Review: PFC Desktop Saab Yoke

Greetings everyone,

Here is my review of my new PFC Saab Desktop yoke.

There is a quite old (12 years now) review of this yoke on the Flightsim.com, (http://www.flightsim…iew/jetyoke.htm), but since this yoke provides a new redesign, I decided to make for you a detailed review, with some pictures and videos.

As I was deciding if to get one, I couldn’t find one decent video on the net, youtube or anywhere, giving a good impression of the smoothness of the yoke – a reason why probably most people contemplate if to get a PFC yoke.

I hope the videos I uploaded reflect exactly that and give an idea what this piece of hardware is capable of.

Also, I had to put some pictures as embedded, and some as part of the post, due to the limit of 10 photos per post.

Alright, let’s get going:

Unpacking:

The yoke arrived in a big box, very well sealed and packaged. It was packed in lots of soft styrofoam, firmly holding the yoke in the box. A+ for packaging.

With it, an USB cable, some documentation (no, I didn’t read it yet in detail, but basically the info you can find on the webpage).

Installation:

Nothing to it. Placed it on the table, connected USB cable, and went into the calibration window – all goes well.

Open FSX, open FSUIPC, check the ranges, all is well – assign axes… all smooth sailing.

First impressions:

There is a sentance on Flightsim.com that say “The butter-like smoothness is second to none.” – I can only confirm this. There is no stuttering at all. Nowhere. None. Zip. Nada.

We have to take into consideration that this is a desktop yoke, no a full stand yoke, thus having one system for both elevator and aileron.

Once I have felt this, every other yoke I owned (and I previously owned 3 Saitek yokes, hoping that the new series might be better) is going to fell into forgetableness.Let’s get into some details:

Cabinet:

The cabinet is made out of powder coated aluminum (source PFC). The quality of the cabinet is exceptional, feels very good and very smooth, no sharp edges or anything, yet very sturdy and stable. Made with extreme care, I’d say!

Some photos of the cabinet:

Additional photos:

The yoke:

The yoke itself is made out of cast heat treated and CNC machined aluminum (source PFC), which provides very sleek and very cosy feeling when holding the yoke. If I had my eyes binded, I’d say I was holding a real aircraft yoke. It’s greatly shaped, making for a really firm and natural hold, giving an easy access to all buttons and switches.

The Saab yoke comes with total of 12 button on the yoke, 4 buttons and 4 rocker switches. They are all normally assignable as buttons in the FSUIPC and are recognized accordingly.

According to PFC, these buttons are a commercial grade switches, making them highly durable. Pushing them is certainly something completely different than anything I’ve ever tried. They feel very strong and sturdy, like they were made to last a lifetime, which they probably won’t but nevertheless… it’s something to admire.

There is one year guarantee on the switches, so if they fail after that, you can obtain new ones from PFC, exchanging them isn’t too hard.

The stainless steel shaft is a shaft that is centerless ground with nickel plating and polishing to insure perfectly round shaft (source PFC). What I can tell you is that it looks absolutely astonishing, compared to some cheaper yokes.

The throttle knob, as unimportant as it is for most simmers, is still very nicely done and has a nice feeling to it. There is an important thing to mention here: there is a known issue of the yoke hitting the knob if the knob is pulled out fully – no way to change that. But as I said: most simmers usually have a TQ of some kind, especially with a cheap Saitek TQs available out there.

Let the photos speak for themselves:

Mechanism:

Ahh, my favorite part. I just love knowing what’s inside!

This time let’s start with a photo:

As you can see, compared to some other systems of those plastic yokes, this is something completely different.

The only thing a bit discouraging to me was the bungee rope system, but I can tell you one thing: it works great! I’ve never flown a real jet aircraft, and also no yoke aircraft. But I flew a Katana. I remember having my hands hurt after 2 hours of flight – that’s how hard to yoke was to move.

The bungee rope is a high quality military grade rope (source PFC). I’d take their word on this one, it really looks and feels great.

The PFC desktop yoke reminds me of this, being quite hard to move, especially when doing those turn-pulls, just like the real thing did!I bet that a column yoke is quite different in this matter, but in all honesty: you can’t have a desktop yoke perform like a column yoke! Too bad is I never had a chance to fly a Cessna for real to have an insight in how it is compared to the Katana.

In my usage of the PFC yoke, I came to realize that I’ll either need couple of more muscles or simply put both hands on the “wheel” when taking off or turning. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be done with one hand! Au contraire, you’ll notice in the video how smooth is actually to fly with one hand.

The mechanism consists out two ball bearings, front and back, holding the shaft precisely in place.

Both front and back bearings are Thomson Super12:http://www.drillspot…er_Ball_Bushing

These bearings are super smooth, giving absolutely no resistance (notice the small distance of the shaft from the bearing bushing, giving you the idea how precise these things are).

The “plastic” parts you can observe, also in the bearings and side-sliders are not plastic, but Delrin (http://en.wikipedia….olyoxymethylene): Delrin is FDA compliant, has good mechanical properties, excellent dimensional stability, is self lubricating and provides excellent wear and abrasion resistance (source PFC).

Thomson Super12 ball bearing:

I can’t tell you what’s in the middle, but whatever it is, it’s smooth (if I get an info from PFC on this, I’ll update).

My yoke came on the request to PFC with Hall Effect Sensors. The HE sensors are built into their more expensive system, while cheaper desktop yokes have potentiometers. I had a chance to try out both, there was no visible difference in the sim, but as you know, HE sensors last longer.

The good news though is: PFC offers an upgrade possibility ($125) to Hall Effect Sensors, even for their smaller yokes (can’t beat that!). Keep in mine also that a whole other system is needed for the HE sensor upgrade (the cog wheel you see on the right side of the mechanism is the part of the HE sensor upgrade).

Hall Effect Sensors:

Now, I was talking about the bungee rope the PFC introduced as opposed to springs. The bungee rope mechanism is virtually noiseless. The big achilles heel of many such yokes are noises coming from the mechanism. I can tell you (and you “hear” in in the videos) is that the yoke is not really noisy.

The small downside of this mechanism is quite low centering force of the yoke – when measured in the FSUIPC, the full range is +16384 to -16384, but the centering of the yoke is not perfect: it has a center where the rope has no effect, that is about +150 to -500.

Of course, this non-centering is also at the same time providing no detent, which many simmers love, including me.

This quirk is also putting the yoke a bit offset (OK, I’m nitpicking here, but neverthelss, worth mentioning!) on the right side. Could’ve been better centered.

From this photo it’s quite understandable why there is a high tension on the mechanism while in roll and pitch simultaneously.

Furthermore, the rails, that I already mentioned above, are made out of Delrin, are there for the stability of the mechanism, mostly for the pitch according to PFC, provide good sliding and no problems here:

Now that I finalized the mechanism review, one thing more worth mentioning before we move onto videos.

The yoke comes with no clamps or mechanism to keep it in place, and believe me one thing: it is going to move if you don’t fixate it onto a table somehow.

Now, PFC told me they experimented with different clamps, but could not come to the viable solution, which would work for all the yokes (I have no details here as to why), but the fact is, that you need something to keep it on the table.

PFC recommended velcro taping it to the table. I tried it, while it worked quite well, I didn’t like the velcro being on the my table while I wasn’t using my yoke, as I move it aside when not using it.

My solution, and a simple one at that: nanopads. (http://www.nano-pad.com/). Easily removable, very slip resistable, and washable after they get dusty. Price 2 pieces (cut them in half) around 15€ here. No biggie. Works great.

Nanopads:

Videos:

First video is a video in which I attempted to represent the smoothness of the yoke.

Please note that holding a camera in one hand and trying to represent the yoke with the other doesn’t do the job well, but I hope I managed to give you the idea of the perfect smoothness this yoke provides.

Now, if I might give a little of my opinion on the comparison to the Saitek Pro Flight yoke, which I also owned.

These movement that I’m showing in this video, were on a Saitek yoke very very stuttery. Especially at one part of the video I show how you can turn the yoke with one hand, and still do very small movements without the yoke twitching a little bit. That was the main reason why I wanted to have a full metal all ball bearing yoke, simply so that it doesn’t hang on any movement. Ever.

Link:

The second video, is a PMDG NGX takeoff from LOWW, in which I did the simplest setup possible to have a smooth takeoff. If you ever wonder, the cockpit movement effect is coming from EZCA.

You will notice how easy it was to hold the pitch while taking the first turn on the MOTIX departure.

Link:

Please don’t take my flying skills for serious yet, as I’ve been flying a stick for a 737 since I’ve know a word simulator. I already told myself I’ll need a long time till I’m completely at home with a steering with a yoke. Nevertheless, I think I did a quite well job :Nerd:
If I feel compelled, at some point when I master the LOWI approach with the NGX, I might post a video of that one, so stay tuned!

Dimensions:
Width: 36cmHeight (incl. Feet): 13,3cmDepth: about 31cm (the housing is a bit askew on the front)

Conclusion:

I give this yoke 97 points out of 100.

Cons:
– strong forces on the turn-pull (a matter of opinion probably)
– throttle knob quite useless (it broke off, lol, exactly as with the other review)
– a bit off center alignment, about 2mm on the right side (details in the review on the dead zone)

Pros:
– Price (taken quality into consideration)
– Build quality
– Smoothness
– Sturdiness
– Great feeling in hands
– Great PFC support
– Lifelong warranty on the mechanism
– Replaceable parts

The final question: is this yoke worth the money? Absolutely! Is it worth compared to those cheaper yoke: All the way.In all fairness, you can’t even compare this to any cheap plastic >$200 yoke. Cheap yokes are cheap, stuttery and unrealistic (but again: cheap). Good if you are looking for a shortterm fun.

From the product like PFC, you are gonna get many years of satisfaction on a high quality grade level. It’s a long term investment. Doesn’t matter if you are a casual or serious simmer. The fact is: PFC yoke delivers.

Official website:

http://www.flypfc.com/

European Dealer:
Simtech Design Online Store (Spain, they deliver to whole Europe)

I can only say from my experience with both Simtechdesign (Dutifristore) and PFC, these guys are what you would call an example support. Excellent communication and great help.

I will not hide that my first yoke was broken and I had to send it back, but the replacement yoke was sent by PFC swiftly, which you saw in this review. According to PFC, something must have gone terribly wrong with the delivery or transport, since it wasn’t as nearly as smooth as this one.

Guys and gals, hope you had fun, if you have any questions, just shoot!

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96 Responses to Review: PFC Desktop Saab Yoke

  1. Gil Aguilar says:

    Interesting and helpful review. Your website is excellent. Some comments and questions. First, the bungee is a great idea but the geometry here is not optimal. There’s no mechanical advantage at the attachment point and that is what is causing the offset and I would also guess a deadband around center. I have used a bungee for years in my yoke (my own design) and have no offset and no deadband but excellent centering with no detents. I tried to match the sping load in cruise flight by measuring the actual load on a similar aircraft in flight. You can also easily correct for sin/cos loading with the bungee. Fairly easy to do.

    The quality of the PFC gear looks great. My questions:

    1. Is the offset a function if you are rolling to the right or left? Meaning, do you notice if the offset changes depending on your turn direction and then release the yoke at center?

    2. What is the pitch range? Meaning, the distance (in inches or cm) from full aft to full forward.

    3. Is the roll force linear from centered to full deflection?

    It looks like a nice piece of hardware and I’d like to buy one and modify it.

    • DoubleJ says:

      Hi Kosta.
      I’m thinking of upgrading from my Saitek and I’m in the process of building a flight station/desk. You have the depth at 31cm, does that include the rod and controls or just the box? I see that this think is about 17lbs heavier than the Saitek as well lol..something to account for.

      • Kosta says:

        31cm is of course the box only.
        It is pretty heavy, but as you noticed, I suggest anti-slip pads.

  2. Kosta says:

    Gil,
    Thanks for your insights. I have no deadband around center, and I also have no offset any more (got a replacement rope). The centering is excellent also with no detents.

    1. Well, would like to answer – but I don’t really understand. I have no offset, the thing rolls left right center without any problems.

    2. Full motion is about 7cm back-forward

    3. Unfortunately not – only thing that bothers me. It gets harder the more you deflect, especially if you push more into the elevator. Going full forward and left for instance needs quite a muscle-use.

    I thought of modifying, but never could come up with any idea how. I had couple… we should talk 🙂

  3. Gil Aguilar says:

    Hi Kosta,

    Offset, for me, is the amount of angular displacement of the yoke when the roll rate is zero. Meaning, wings level, no rate of roll, but the yoke is slightly tilted one way or the other – it is offset from center. Deadband, for me, is where around centered, a slight deflection, a few degrees, of the ailerons is not restored or recentered by the bungee (or springs).

    I have flown many real general aviation airplanes (I am a flight instructor) from Cessnas to Lear Jets and the controls are not heavy. However, in the Full Flight Level D simulators (I worked for McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing) I have flown (MD-11, MD-90, MD-90EFD, B-717, and MD-80) the controls “can” get quite heavy but in general flight are pretty easy to handle. If you have a fish-scale, you can easily measure the force required to deflect your yoke and plot the forces as a function of displacement. It should be just a few pounds. Now, in real airplanes there is something called stick force per G, which a control loader can replicate for our sims.

    I have been working on solving the problems of flight controls on PC-based sims for many years. I think what I have is fairly faithful to a real airplane; however, I have thrown away more designs than I care to remember…it’s hard. PFC looks to make some nice hardware. I had exactly the mechanical arrangement you have in your pictures a few years ago but was not satisfied with “offset” and “deadband”. It could be that PFC’s beautiful bearings and polished shafts reduce the friction to a level that much mechanical advantage is not needed at the spring attach point. That would make sense.

    I know we “simmers” get wrapped up in visuals and realism but the available flight controls are still too primitive and don’t seem to fly “real”. This is what I want to solve. I found that in testing the bungees, that there was a trade off between restoring force (centering) and pressures required to deflect the control. While heavy bungees were great for keeping things centered they also make flying difficult because the pressures required. The geometry that I discoverd (by a fluke, I just was trying dozens of configurations….aka…shotgun engineering) solved this problem. Now I have a nice balance between restoring force and required “flight like” pressures. I will buy a PFC and try to modify it and see if my configuration will work. I will share with you what I find out at that time.

    You’re P3D work is brilliant. I am in amazement that you seem to have found the secret with P3D. Feel free to email me.

    Take care,

    Gil

  4. Kosta says:

    Gil,
    Maybe I’m just not that precise, but there is maaaaaaaaybe 1-2mm of movement, and that is already a lot, where the yoke doesn’t react in P3D/FSX (FSUIPC) and there is no deadband. Or better said, if there is any deadband, offset isn’t picking it up. In other words, it’s VERY precise, especially with the hall sensors, smallest movement is picked up by FSUIPC and there is this 1-2mm which I can move the yoke and it doesn’t move back. Anything a bit more, and it jumps back.

    I am pretty sure that the movement of this yoke is too hard when it comes to full deflection, compared to GA yokes. But, I also can’t really say, as I never tested it. I would like to know your opinion though! I flew Katana, and I remember the yoke being very stiff and hard to move when flying. The faster we went, the harder it became.

    In any case, I am quite happy with the yoke, it beats hands down all those plastic yokes and is really really great feeling to hold!

    Best
    Kosta

  5. Gil Aguilar says:

    I agree. The yoke looks great. I have thrown away all my plastic yokes.

    Also, true, the faster you go the areodynamic loading will increase , which will require more control pressure. I just have never tried a PFC, so I am interested in the pressure requirements. The hall effects sound great too because you will not have the slack in the mechanical linage especially if it’s a slider pot. Great review, I am going to order A PFC yoke tomorrow. If it has no deadband or offsets, I really want one now!

  6. Gil Aguilar says:

    Kosta,

    One more thing that wold be great to know is what is the distance (inches or cm) from the bottom of the “box” to the centerline of the yoke shaft? This vertical dimension is important to me as I have to cut out a hole in my panel and this vertical dimension tells me how far “up” the hole would be from the bottom.
    Thanks again! Take care, Gil

  7. Kosta says:

    The distance from the table to the middle of the shaft is 6,5cm. This is inculduing yoke feet.

    I hope you’ll be as happy with the yoke as I am!

  8. Steve Giblin says:

    I recently purchased the Beechcraft version of the PFC yoke. It totally changed my FSX experience. Following the PMDG NGX flight director is a breeze (sometimes I forget to engage the autopilot). Mine also has the Hall sensors and is super precise, simply a pleasure to use. I also bought the throttle console which I would also highly recommend. The throttles are just as precise as the yokes. Extremely subtle power changes are possible. The many different available throttle configurations are pretty cool too. I bought the piston twin setup with the TOGA switch on the throttle lever.

    • Kosta says:

      Indeed. The precision of the yoke is second to none, flying that FD or even the NGX HGS is a breeze, and landings have become way smoother than before. It is a learning process though, coming from the joystick!

      • Steve Giblin says:

        I was using the Hotas Cougar for years…not even close…

      • Arthur says:

        “I was using the Hotas Cougar for years…not even close…”

        please consider an FCC3 mod 😉

  9. Floyd Stolle says:

    Being a Tool Maker by trade and having the pleasure of running a hightech fab shop & tool shop. All I can say is that mechanicaly that is one sweet yoke.

  10. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    Hello Kosta !
    Xlt review.
    My Saiteks start to show some signs of aging , & I’m considering to retire it & upscale my Yoke, I see the buttons on the PFC, I was wondering if one of them can be used as a Hat Pan button like the designated one on the Saitek yoke ?

    Appreciate your response.

    Yair

    Irvine CA

    • Kosta says:

      Hi Yair,
      No, the yoke has no hat switch, it has buttons and rocker switches. You could configure the two rocker switches to act as a hat, but imo it would be more confusing than useful.

  11. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    … hummmm … I’ll need to figure out how to compensate for the lose of the Hat … for me it’s one of the most useful features

    Anyway, Kosta tnx for your help

    Yair

    • Kosta says:

      I know how you feel about the hat, but in the part about my setup, I explain how my views are configured. I replaced the hat with the Logitech G13, which can do so much more in the combo with EZCA.

  12. KConlon says:

    I just ordered the PFC Mooney, excited to try it out. Like Yair I am not sure how I’ll function without a hat. I have the G15 with 18 macro keys so I’ll give that one a shot, if not the G13 looks like a pretty good solution for fixed views though. I usually use EZCA but I am experimenting with OpusFSX (love the wx engine) so maybe this will be the kick in the pants to get more familiar with it when used with TrackIR.

    You should be working on commission for PFC; your post is why I ordered.
    I am sure my wife thanks you 🙂

    Kevin

    • Kosta says:

      Hey Kconlon,

      Glad to hear that. Be sure to report how you like it!
      I hear you about the hat, but seriously, I go so used to button V in my config and the mouse, that I don’t miss the hat even slightest bit! Moreover, I find it more real this way.

      I’ll send PFC this comment 😉

      Best
      Kosta

  13. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    … there is New kid coming to town, GoFlight Yoke, GoFlight is currently on a final test phase, Credit Card is back to the wallet, PC Yoke is on hold …:-)

  14. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    ..trying to eliminate mouse & keyboard, the less the better, I’m a GA guy, so, those fancy trays with Laptops & this little Joystick on the side that controllers the big birds, are still very futuristic for me …. panning is mostly used to cover the luck of peripheral view (42″ Plasma TV) …. I sent Santa my wish list, 3Projectors 225Deg setup, waiting for his response …lol

    • Kosta says:

      Hahaha, well, I hope your wishlist comes through, 3 FullHD Projectors, full sized 737 cockpit…mmmmm….. *dream* 😉

  15. Joe says:

    this yoke looks brilliant but its not too cheap, like you said…looks like we can have fun with it

  16. Antonio CL says:

    Surfing the web, I have been looking for a review of the GoFlight pro yoke systems and no results were found. Some review at this regard? It would be interesting a comparison to know how both PFC and GoFlight yoke performs.
    A final notice. I have contacted with SimtechDesign, Spain (authorized dealers and technical support of PFC in Europe) and they tell me are going to open the on-line store both in English and Spanish in the coming weeks.
    Regards,

    • Kosta says:

      Hi Antonio,
      To my knowledge, there is none.
      GoFlight sent me the hardware for the reviews (MCP, EFIS), but they didn’t inquire about the yoke. Noone did a review as to now, not to my knowledge…
      And yes, I know about Simtechdesign, going to be changing the link in my review as soon as get home from vacation.

  17. Jackal says:

    The internal construction of the GoFlight yoke is not nearly as nice as the PFC yoke. The GF yoke is mostly sheet metal, NOT machined aluminum like the PFC.

    • Kosta says:

      Hi,
      Really?? Judging by the price, one would think the GF yoke must be MUCH higher build and movement quality than the PFC one.
      Is the sheet metal on the yoke itself or the inside of the yoke?
      The PFC is extremely sturdy, and basically indestructible, but I would love to take a look at the GF yoke and some inside pictures…

      • Jackal says:

        Bent sheet metal components on the inside. Where can I send pics?

    • Antonio CL says:

      A “sheet metal” yoke can cost about 750$? At present, I am making a buying decision regarding both a quadrant and a yoke.

      No reviews on the web as well as a lack of manufacturer’ specifications (e.g. physical dimensions and weight) force me to be cautious with GF. The cheapest PFC yokes range from 620$ (Beech, Mooney: 6 switches) to 720$ (Saab: 12 switches). Additionally, you also can choose Hall sensors increasing price about +150$. Anybody knows whether GF yoke has potentiometers or hall sensors?

      Honestly, taking the above considerations the only advantage I see favorable to the GF is the presence of a hat and a mouse joystick on the yoke.

      • Jackal says:

        It’s kind of hard to tell from the pictures, but I’m assuming they are pots. Just because of the price. It might be hard not having the hat switch, but I’m all about the internal construction. I’ll be getting the one with the hall sensors, so for that kind of money I want this thing to be around for my kid’s kids.

      • Kosta says:

        If internal construction is what you are after, then the PFC is the clear choice.
        PFC is very likely to last at least two generations I reckon.

      • Kosta says:

        Judging by the internal photo of the GF yoke, no – potentiometers, and not even pots but a slider for the vertical axis.
        The hat and mouse joystick – blah… Do you see it on the real aircraft?
        I have learned to live without it, and tell you honestly, it is rewarding actually. Having a G13 pad for the views, the mouse for clicking, I am way faster than any videos on the PMDG 777 forum I have seen, where people virtually move with the mouse and then click. I have predefined views, just like 2D panels and I call them with a single keystroke (EZCA needed). Try it…

  18. KConlon says:

    I was facing the same choices and opted for the PFC Baron yoke (I was using a Saitek yoke). The thing I miss the most is the hat and I am still struggling without it.

    Kevin

    • Kosta says:

      Read what I wrote as a reply to Antonio… I will never miss the hat again (and yes, I have it on my joystick still, but never use it).

      • Antonio CL says:

        Well, I think the use of a hat/joystick on a yoke is a matter of personal preferences.
        On the other hand, it seems to me that you’ re talking about some internal pictures of the GF yoke. Please, could you insert some link to view the internal hardware of that yoke? Thanks.

      • Kosta says:

        Indeed it is, however I thought I will miss it, and I really missed it when I switched! And it took me a lot of time to adapt to having none, but I forced myself to find another ways, and indeed, these ways are way better than a hat, I can say that from a perspective when knowing both!

        About the picture: it didn’t originate from my own computer, so sorry, I am afraid not. But if Jackal wants to upload it publicly, he is most welcome to. I will send him an email.

  19. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    I’m still waiting for some GF Product review, which, surprisingly, no one took the initiative and did such a thing ,I think that as long as we do not have Product review and compression between the 2 Yokes, many will stay put before pulling the plastic …. the Hat & the Mouse on the GF seems like a great features , & the Yoke looks very impressing. Maybe Kosta can ask GF for one unite to run the tests & come out with Product review.

    Yair

  20. DoubleJ says:

    Hi Kosta.
    I’m thinking of upgrading from my Saitek and I’m in the process of building a flight station/desk. You have the depth at 31cm, does that include the rod and controls or just the box? I see that this think is about 17lbs heavier than the Saitek as well lol..something to account for.

    sorry for the double post..

  21. Jerry Newby says:

    Hi Kosta,
    I’m was really impressed with your review of the PFC yoke and found the comments to be very informative. I was lucky to pickup a used usb PFC yoke that needed some repair and at a very good price. Being a retired electronic tech, the repairs turned to be a simple open circuit in the ribbon cable and reattaching the loose LH push button with some clear Marine grade silicon RTV to hold in place as one of the retaining tabs was broken off.

    I see the new PFC yoke is advertised as a “Cirrus II”, my unit is just labeled “Cirrus”. Internally it is far different that the pictures in your review. The shaft appears to be of the same high quality stainless steel riding in precision shaft bearings. The pots are sliders and the tensions are controlled by springs. But, it is built like a “tank” and it works wonderful, the feel is just incredible… unlike any joystick, yoke or input controller I ever used before.

    I just got the new A2A Cessna 172 Trainer for FSX and with this yoke, the realism is fantastic, about as close to flying Cessna 172’s IRL as I remember from years past.

    In closing, let me just say if the older PFC yoke is any indication of what to expect from PFC, then the newer units should be superb.

    Regards,

    Jerry

    • Kosta says:

      Of course, the earlier designs were with springs, which caused way more noise and less tension I believe? Not sure though, only from what I heard.
      The newer editions have a bungee and hall sensors (optional).
      Well, glad you are happy with it!

  22. Arndt Laube says:

    Hi Kosta,
    I tried to integrate my PFC Beech Yoke into a homecockpit. Therefore I had to disjoin the control column cable from the conductor board, to disjoin the throttle unit cables from the conductor board and to remove the control column out of the casing. After incorporating the control column into the casing again, windows 7 was unable to recognize the yoke. A reason for this problem could be, that there is a problem with the connection from the throttle unit cables to the conductor board.
    A question: Would it be possible to send me photos in order to check, whether my wiring is correct? For this purpose I would need a photo of the wiring at the conductor board and a photo of the wiring of the throttle unit.
    I really would apprepiate your help, as PFC didn’t answer on my request.
    Kind regards
    Arndt

    • Kosta says:

      Arndt, I was planing on doing some cleaning and maintenance soon on my yoke. Not sure when it’s going to happen, probably sometime due next week or weekend.
      I’ll see that I make some photos for you while doing that.

  23. Arndt Laube says:

    Hi Kosta,
    great, that you are available to support me. Thank you in advance!
    Regards
    Arndt

  24. Dinyor Antonia says:

    Hi Kosta,
    First of all thanks for your guides, tips and also reviews.
    Owner of the Saitek yoke, tried so many mods on it and I think it’s time for something more rewarding.
    After more than 1 year would you still recommend this yoke?
    I’m looking forward to buy the Beech or Saab one next year.

    Regards,

    Dinyor

    • Kosta says:

      After one year, I can only express my highest satisfaction with the yoke. Same as it was on day one. It needs some lubrication and cleaning now, I can feel that, but that is a work of half an hour, just lazy to do it 😉
      Highly recommended!

  25. I just received my new Saab yoke with Hall Effect. Bought partially due to your review, it is unbelievable in all aspects. Look, feel, action – all fantastic. If you want a pro yoke, don’t settle for anything less. I’ve been simming for 25+ years, have had all the hardware, this yoke can’t be beat. It’s even great for WWI or II combat! (Still use my HOTAS Cougar Evenstrain for jets)

  26. I’d like to add that the bent wire holding the bungee has been replaced with a two-piece solid aluminum block held down with two screws. This makes it much more precise at centering.

  27. Also, the throttle slider has been moved to the bottom plate, and the knob is very secure.

  28. Roberto says:

    Hello guys,
    My name is Roberto and I live in Rome, and I am PFC customer since 2003, always extremely happy during these years.
    I would like to bring to your attention the great professionalism and availability of PFC european dealer SimTechDesign in the person of Mr. Xavi Colomina. In my recent purchase of a new set of Boeing jet Yoke with Hall Effect and Cirrus Jet style rudder. The care taken by Mr. Xavi towards me during the practices surrounding the purchase has far exceeded all expectations.
    I would like to express my sincere thanks to Xavi and report with great satisfaction the Simtechdesign and PFC for the quality of products and after sales service offered.
    Finally, I would like to thank Kosta for valuable suggestions offered.
    My best regards
    Roberto

  29. Fred says:

    Great review – considering either the Saab or the Mooney yoke – $100 difference between the two. The Mooney looks like it would clear the throttle better than the Saab – may use it from time to time, while the Saab has twice the buttons. Do you know of any other difference between the two? What made you decide to go for the Saab model?

  30. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    ..PFC is probably great product, however, long term simmers should start considering the “New Baby “Force feedback Yoke” by IRIS Dynamics Ltd.
    Force feedback devices along with new real world like GPS apparatuses, are the Next Thing in our evolving hobby

    Cheers

    Yair

    • Kosta says:

      Yair,
      I agree, the Iris Dynamics Yoke is great, been following it for a while now, however note that it is the 2x the price. It was $800 till couple of months ago, when they pushed the price up to $1500.

      • Jim says:

        Agreed as well. If I had of had the foresight to jump in at $800, it would have been worth it – but at almost 2x that now – bit too rich for me.

        Not sure if it is released, but VR Insight has a new version of their yoke with a nice array of switches, including a hat/pov ( http://www.vrinsightshop.com/shop/step1.php?number=54 )

        Sure the quality would be lower than PFC – but the price seems to reflect that. Be interesting to see some reviews.

        Jim

  31. Yair Ben-Ad says:

    ….. I’ think that Force Feedback is the next step in evolution, hopefully more developer will follow Iris Dynamic and we will see more Force Feedback instrument coming
    .. $800 for high end Force Feedback it’s something that many of us will consider, but bumping the price to $1,500 and for Pilot first generation product, I think it’s a bit to much

    It would be nice to get some review on Iris Yoke as well as on GF and VrInsight , putting them all next to PFC , should be interesting
    Cheers
    Yair

    • Kosta says:

      Yair,
      I’m completely with you, FF IS the next step, but the price is just way too high. They called it “Affordable Force Feedback Flight Sim Control Yoke” (Kickstarter name). There is nothing affordable about it now any more. $800: yes. That I would consider affordable.

  32. Shea says:

    Hi Kosta,

    I plan on buying a new PFC yoke very soon. I’m considering between the 737 and Saab…The issue that I have is why there is a $300 between the two. Should I just get the Saab yoke, considering the 737 yoke is $1,020 and the Saab is $720? Just wondering if you know of any substantial difference between the two! Thanks for the great review!

    • Kosta says:

      Shea,
      My only guess is that 737 is a replica of a real 737 yoke. Either production or licensing costs. I doubt though that the system in the yoke is different, the 737 might be equipped with HE sensors by default, I don’t know. Best ask PFC.
      I got the Saab yoke because it was in my budget and it had enough buttons for me.

      • Daniel Engelrelst says:

        Hi Kosta ,

        Thanks for your excellent review which make me decide to go for a Cirrus PFC yoke instead than for the Go Flight 737 yoke .As I was hesitating between the Cirrus Saab and the B737 Yoke I asked SimtechDesign in Spain if the system in the yokes was different. I got following answer from them :

        Thank you for contacting us. The yoke mechanism is exactly the same for all the yoke types, the only difference is the external yoke looks. So the only difference is the yoke handle itself, being either Boeing style or Saab style. If you need to use a lot of programmed switches I would recommend the Saab as you get 12 addressable switches, while the Boeing only has 5, and one is already used only for trim usually. On the other hand if it is of major importance the “looks” for having a Boeing yoke, then you loose functionality over design (it is an impressive replica of the real Boeing, but at a price…!).

        So I guess I will go for the Saab Style….
        Best Regards.
        Dan..

      • Kosta says:

        Daniel,
        Is probably the best idea. The knobs play IMO a higher role than a genuinely-looking 737 yoke.

  33. Erich Berner says:

    Hi Kosta

    Now that you have had your yoke for some time, have you found any slackness occurring as a result of the bungee cord usage? Is it becoming less effective or have you had to replace it since you got the yoke?

    My Beech yoke should be delivered this week.

    Erich

    • Kosta says:

      Hi Erich,
      Nope, no change on the yoke performance and nothing needed exchanging. I’ll be doing a cleaning and oiling soon, as it certainly needs that, but apart from that, no problems.

  34. Erich Berner says:

    I recieved my Beech Yoke yeterday and love it. It feels really tight compared to the Saitek gear but overall very smooth. Also feels more realistic for larger aircraft.

  35. samaritan0 says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for the review. I ended up acquiring a second hand Beech yoke and was wondering if you know what size are the 4 threaded holes on the bottom of the unit? I need to mount my yoke to a desk and wanted to ask if you had that information. Thanks

  36. Avantime says:

    Which lubricant are you using to lubricate the shaft? Silicon spray/Silicon Grease/Teflon Spray/Lanolin? I just got a 2nd hand PFC yoke and it’s quite ‘sticky’ to the point where I need both hands to fly.

    • Kosta says:

      I can tell you that I used some grease spray first to clean it, and bring everything into movement. And then something that looks like lanolin, but it says only ball bearing grease on the box. Additionally I think I used some machine oil on the shaft. And also made an effort to tune the various screws. But more importantly you should have two ball bearings for the shaft. Front and back. If you don’t, contact PFC so they send you a rear one.

      • Avantime says:

        Yes there seems to be 2 ball bearings for the shaft (see pics below). The stickiness is only in the pitch axis i.e. the movement of the shaft, the roll axis is perfectly smooth. I tried some “Dupont Teflon Silicone lubricant” as it seems to be quite popular with the Saitek users (The Saitek yoke also has a metal shaft), but the shaft is still quite sticky.

        The yoke is pretty interesting, It’s a 737 yoke but it’s an FO yoke with the trim switch on the other side. And unlike the 737 yokes on the PFC website this yoke uses pots, rather than hall effect sensors as standard. Well at least it’s in USB. I’ll probably buy a few extra pots from RS Online, just in case they go out of production.

        Pics:

      • Kosta says:

        Avantime,
        Yes, the pitch axis has a tend to stick, more than the turn axis. This is of course normal when you think how the yoke is built. And it will most probably never be any better.
        As I said, a bit of tweaking can go a long way, I think I even set up a side-slider of the yoke a bit.
        The point being, if you can set it up so that no ball bearing presses too much down, you will get a good action. Also the fat on the shaft must not be some old fat, but a fresh one.

  37. speedmarque says:

    Also one more thing for prospective buyers: The PFC yoke has 4 rubber feet, but like Kostas said the yoke will shift if it’s not clamped. However you can find those “nano-pads” much cheaper, about $1 each on AliExpress (search “Anti Slip sticky mat”) or ~$2 at your local dollar store (tip: use scissors and cut them down to size). I got a glossy table and the sticky mats are fantastic. These mats are an absolute must if you don’t plan on using additional clamps or tie down straps.

    • Kosta says:

      Yes, these pads are great for me. However I do hate removing them from my table each time I remove the yoke, but I don’t see any other option, as I like my working space for both gaming/work and flight-simming.

      • speedmarque says:

        I don’t remove the mats, I just put a towel over it. The towel doesn’t stick to the mats and it keeps the dust away.

    • speedmarque says:

      Reupload:

  38. Sounds like your bungee cords are too tight. You should be able to make an approach and landing with one hand without moving the yoke.

    • speedmarque says:

      The stickiness I mentioned is the unreasonable initial force needed to get the yoke to “unstick” itself, once you get the yoke moving the movement becomes get smoother. The initial force needed will cause the base to shift, hence the need for the sticky mats if you have a slippery, glossy table. This is why I think it’s a lubrication issue and not a bungee cord issue, as the FS forums are full of threads talking about sticky Saitek yokes.

      However even with lubrication there is still uneven resistance when pulling and pushing the yoke, as the shaft ‘semi-sticks’ during travel – the movement must be buttery smooth (it is on the roll axis, but not the pitch axis) in order to create confidence for one-handed operation. My old CH yoke is much better as it has enough play that I can throw it around one handed.

      This is not the first time I have to deal with yoke like this. For example a Beech Duchess I flew have a very stiff yoke, and the landing technique is to cut power slightly early when crossing the threshold, and flare with both hands tightly gripped on the yoke. This shouldn’t happen on a 737 yoke.

      • Kosta says:

        It is quite impossible to judge what is going on, without looking at the mechanism myself. My yoke came from PFC quite good, and I just enthusiastically tried to make it even better. With good results.
        I only had bad results without rear ball bearing.

        However, it was mentioned that the yoke should stay on the table without any additional support, if the pitch axis is pushed and pulled completely. Not possible. Not even near. The yoke feels good to me, and weaker bungee would just break it… It needs pitch recentering.
        In any case, if you have a fixed seat, as it should be, using a PFC yoke and pedals like MFG, you quite fast notice that with good hardware, the feeling is like in the plane, where you also do have to use your muscles, sometimes…

  39. Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.|

  40. Hi Kostas. I’m thinking of upgrading to a higher quality yoke / throttle quadrant than my existing Saitek. Your review of the Cirrus is interesting but the links to your videos are broken. Have you removed them? Also, you didn’t mention separate throttle quadrants. I would want a 4 engine jet one. How do they connect to the yoke? or don’t they?

    • Kosta says:

      Hi Ray,
      Honestly, I didn’t touch the blog for a long time. The videos are/were on youtube, and no, I didn’t remove them – in fact, they are still on youtube as I checked now.




      TQ is a completely separate module, nothing to do with the yoke. You always need to buy separate modules for the TQ itself, adapting it to whatever configuration you want.

      • Hi Kosta, Thanks for your reply. But on each of those links I just see ‘this video is unavailable’. I even copied the url and pasted into YouTube but got the same result.

        Yes, after reading a bit more I discovered you need a throttle quadrant console and then you plug your chosen quadrant into that. Hope you can help with the links. I tried searching on YT for Kosta and still found nothing. What’s your username?

  41. Kosta says:

    Ray,
    Should work now – not sure why videos were set on “Private”, must have been by mistake.
    That’s what I meant – the TQ is not the handle, but the device itself. You just buy handles, if you will. I think it’s Kosta S or something… really a long time I touched anything, since family and all other stuff took over, but I left it online for others. I also try to answer here and there, since I get email notifications…

    • Yes, I can see them now, thanks. Understood regarding the throttles. The European importer is now based in Norfolk, England. http://www.flight-simulators.co.uk/

      • Kosta says:

        £1500 for the Saab Yoke? Wtf? At the time of my purchase, I believe it was around €700-800 from Spain. And USA imported not much more.

      • The Pound is a lot weaker against both the Euro and Dollar. That may explain some of the increase. But I will check with PFC what the price would be for shipment from the US. That importer’s prices are high as he’s charging £150 for a Saitek Throttle quadrant. WTF as you say!

  42. The only change from yours might be the potentiometer is now a Hall Effect as standard. It would have been another $150 when you bought it.

    • Kosta says:

      Mine also has HE sensors.

      • I expect you paid extra for them did you? Anyway, I just checked the PFC site and it’s $1095 now. You have to add VAT to that and import duty and shipping. That’s why the price at £1500 seems high but it’s about right once you take all the taxes into account.

      • Kosta says:

        Wow, the price certainly went up. Indeed when you put everything together, the price starts to look more real.

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