Flight Yoke Add-on Package
The Flight Yoke Add-on Package is comprised of the Autopilot Follow feature and the Aileron Remapping feature.
The package must be purchased separately, and activated by entering a special registration key into the Activation Wizard on the About tab of Profile Manager. You can try the feature out in "demo" mode by flying in the vicinity of KSEA airport.
The Autopilot (AP) Follow feature can be enabled on the Flight Yoke tab of the Profile Manager. It causes the yoke to move in response to autopilot activity.
If you are flying an aircraft that uses the default autopilot functionality built into FSX, the AP Follow feature will automatically engage and disengage itself as it detects what mode the autopilot is in. No special action will be required from you. If, however, you are flying a 3rd party aircraft that uses a custom autopilot, you may find that the AP Follow feature is unresponsive or erratic, due to the fact that it is unable to detect what mode the autopilot is in. If that is the case, you can set the Override feature (described below) to "Manual" for that specific aircraft. This will cause the AP Follow feature to only engage or disengage on your command, using a hotkey / button press that you can define. See the Customizations section and the Overrides section below for more information.
If you are a FSUIPC customer, please note that if you intend to use the Autopilot Follow feature, the elevator and aileron axis must be assigned in FSX, not via FSUIPC.
The details of this feature will be broken up into discussions around pitch and roll.
Please refer to the following step-by-step guide of how the autopilot follow feature works with regards to the pitch axis:
If you like to understand the technical background of how things work, this section is for you. It helps to understand that the FSX autopilot manipulates the aircraft trim wheel in order to control the aircraft. You can see it move if you look in the virtual cockpit. In a real airplane, moving the trim wheel would cause the elevator to move, which would cause the yoke to move in the cockpit. But with FSX, the autopilot changes the "virtual linkage" between the yoke and the elevator from a normal, rigid connection to a very loose and weak "spring-type" connection. It then does some internal manipulations to the aircraft flight dynamics to make the aircraft climb and descend. The reason it does this is because it was designed to cope with users who had mechanical joysticks, which would naturally return to center and stay there when the autopilot was on.
For that reason, the movement that you see in the pitch axis of your flight yoke is only an approximation of elevator movement, calculated by FS Force, based on the observed movement of the trim wheel.
Things are much simpler when it comes to the roll axis. If you activate Heading mode, with either Nav or GPS as the source, you will begin to see yoke movement in the roll axis, as the AP maintains course. Generally the yoke movement will be significant.
Certain aspects of the AP Follow feature can be customized on the Flight Yoke tab in Profile Manager:
The Aileron Remapping feature attempts to produce a linear relationship between the movement of the physical and the virtual yoke, in the roll axis.
Some explanation might be necessary to demonstrate the need for this feature. I recently had the chance to acquire a flight yoke to use with FSX. One of the first things that struck me was the excessive amount of yoke deflection that was required to roll into and out of normal turns. For instance, in order to roll firmly into and out of a 30 degree bank turn at normal cruise speed, I was having to use FULL YOKE DEFLECTION. As a real pilot who has flown light GA type aircraft, I thought that was very unrealistic. Something on the order of 20 - 30 degrees of yoke input would have been more congruent with my experience.
After flying around in the sim a bit and doing some experimentation, I came to the conclusion that the cause of this anomaly was some special input mapping that FSX does between the physical game controller and the virtual yoke in the simulator. I put together a little video to demonstrate the problem:
It seems to me that the creators of FSX designed the simulator with the expectation that most users would be using a joystick. Most joysticks typically have about 30 degrees of motion from side to side. A real aircraft yoke, on the other hand, typically has about 90 degrees of motion from side to side. The engineers at Microsoft most likely decided that a linear mapping between the physical device and the virtual yoke would not be ideal, since it would lead to over sensitivity in the roll axis. I think they were right about that. However, this non-linear mapping is no longer needed or desirable when you are flying with a flight yoke, since it has a greater degree of motion.
Aileron Remapping basically straightens out the graph that you see in the video. It produces a very nearly linear relationship between the movement of the physical flight yoke and the virtual yoke in the simulator. With this feature turned on, you will find that you do not need to make such drastic yoke inputs to achieve normal roll rates.
You can turn this feature on or off in Profile Manager.
If you are a FSUIPC customer, please note that if you intend to use the Aileron Remapping feature, the aileron axis must be assigned in FSX, not via FSUIPC.
Sensitivity & Nullzone
If you've been using a flight yoke for a long time, you may find it difficult to get used to the increased sensitivity of the yoke with this feature enabled. The best thing to do would be to give yourself a bit of time to get used to controlling the aircraft in a smooth and efficient manner. However, you may also find it helpful to program in a small value for the nullzone, using the FSX settings menu. If you do change the nullzone, be sure to exit and restart FSX. The reason being is that FS Force reads nullzone values from a special text file that FSX maintains on your hard drive. But FSX only updates that file with any new values when it exits.
Third Party Aircraft
Some third party aircraft already contain a feature very similar to this, in which case you should use the override section (described below) to selectively disable this feature for these aircraft. The best way to tell if an aircraft already has this feature is to use the Addons menu to exit FS Force. Then move the physical yoke and observe whether it is synchronized with the virtual yoke on the screen.
You can selectively disable or enable either of the above features for specific aircraft.
Simply click in either the AP Follow or the Aileron Remap column to cycle through the possible values. For AP Follow, the possible values are On, Off, Manual and Default. For Aileron Remapping, the possible values are On, Off and Default. On or Off will set the feature to that state, no matter what the global setting is at. "Default" will use the global setting as per the controls on the top of that page.
Manual AP Follow : If you set a particular aircraft to "Manual", under the AP Follow section, the AP Follow feature will not attempt to detect what mode the autopilot is in. Rather, it will wait for you to manaully turn the feature on or off by pressing the AP Follow Toggle hotkey / button press. The order of engagement is not crucial, ie. autopilot first, or AP Follow first. You might want to follow the practice of engaging the autopilot first, and then pressing the hotkey to also engage the AP Follow feature. Similarily, when you disengage the autopilot, you would press the hotkey again to disengage the AP Follow feature.