The Saitek TPM is a new product in the long line of Saitek pro flight range. Thanks to Saitek, a whole range of new flight controllers are continually hitting the market. Previous to this if you wanted to get a throttle, propeller, mixture control panel you had to go up to the more enthusiasts range level and spend some serious dollars. Your only other alternative, was to get some wood some metal and build your own custom control. Thanks to Saitek, you can now build a realistic flight cockpit for your general aviation planes without breaking the bank.
The Saitek TPM panel is built really for those who want to fly light propeller aircraft, such as the Cessna. The panel has three sliding knobs which allow independent control of the throttle, propeller or mixture. Unlike in jet aircraft where you have a throttle lever, in small light aircraft you actually pull forward or pull back a knob to control your throttle et cetera.
Update: Saitek TPM System looks to be on sale at Amazon!
Most joysticks have a rotary knob or lever for throttle control already, however for proper engine management you do need a separate method for controlling your propeller and mixture. During flight your propeller pitch is changed to maintain the most efficient use of your fuel. As you change the propeller pitch you change how efficient your propeller works, a full description of how this works is slightly out of the scope of this review. A mixture control allows you to specify exactly how much air you allow into the engine. By using your propeller and mixture knobs you can control exactly how efficiently your plane will fly. Admittedly, for most of us we can fly with just the throttle alone. However careful management of the TPM is essential for realism and proper efficient use of fuel.
Saitek TPM Features
- 3 Axis Knobs (made from durable aluminum rods)
- Propeller Pitch
- 9 chrome flip switches
- Mounting clamps
- Buy now at Amazon
Saitek TPM System Review
The Saitek TPM also includes nine flip switches, these are nice chrome switches which you are able to allocate any function to. For example, I like to assign light and heating switches to these flip switches however you may find them more useful assigned in other ways.
The Saitek TPM looks like the real thing, the unit is coloured matte black and has white printed text on top of each control. Additionally the throttle, propeller and mixture knobs are coloured realistically.
Like all of Saitek’s pro flight range, the build quality is very good given its price and when you install it in your home cockpit it looks professional and not out of place. The unit is attached using two clamps, this means that is attached very easily to a table as the clamps attach to the underside of the unit. For those that want to mount the unit there are screw holes that allow this.
Installation is quite easy, you simply plug the unit into a free USB port. Unfortunately, like most of Saitek pro flight hardware there are no drivers or manuals inside the box. You will need to go directly to Saitek’s own website to download the newest set of software and drivers. Once installed, it is a simple matter of just mapping the new controller axis inside your flight simulator. This is always the most time-consuming aspect, however Saitek does have a set of predefined settings for popular flight simulators which helps to ease setup and installation.
The Saitek TPM panel is probably not so necessary for the majority of us, of course you need a good throttle unit such as the (CH Products throttle quadrant USB or Saitek Pro Flight throttle quadrant) and if you have a throttle quadrant it works quite well. The TPM is only really good for single engine propeller planes. However, if you are really into a general aviation than having a properly designed TPM panel brings you one step closer to flying the real thing, especially in a Cessna.
Overall, the unit works as intended installation can be a bit of a hassle but once up and running it works without any problems. The sliding action on the three knobs is smooth and the nine switches have a good positive click and feel. In terms of realism, the travel on the sliding knobs is slightly less than what you would find in a real aircraft. As a trade-off you get a TPM panel which doesn’t sit as long on your desk. This is a minor trade-off you will may have to make, given its price. The unit does look very realistic and having it sit on your cockpit adds tremendously to its realism. If you are a single engine flyer than the TPM panel will have to go on your wish list.
- Cheaper than enthusiast level TPM panels
- Works great, looks professional
- Realistically colored knobs
- 9 chrome switches come as an added bonus
- Less travel on the knobs compared to a real plane. (you will have to mount the unit closer to yourself)
- Needs drivers to be downloaded and installed before it works perfectly
- Table mount clamps are deep and will not fit in with a keyboard tray
- Lots of negative reviews from online users
Check out what other users had to say…
The Saitek TPM (throttle, propeller, mixture) works like the rest of their pro flight line. The levers move smoothly in and out with a nice amount of pressure. The only thing that is missing is the twist (screw) out/in of real Cessna type levers. Given the cost of this unit that was not expected. I am very happy with this addition to my home simulator. [...] Read the rest of the review >
The Saitek TPM module does exactly what it claims to do and pretty darn well for what it costs. A “authentic” constant speed TPM with throttle friction locks and vernier mixture and push lock prop lever will cost you upwards of $500. Could this have better designed, sure but you won’t find anything that nearly exactly duplicates a Cessna throttle assembly for this price[...] Read the rest of the review >