep me in place.
Whilst the motion was smooth, it would be nice to have a sense of customization to the build in order to cater to a variety of people. Although they are pretty ergonomic anyway, it would be great to be able to adjust the width between pedals or the positioning. We’re seeing it applied to a range of pedals these days and for the price they are, it would be nice to have that ability. With that being said, you can adjust the tension of the pedals to your liking. By default, they come at their most tense setting, which is perfectly suited to most situations. Like the missing screws I mentioned above, there is also a lack of Allen key to help you adjust the tension. Again, it’s a premium product so I expect all the tools to be included.
I think one thing that may surprise people is just how much tension there is when you need to apply pressure to the pedals. In the real-world when rolling down the runway at high speeds, there’s a lot of elements working against you. Whether that is the runway itself, the weather or weight and balance of the aircraft – either way, you need to refine your presence on the runway otherwise you’ll be skidding off the edge. Real-world pilots know that the amount of input on the rudder pedals can be quite substantial and often requires a lot of force. The Virtual-Fly Ruddo pedals really do simulate that feeling of having to apply force to get any deflection from the rudder. If you’re used to other pedals, there may be an assumption it’s too tough, but various pilots have commented on the Virtual-Fly ones saying they’re more accurate.
In the simulator, I had a great experience with them. The weighty feel to the pedal set combined with the hot knife through butter feeling of the actual motion itself, I felt very much in control of the aircraft at low and high speeds. With other pedals, it can be easy to over-hit on the deflection, but the Virtual-Fly Ruddo pedals needed such delicate and little input that it always felt natural. Battling crosswinds or just using the pedals to help my banking skills felt great regardless of which aircraft I was flying.
There’s a lot of things to love about the Virtual-Fly Ruddo Pedal set. There’s a lot of great technology and the build quality is one of the best. However, it does come at a price. Literally. Buying them will set you back 819 Euros plus shipping. They are the most expensive consumer pedals I have come across. Whilst the price is high, they deliver on the promise of providing a ‘unbreakable’ and ‘innovative’ pedal set. When it comes to overall value, it’s hard to really say, as it will depend on your use and level of simming. Cockpit builders looking for a highly realistic set with remarkable technology will really enjoy what’s on offer here. The use of the load cells in the toe brakes really helps to justify that cost. On the other hand, there are other products out there providing a great alternative in a much more cost-friendly bracket.
Rudder pedals are a highly sought-after commodity in the flight sim community. The Virtual-Fly Ruddo Pedals are a fantastic piece of kit with smooth controls and excellent build quality. They lack of imagination in their overall design and the price will put plenty of people off. If you’re a cockpit builder after an innovative product that will last you for years to come, regardless of use, then the Ruddo Pedals will be the choice for you. I believe for the more casual simmer, there are alternatives out there which may provide the right balance of cost versus quality.