Rudder pedals are an essential control mechanism in aircraft that allows an airplane pilot to control yaw, which is the rotation of an aircraft about its vertical axis. The pedals are located on the floor in front of the pilot and connected by cables or rods to the tail section of the plane. As you push your left or right foot down, it turns the rudder in either direction. That causes air flowing over the fuselage and rudder to push the aircraft’s nose left or right, essentially counteracting an aerodynamic effect called adverse yaw.
The best flight simulator rudder pedals mimic this effect with excellent precision when “pushing” them with your feet while seated in front of your computer screen.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what makes good flight simulator rudder pedals, as well as why they’re so important. You’ll also find some helpful tips on how to get started with your own simulation experience!
Just like with flight simulator yokes, popular brands selling excellent flight simulator rudder pedals include Logitech, CH Products and Thrustmaster.
Why Use a Rudder Pedals for Flight Simulators
Now, why would you need rudder pedals when you can just turn the plane on the ground by using your joystick or yoke axes? Most flight simulators offer an ‘Autorudder’ option, right?
There’s some truth in the above statements, but how will you be practicing crosswind take-offs and landings? Using just the aileron axis of your yoke might get you off/on the ground safely, but it won’t resemble the experience of using both stick and rudder, like you would in real life.
Also on the ground, rudder pedals can improve your flight simulator experience. Not just for steering but for braking as well. Most popular flight simulator rudder pedals feature differential brake pedals at the top of your toes, just like you would find in most real-life aircraft. This offers extra possibilities when virtual taxiing or making narrow turns on the ground.
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Below, we have listed some of the most popular flight simulator rudder pedals on the market, each with its own pros and cons.
If you’re looking for more flight simulator hardware and software, you can check our general and more extensive guide here.
If you’re interested in learning what to look for when buying (new) rudder pedals for your flight sim, make sure to read our buying guide below as well!
The 4 Best Flight Simulator Rudder Pedals in 2021
Now, let’s dive in! Below, we have listed the 4 most popular and top-rated flight simulator rudder pedals, ranging from older widely used models, to brand new flight simulator pedals featuring the latest technology.
1. Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
The Logitech Pro Flight series is a family of popular flight simulator hardware, including instruments, switches, throttle quadrants, yokes and pedals. The Logitech Pro Rudder Pedals (formerly built by Saitek) are probably one of the most popular and widely-used flight simulator pedals available today. Their fluid motion enables accurate command over your aircraft, while differential braking provides independent control of the left and right toe brakes.
2. CH Products Pro Pedals
CH Products has been building flight simulator hardware long before many other players on the market. You might get the impression their product designs are a little outdated, but they still perform very well and are an affordable option.
The standard CH Products Pro Pedals remain some of the most affordable and simple options on this list.
3. Thrustmaster TFRP Pedals
Thrustmaster’s latest model, the Thrustmaster TFRP Pedals is another great high-quality option. They offer the so-called S.M.A.R.T slide rails system for smooth steering, removable heel-rests, differential braking and a self-centering rudder axis.
The TFRP Pedals are compatible with PS4, XOne and PC.
4. Thrustmaster TPR Pedals
If you’re looking for something a little more sturdy and advanced, the Thrustmaster TPR Pedals might be a good fit for you. The brand uses its more advanced technology to create smooth and fluid movements, offering the perfect precision. While most rudder pedals use plastic sliders, the TPR Pedals use a suspended mechanism for minimal resistance.
What to Look for When Buying Flight Simulator Rudder Pedals in 2021
When buying flight sim rudder pedals, there are a few things you should consider and look out for. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
First of all, you should consider what functionalities the pedals should have. Most common functions are a (differential) breaking, adjustable resistance and adjustable feet pedals.
Some rudder pedals may offer additional features, such as more advanced customization, more realistic force-feedback, and more. Of course, it all depends on your budget, which we will come back to later below.
Next, you should assess the quality of both the pedals themselves and the included hardware, such as base controls and throttle quadrants.
If you prefer your controls to be very realistic, go for a set that has a more sturdy look and feel, and a realistic feel when moving your feet.
On the other hand, if you are okay with less realism and a lower price, a full plastic rudder pedals setup may do the job just as well for you.
How much money are you willing to spend?
The prices of flight sim hardware vary enormously from one product to another. You can find cheap rudder pedals that will do the job, while for just a few dollars more you may get something with all the bells and whistles. Some of the higher-end products are also very pricey, but if they give you the most realistic experience and help you build your flight sim cockpit, then it may be worth it in the long run.
Choose rudder pedals that are compatible with the simulator software of your choice. This is very important, as pedals that are not compatible with your sim software will be quite useless..
Also, if you are planning to build a custom simulator cockpit system in which all parts will work together seamlessly, choose hardware that can be easily integrated into it. The Logitech flight simulator product line offers some great integration between the different components, such as yoke, throttle quadrants, instruments and rudder pedals.
Ease of Use
Finally, consider how easy it will be to set up and use your new flight simulator hardware.
If you are looking for something basic that will work out of the box, go for pedals that are pre-configured.
However, if you prefer to have maximum control over your setup and plan on programming the different axes yourself, choose a more customizable model.
As you can see in the list above, there are pretty much only 4 great options when it comes to flight simulator rudder pedals, ranging from the older CH Products to the brand new Thrustmaster TPR and TFRP pedals.
The Logitech Pro rudder pedals are still a great option, used by thousands of pilots and flight simulator enthusiasts around the world.
If you have a little extra budget to spend, the Thrustmaster TPR and TFRP rudder pedals are an incredibly modern, technologically advanced option that offers high quality and a great realistic flight simulator experience.
If you’re on a tighter budget, the older CH Products Pro Pedals are still a very good option to consider as well.
Happy (virtual) flying!
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