The V2RINO TPM Throttle Quadrant from Virtual-Fly is one of their more recent releases. After a range of successful products that have provided simmers and professionals with high-quality hardware, it was time to explore creating the Vernier Style throttle quadrant. It is also the most expensive flight control in their entire product range. Virtual-Flight has created an impressive feature list, but does it justify the high cost?
Unpacking and setting up the device is really easy. Simply attach the clamp to the underside of the throttles and then attach to your desk. It takes just a matter of minutes with little need to make any real adjustments. The USB cable can be plugged into the back, and then the connection into your PC. It’s simply plug and play.
The full metal casing means that the set is quite heavy considering its compact size. The overall size of the product is as follows: 297mm (length), 189mm (width) and 56.5mm (height). As you can tell, it’s a compact little unit with a nice flat surface. The real advantage of the product being so small is that it will fit nicely on any type of desk, as well as slot nicely into various home-built cockpits.
With the technical specs out of the way, let’s talk about the V3RINO TPM. The unit itself looks clean and has a great overall finish to it. The casing is strong and stable, with a nice feeling coating the entire unit. The deep black colour means it will match a number of different flight panels as well as look pleasing on the eye on your desk at home. The levers themselves look just as impressive and feel nice and realistic. The shape, colour, and design of all 3 are of an incredibly high standard.
When it comes to using the three levers on the throttle quadrant, Virtual-Fly has made sure that these are as close to the real deal as possible. The black throttle lever has the option for the user to adjust the tension on the push/pull mechanism. This gives you great flexibility on the product. As for prop (blue) and mix (red), they function just as they do in the real aircraft. It’s not uncommon to either
- Accidentally knock either of these crucial levers when moving your hands, or;
- Accidentally assume it’s the throttle lever
As a result, a locking mechanism has been implemented in the real-world counterpart as a safety precaution. For a pilot to be able to move either the prop or mix lever, you first must push in the the silver lock and then you are able to push/pull to the desired position. This has been fully modelled with the V3RINO TPR set from Virtual-Fly.
If you thought that was attention to detail, you haven’t seen anything yet. Both the prop and the mix levers also have a feature which will allow you to really refine how much mixture you’re applying to the virtual aircraft. Instead of push/pull, you can also twist them. Twisting it one way will very slowly push the lever in to max. Twisting it the other way, you guessed it, pulls it back out. This gives you complete control just as you would find in the real aircraft. No more accidentally pulling out too much from the fuel mixture and causing your engine to become unfriend. Simply rotate the knob and you’ll be able to get it to an ‘nth’ degree.
Another impressive feature is the inclusion of hall effect sensors. These magnetic sensors ensure that regardless of how many times you pull, push, grab or slam on the controls, the inner mechanics won’t ever cause any spiking issues. So you could use the product today or months down the line and the axis will never show any signs of no longer being calibrated to your PC and sim. Virtual-Fly is so confident in the hall sensors that they are giving users a ‘lifetime commitment on durability’. This is also helped by the previously mentioned solid steel parts and aluminium casing.
If you’re running the V3RINO TPM through Prepar3D or FSX, you have 3 options to configure your new set-up. You can either do so through the regular control menu, through payware such as FSUIPC, or through Virtual-Fly’s own VFTest&Calibrate-S software. All three are easy to use and pair to your controller axis. I tested all 3 and I still feel FSUIPC was my favourite simply due to my experience with it and how I can adjust it on an aircraft-per-aircraft basis. There’s no real complexity to it as it’s just 3 axis all needing to be assigned to the correct function.
In the simulator, what you see is what you get. You push the throttle in, it reacts to your action. Whether you’re applying the push/pull technique or twisting the knobs for that slower change, the sim will adjust it fine. Sadly, there’s no way to tell the aircraft if the knob should twist or not, but you can see the fine adjustments being made.
When using it to fly, it was really nice to handle. Once I had adjusted the tension in the throttle lever, it was really cool to have such control over each of the three axis. When starting up the A2A Bonanza, it was a nice touch to have the ability to quickly change my prop mixture settings whilst flying, or to be able to react to any sudden changes to my airspeed by simply pushing the throttle in.
As you can tell, I found that there is a lot to love with the V3RINO TPM set. The style, build quality and how the levers function very precise. However, there is something I don’t love: the price. These things are expensive. Without shipping, they cost nearly 900 euros. That’s a lot of money for anyone to spend on any kind of product. What makes it more challenging for me to recommend is how limited you are in which aircraft you can use them with. There is a handful of great GA aircraft out there with the Vernier style throttles. However, once you’ve exhausted them, you can’t really use the throttle set anymore. On a technicality, you can, but from an immersion perspective (which is why we buy hardware), you won’t be able to control aircraft such as the B737, A320 or even aircraft such as the Q400 or fighter jets like the F-18.
As much as I loved the V3RINO TPM from Virtual-Fly, it’s really hard for me to justify the cost to anyone who isn’t building their own simulator or is looking to maintain some kind of proficiency in an aircraft they’re learning. They are built like a beast and have plenty of features to keep you satisfied for life, but they most certainly aren’t suited to the everyday simulator fan. It’s a great product that delivers on so much but is just priced too high.