View Full Version : Rudder Pedals vs. Twist Stick; Review...

07-18-2007, 05:26 AM
Back in early June I was at Biggin Hill Airshow and spotting a tent full of flightsim gear I let my enthusiasm get the better of me and shelled out £90 for a set of Saitek Ruder pedals (i know, I know, probably could have got then cheaper online but it was a 'they're right in front of me moment').

Having spent the best part of 7 years flying twist stick I knew the conversion process was going to be a bit rough, and so it was! My gunnery went tp pot, my takeoffs were bloody dangerous and it felt like I was learning to fly all over again! Funny, considering most people spend $$$$ on gaming peripherals to make themselves better at a game, I just blew £90 to make myself worse! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

Anyhoo, six weeks later and here I am... gunnery is better, tho still not quite what it was, takeoffs are, if not a breeze, then at least consistently safe and I feel as if I vaguely have got the swing of things (pardon the pun).

I have noticed several factors which have changed decidedly the style of and approach to flying that are inherent to the characteristics of each type of rudder control, and am humbly offering my opinions to those who are considering the change:

‚óŹ Movement arms: there's no doubt, you just cant apply full deflection rudder with pedals as quickly as twist grip - I remember the short sharp jabs left and right I could give the twist stick to rescue a wonky takeoff, or push the gunsight over hard for a snap shot: alas these are no more; smooth application is the rule and with plenty of thought beforehand.

‚óŹ Control separation: no doubt that twist stick rudder inputs often 'spill' over into pitch or roll axes. Thanks purely to the physical act of twisting the stick, you often affect your pitch and roll inputs. Not so with rudder pedals.

‚óŹ Authenticity: having flown lots of light aerobatic a/c and solo'd a powered glider with the RAF cadets in my teenage years, it really took me back to juggling the rudder on takeoff whilst using the rudder pedals and feels that much more authentic as a result. As an aid to realism they cant be beat IMHO.

‚óŹ Centring position: With the constantly changing trim situations of prop fighter combat, I'm finding that I'm sitting with 'one-foot' heavy on the rudder and getting a 'phantom' centre from it; that is, I think the rudder is neutrally centred when in fact I actually am applying gentle pressure without realising. In fact even with the tension dialled in fully, return to centre is never quite the definitive thing it is with twist stick, thanks to your leg weight being applied generally at all times. Linked to this is a lack of force feedback, but then neither twist stick or pedals can do that... maybe in the future?

‚óŹ Ergonomics: No doubt you all ready have your joystick setup and twist grip is all part and parcel so no need to start moving furniture around. With rudder pedals, you are gonna need space; I find I am now a good 18 inches (46cm) further back from the screen, and have had to place the joystick on a box that sits betwen my legs (mind you it feels more natural and the stick is at a far more realistic height and position). Also with my setup I have to adopt a feet up attitude posture to allow my knees to clear the keyboard tray as my workstation has its own floor which was the only place the pedals could go, and this raises the pedals height. This is a significant posture change, which given that i have a ropey back from a rock climbing tumble, things get a little tight in the lower lumber after a couple of hours - tho this is probably more to do with my frailty and the limitations of my setup. Nevertheless, it is something to bear in mind when assesing the suitability of your environment. Will they fit, and be comfortable? And I know some of you duffers are a darn sight more creaky than even me, so make sure you're able to use them comfotably and safely! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

‚óŹ Chair solidity!: Sounds odd, but it was a shock discovering that a castoring office chair on a rug on laminate flooring meant my leg movements were throwing me around the the room more than the pedals! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif As a result I now have to adapt all sorts of old boots, dirty washing and general **** to wedge around and under the damn thing to stop it moving! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif Not Ideal! Wheel locks, or a straight leg chairs a must!

Overall, I love my pedals and I'll never go back... the realism factor for me is the highlight despite my trials and more than compensates for the niggles and its been a blast if also somewhat frustrating, and I still have another 5 years to catch up with my twist stick experiences, but I am patient and I know it'll come eventually.

In the meantime, a hint for those who want to practise to get better... go to any airfield and start doing immelmans along the runway axis at low altitude; I found this exercise really helped me in planning rudder inputs and getting used to the gyroscopic effects and the resultant rudder inpouts needed to correct for them.

Hope this is useful to some of you!

07-18-2007, 07:23 AM
Pedals are muuucccchhhh nicer. The game seems to come alive when it 'recognises' that pedals are connected. Suddenly stick/rudder co-ordination is very important. The best thing about pedals is that you can take your plane just 'beyond the edge' and hold it there with the pedals. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

One does need a solid, immovable seat otherwise you will be pushing yourself through the back wall http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif


07-18-2007, 07:32 AM
Tom, is one leg a bit shorter than the other now?

07-18-2007, 07:56 AM
no contest really. Pedals just add so much more to the experience.

07-18-2007, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by MrMojok:
Tom, is one leg a bit shorter than the other now?

No you mention it, it does seem like I've been walking in large circles recently... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

One thing I would add is that considering how much more work goes into flying with pedals, and how much it changes how you think-to-fly that anyone making observations on aircraft handling characteristics in this game ought to be flying with pedals before they even think about making comparisons to its real life counterparts.

The point is I wanted to, as best I could provide a somewhat objective look at the pros and cons of rudder pedals, so that anyone on the cusp of buying a set can decide if they're eqipped financially, ergonomically and motivationally - cos you will get bad at the game again!

07-18-2007, 08:27 AM
ive got a twist stick and am thinking of getting pedals for the extra realism and your post has been most informative.

Sorry to hear about your rock climbing accident. I'm also a climber, Do you post on UKclimbing.com at all?

07-18-2007, 08:31 AM
cos you will get bad at the game again!
Could you please avoid generalizing?

Excellent analysis above, where it can be seen that you had 7 years of practice with twist-stick and your got worse with pedals compared to THAT. Ha!

But I had only half year experience with a very crappy twist stick when switched to pedals, and in fact, I got much better with them.

So let get is clear:
Those switching early don't lose anything.
Skill loss will appear for those switching too late.

Anyhow who cares about skill loss? Immersion will compensate 100 times. there is nothing like S-ing on the runway and taxiways with pedals http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

07-18-2007, 08:34 AM
Great post!

I know what you mean about centering the pedals. I kept wondering why I had to keep adjusting my rudder trim during cruise until I realized I was resting my feet a little too comfortably on the pedals. I adjusted my yaw axis in the controls section to be a little less sensitive to small inputs early in the chart. Helped a lot.

I ended up taking the wheels of my chair (I also ended up taking the chair off my chair and replacing it with the passenger seat from a 1992 Cavalier...but that's another story). Every time I kicked the rudder I'd shoot halfway across the room...


07-18-2007, 09:12 AM
Originally posted by rnzoli:

Could you please avoid generalizing?

Excellent analysis above, where it can be seen that you had 7 years of practice with twist-stick and your got worse with pedals compared to THAT. Ha!

But I had only half year experience with a very crappy twist stick when switched to pedals, and in fact, I got much better with them.

So let get is clear:
Those switching early don't lose anything.
Skill loss will appear for those switching too late.

Anyhow who cares about skill loss? Immersion will compensate 100 times. there is nothing like S-ing on the runway and taxiways with pedals http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Quite right mate; something I meant to add myself... Been dodging the boss whilst posting today! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

It makes sense tho that if you're a newcomer to Il2 it's better to start sooner rather than later, so get rudder pedals ASAP if you're so inclined.

@RhinoMonkey: No, nowt deadly, and it was in my early twenties as I was looking to get out more... took a slip and bashed my left knee tearing ligaments and gave my left lower back a hearty clout. Haven't been climbing since!

07-18-2007, 09:36 AM
Well obviously a Joystick is a Must for any flight sim, so its out of the equation.

When it comms to choosing though between my rudder pedals, and my Track Ir, its tough.

I had pedals first, and fell in love with them immediatly. I feel I have and can provide better control with them than a twisty. I persoanly feel I can pull myself out of some serious ground loops easier than a twisty aswell.

But then TIR came along, I can fly with a broke n rudder. But I just don't enjoy the game if I can scan the sky's with my head.

This game or any flight sim, if your the type to enjoy the immersion, must have a quality stick, rudder pedals, and TIR IMHO.

Oh super post by the way. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

07-18-2007, 11:52 AM
I would say that they are both indispensible if you are serious about your simming. As for which one first? Id say get the pedals first.. since controlling your AC as efficiently as possible should be the first priority. There are ways around not having TIR. The pedals IMO open up a whol;e new dimension. The get the TIR ASAP afterwards. The sooner the better.

07-18-2007, 02:56 PM
I own an X-52 and CH pedals. When I first used the pedals I was a mess and ready to unplug them. I have used a twist stick for over 6 years and trying to get used to pedals was a challenge. But after a month I would say I was extremely comfortable with them and my gunnery % increased a good bit. Now I could not ever imagine flying with out them. They are that much better and far more precise then the old twisty. Also you only use rudder with you want to and need it, not accidentally like a twisty. Much easier to compensate for torque as well without the use of rudder trim. If my pedals were to break I would put flying on hold until I could replace them as I could never use twisty again. Same goes for TIR. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif


07-18-2007, 03:31 PM
I would like to add that I think the "false center" is an advantage with the pedal, I never use rudder trim anymore. The rudder "center" is an illusion anyway, you want to be able to adjust your rudder imput (just like you would adjust your trim), isn't the old saying "stomp on the bubble"?

07-18-2007, 04:22 PM
I got my CH Pro Pedals about 4-1/2 years ago, so they're now second nature to me, but the danged things did tend to 'walk' about the carpet quite a bit for the first few months

Try this: a little plywood with a dowel laid across each end to A: anchor the front legs of your chair and B: anchor your pedals at a comfortable distance. You'll have to measure for your ideal comfortable distance, but I bet it solves most of your complaints.

Nothing makes your flying more consistant than having your controllers stay in the same place.



07-18-2007, 05:07 PM
Rudder pedals are good, though it took a while to adjust to them mentally. They used to sometimes `crawl` forward and get stuck under the PC desk stand - suddenly it was as if my rudder had completely locked up! A bit hairy in mid-dogfight! If compared to TIR, I haven`t seen the same benefit as TIR so if pushed I`d always keep the TIR first.

07-18-2007, 07:07 PM
If you pedals are on a hard surface be sure to keep the feet clean. I have found that regular dusting of the floor or desk and cleaning the feet with window cleaner keeps them sticking nicely, same for suction cups on sticks. Mine actually never moves unless I get pissed off or something. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif If you have your pedals setting on carpet just get yourself a piece of velcro and stick it to the pedals. You will not need a piece on the carpet as it will do the job fine.


07-18-2007, 10:21 PM
The only thing I don't like about my Saitek pro is, they don't respond quick enough, when I first got them, I ask them about it, they came right back which supprised me! and said sorry, there was no way to set them faster. I'm getting used to them now, but when I fly the real thing, I'm sloppy on the rudders like a student! can't win! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

07-18-2007, 10:28 PM
I would respectfully disagree that pedals should be bought before TrackIR when shelling out money. I believe this approach is for those who value immersion over life.

However, I do love my pedals. They did take a bit of getting used to, about 3 weeks for me. And I have a very relaxed curve for sensitivity to best pick off each engine when shooting. I would strongly recommend fiddling with the joystick section of the config.ini. It's really worth it.

07-19-2007, 06:24 AM
Good post. Your experience completely mirrors my own. When I first went from twist stick with on base throttle to HOTAS with CH pedals, I was a natural mess. I even stopped flying for about 3 months. Bearcat kept bothering me about joining the 99th though so I spent about a whole month offline getting used to pedals and learning how to take off and land. After about 2 months pedals became butter.

As for which kit is more essential, I rate Track IR even with pedals. Either one will take your flight experience up a quantum leap. I'd say pedals first though for the same reasons that Bearcat said and because learning to move both your hands AND your feet takes more time to master than just moving your big fat noggin' from side to side.

Da Worfster

07-19-2007, 07:40 AM
I'd say pedals first

Oh, puh-leeeese.

How many people have leapt on to this forum and shouted "OMYYYFG! PEDALS ARE THE BEST THING SINCE LOSING MY CHERRY!"

And how many have posted about how great TIR is?

Correct order is:

Good stick.

They're a novelty, not a necessity. Mine are great, but they cost the same as TIR, and given the choice between the two...

You understand, I'm not disrespecting your opinion, I'm just giving my reaction to a new toy... and how I think most newbs would feel given the opportunity to try b/w both.

07-19-2007, 08:00 AM
Yep, TIR has the best `wow` facter to it. Rudder pedals are like, `Ok so now how do I take off again?`

07-19-2007, 08:13 AM
I beg to differ. When I got my pedals I spent a whole day flying low level in an I-16, wings straight, and the grin didn't get off my face for a single second (in the beginning I also LOLed). It felt more like flying than the first time I flew with a stick.
It totally blew me off.

07-19-2007, 08:24 AM
I'm glad you got your money's worth. And it's true, pedals rock, especially when they're configured properly.

I came to pedals from a rocker, not a twist stick, and I'm curious if people feel rocker is better than twist?

It seems that there is more of a problem adapting?

07-19-2007, 03:02 PM
I already had an X-45 hotas and TrackIR before I began playing Il-2, and I thought the rocker was good enough for all the jet sims I used to play. When the Il-2 bug bit, I knew eventually I'd have to get pedals. I would say that my response to pedals was much the same as my response to trackIR, kinda wierd at first but once everything was adjusted (especially the grey matter) I wouldn't fly without it.

The moment that really made my pedals 'click' was when I did a snap roll in a P-40B at 200ft of the deck without crashing. That was a real 'ooh-cool' moment for me.