FLIGHT CONTROLS - RUDDER PEDALS
Virtual flyers often disregard a good set of rudder pedals as being "not essential". I disagree as rudder pedals provided greater realism during crosswind landing approaches and during taxiing (if a steering tiller is not fitted).
I've used three rudder pedal assemblies starting with CH Products and Precision Flight Controls (PFC) to my current set-up custom manufactured using OEM parts.
The B737-800 Project uses the following flight controls:
- OEM B737-500 dual yokes and columns
- OEM B737-500 Throttle Quadrant (revamped to NG style)
- OEM B737-400 rudder pedals with custom-made rudder pedal assembly
OEM is an acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer.
The rudder pedals I am using are custom made and use genuine B737 pedals (recycling is fun).
Whilst the pedals and links come from Boeing, the remainder of the assembly is custom made. Aluminium and heavy duty plastic were used as they are easy to cut and look aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The crank handle and circuit breaker panel are "candid" reproductions of the real unit and do not operate.
The pedals have toe brakes. Rather than use a joystick controller card assigning the brakes as an axis, I have elected to use on/off buttons on each rudder pedal. Therefore, as you depress the pedal's toe brake the button activates the brakes. The downside of using this method is that the brakes are either on or off and cannot be incrementally applied. Although this set-up is rather rudimentary, it is very simple and does provide differential braking (left or right brakes).
Interface Card and Calibration
A Leo Bodnar BU0386 joystick controller card has been used to allow the axis of each rudder pedal to be accurately calibrated, first in Windows and then more accurately in FSUPIC.
To improve realism, the rudder pedals have been designed to use heavy duty springs that provide realistic and accurate push pressures similar to that of the real B737. If you are landing in a crosswind and have the rudder deflected for a period of time, your leg muscles certainly begin to feel it!
The pedal assembly is functional, however, does not fit in my ethos of replicating a 737-800 NG as closely as possible. Looking at the center part of the assembly I think of "Disneyland" as this portion is far from authentic.
I am investigating options to retrofit a genuine Boeing circuit breaker frame and crank handle to ensure a more accurate representation. When the real parts have been found, I will replace the center portion of the pedal assembly (circuit breaker frame and crank handle).
To see additional images of flight controls navigate to the Image Gallery (Flight Controls).
In time a link will be posted to a journal post providing more information.