Honeycomb Alpha and X Plane 11

So since no one seems to have sprung for one of these and reported back I guess I’ll be the first. I see Paul put up a pre-order post but I missed this thing CLEAN until I started in with the X Plane recently.

So what does one get for 250.00 US?

Probably the best Civilian-Grade flight yoke money can buy.

Not an exaggeration there, Ladies and Gentlemen, I MEAN it.

I was going on about the Warthog’s resolution, well this thing eats it. Just fire up XP and look at the axis reports. Loads of spiking and slop all over everything else in my control setup - none at all on the Alpha. Impressions even of the cardboard it shipped in was that it was exceptionally thick for Chinese cardboard and really protective of the contents which are in a word, beautiful. Also extremely well-made from what I can tell.

The only thing I was even halfway worried about pre- purchase turned out to be pretty sturdy looking and that is what is called the “Ethernet Cable” although I think a lot more of us might know it by it’s more common usage name of RJ-45 which is used to wire the yoke’s switches to the base. It is unbelievably sturdy looking and I feel pretty confident we could tow my car with it.

Firing up XP 11.41 we will come to the usual calibration screen where you will calibrate X and Y.

Then done.

Except of course if you were bright and left your Warthog hooked up in which case it will conflict and spike all over axis’ and buttons being controlled by the Alpha. Turn off the Warthog’s axis support in the profile manager and you will be relatively good to go, although I’m still searching for the right combo of buttons and switches that is perfect. I believe that probably isn’t going to happen until they get their Honeycomb Beta Throttle Quad available here later this year, but for now I’m getting by with a pair of Saitek Quads jury-rigged up as a four way with flaps and spoilers axis’ on the ends.

If you haven’t flown with a high end yoke you don’t know what you are missing. I don’t mean to bash but the commercially available yokes are largely back in Nintendo-land when it comes to resolution. I have one of the better-known brands already, with a set of matching rudders and throttle and I NEVER used them due to how sloppy and unrealistically “plastic” they were. These are another story.

They ARE plastic of course, but they are finished in ether matte or high gloss black and outside of the LED light which might not be everyone’s cuppa they are very attractive and look quite the part. Hookup is with a single “C” to standard “A” type USB for connection to your PC. There is NO annoying detent off center or notchy movement anywhere throughout either axis, it just feels good.

I’m not even a yoke aircraft kind of guy but this thing has been on my desk for a week straight almost and I think I might be in love. I spend every waking moment available taking the lowly 172 back and forth from KHIO to KTMK here in the lovely PNW since ORBX was kind enough to make it in TrueEarth HD for us to enjoy in XP 11. I enjoyed it SO much that back during that Holiday sale I bought everything TrueEarth they had for XP with the exception of Great Britain and all of the airports. I DID buy 7S3 (Stark’s Twin Oaks) as I had it for P3D/FSX and it is my closest FBO in real life.

I wish I could convey how very different the flight models are coming from a joystick (albeit a good one) to a Yoke with the same or better precision, especially in VR. This thing actually got me to have another one of those jaw-drop and grin moments that were so common for all of us back in '16 when the Oculus was new. You really can’t explain how much it adds to have everything mimicked pretty much how it is in-cabin except the ignition is on the wrong side of the control column. Hat is on the left with two regular buttons (1 un-assigned for coms) and a really neat split switch for trims copied on the right handle except set for rudder and yaw trims. Plus two more assigned buttons on that handle, but the real treat is the switches on the face of the thing which are left to right top to bottom: MASTER Alt. Bat., AVIONICS Bus1 Bus2, below that we have BCN,LAND,TAXI,NAV and STROBE lights and on the right side of the column we have a magneto/ignition switch with all the positions indicated and available.

Lord have mercy this thing could put the PILOT bug on someone bad!

As proof that I’m absolutely taken with it I had absolutely NO problem figuring out how to start my favorite Turboprop in XP with it without consulting the POH or Hot-starting it from the start. I cold-cabined that sucker clear through pre-flight, lading and inspection and managed to do the whole flight with just the manipulators and the hardware. And it’s a touchy little beastie too, the Aerobask E-1000 Garmin Edition with a PT-6. Has kind of tricky ground handling due to fuel and giant wings which make it very “tippy” if handled abruptly or without good speed management on the ground.
In the air though, she’s a thoroughbred. Wonderful aircraft with the performance of a light jet and almost 2K range what with the giant tanks in the wings. Aerobask’s rendition of it is quite well-finished and for 25.00 at the org store it has rapidly become my go-to single-engine. With the exception of the Reality Expansion Pack for the default 172, which when combined with the Alpha makes for a truly sublime experience in VR, I really can’t say enough about how transformative this yoke makes that plane, that must be why I’m seeing them featured in Gleim’s literature for simulator hardware to go with their training courses. Which require either Laminar’s 172 or A2A’s for P3D.

And now we come to the awful truth which is…I haven’t even used it in P3D that much. Only long enough to install some semi-borked drivers for it from Aerosoft (which then self-corrected after a re-boot) and see that it in fact recognized and then despairing of all the work after XP’s “calibrate and boogie” deal and having to push all the buttons AGAIN to get it configured I just said “toss it” and went back to X Plane and its’ built-in profile. It is seen there natively {as is the Warthog) so all the switches with the exception of the one “trigger” switch on the left handle are programmed already for you and do exactly what is on the tin.

In closing, if you have even the slightest idea that a Pilot’s Certificate or License might be in your future I cannot recommend it highly enough. The habits built from proper procedures and having hardware that agrees with the type of aircraft you will most likely encounter in Flight School and that behaves in a close analog to what you will experience should be invaluable. I was afraid to build up “muscle memory” from flying with my Warthogs all the time and it seemed to me that it would be far better to build something pretty close in layout to an actual 172, which since Cessna has a School at KHIO in Hillsboro is more than likely what I would end up in at that School. I additionally can state right now for the record that I never truly “flew” the 172 until I got this yoke as it has transformed my GA simming as much or more than a Warthog ever did for my Combat sims. It literally turns the little plane into a Ronco “set it and forget it” kind of deal as I was able to get up to altitude, set my mountain crossing heading, adjust speed and set trim. BOOM. Do your mixture settings, keep a weather eye out for traffic and I dunno, drink a cup of coffee. Because you won’t be chasing trim settings anymore.

We’ll see how long this thing lasts, I see on the Hardware forums that a Warthog has gone under for someone, that’s a hard blow. I had to ship my throttle to Guillemot up in Quebec for an RMA on mine way back when, shipping probably was almost what they want for a new one.

But so far at a week in, it hasn’t come off of my desk for my new T300 at all. The Thrustmaster just sits over there, brand new and relatively unused, even WITH a fancy new gated shifter.

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Great review - sounds like a solid piece of hardware. I might invest in one when it comes time to teach my son to fly…these days, I think I’d rather have him in the air than on the roads! This sounds like it would be perfect for replicating a light piston aircraft feel.

Thanks for the great write-up!

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Nice review! Yes, I have one, but I have to admit that I haven’t used it much mainly because I have recently been focused on aircraft that use a stick.

Thanks for the write-up Flappy. I’m going to get to try one in a couple of weekends when I’m visiting my brother in Atlanta. My nephew is working on his PPL at age 15 and his dad set him up with a Honeycomb yoke and XP11. Looking forward to it.

Thank fellows. You seriously owe it to yourself to give the little 172 a spin with it back to back right after the Warthog, Paul. It’s a game-changer for me, as all of the sudden the little thing “came to life” for me just like the 109 did in IL-2 once finally in VR. I’m not meaning to say that it became an energy fighter but that all of a sudden I “got it” in a similar fashion and it made it an incredibly easy to fly experience that made my jaw drop again. I could literally fly down to Mt.Hebo where the old Air Force Radomes were and recognize most of the trails and ALL of the little lakes from my weekly rides through there on my Tiger. I can fly VFR with the ORBX TrueEarth stuff just by eye now, it’s that good and with the Alpha it was like driving a quarter ton truck to the market for groceries.

The sum of my exploits so far before I too succumbed like Paul to other things (a new TH8A shifter and T300) was to take two Saitek quads and put ‘em down low on the right with the leftmost axis set to spoilers and the rightmost to flaps and fly the 747 from KSEA for the first time. In VR. All I could say besides Wow, that is one HUGE @%$ch is that I am NOT going to even try to land it. It did however display fairly docile manners and I’m sure with appropriate flight training I’d feel otherwise, I’m just trying to not learn/perpetuate bad habits learned from simming in general and translate them in any way if and when I am able to fly. The Alpha made that aircraft too easy to trim and fly, I’m sure one could acquire some dangerous habits with such a large craft, such as running out of runway entirely to early due to mass and “Alpha” of an entirely different type, a reason I declined to finish the flight at KPDX as I have with the Zibo 737 multiple times. But four engines with a quad in VR with functional spoilers and flaps was definitely another first for me, a unique feeling when it just lifted right up after I guessed it at the flap settings without reading the POH and sent it down the runway, not anything like the experience in either P3D or MSFSX probably due to the HD add ons from ORBX in effect in the general Seattle area. Not to mention Traffic Global which when set to 50% seems to give just that !
Hey Beach, what’s your experience with this thing? Mine is mostly positive but the mis-placed labels in VR are a bit hard to make any use of. Much prefer my Mk.I’s for right now and the strobe/beacon as is the case IRL but so far have been unable to shut off labels in spite of trying. I HAVE seen the traffic perform some adjustments to the A.I. flights resulting in some hysterical flight maneuvers involving Airbus/Boeing aircraft being comically re-positioned dynamically.
Man, just look at those contrails! I actually got to giggling while watching it in VR and flying past Mt. St. Helens in the Zibo 737. Just imagine if you will a couple dozen to a hundred and fifty souls on board those craft all of a sudden plummeting literally hundreds to thousands of feet damned near instantly or the reverse as well as the A.I. makes adjustments. It is unrealistic as Heck and I’ll probably be sad when and if they patch it out due to the weird contrails it leaves, let alone the images it makes me think of upon seeing it and the virtual screams thereof on behalf of the virtual passengers.

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Thanks for this review! I’m really, REALLY looking forward to the Bravo quadrant when it drops later this year.

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Great review Flappy

Bought the Honeycomb Yoke around late November 2019, mentioned it here, but never reviewed it properly.

Agree with everything you say though, owned two Saitek yokes, a couple of of CH Yokes in my time too, none of them come close to this one … If there is only one thing I could complain about, its the friction in the pitch axis, the roll axis is twice and maybe multiple times smoother, but I understand why that is … perhaps there will be a way to mod this, we have some ingenious people here who love to mod their flight sim controllers.

Even that pitch friction is much better than previous Saitek and CH Yokes and is only bettered in really high end Yokes in the £1200 or more category range … and those yokes, some of them even have FFB, they just have minimal user buttons that is realistic the the real Aircraft they represent, but in our Sim reality, we really need those extra switches and buttons.

Its a great yoke I do agree … hey my old Saitek Cessna style yoke is for sale now.

For sure I’ll grab the Honeycomb throttle trim console unit once its out too it looks good.

EDIT: Flappy, not stealing your thunder, but here is mention I made of my Honeycomb Yoke too, its good gear :mudspike:

Mine just arrived.

Quick thoughts on the Honeycom Alpha Yoke. Box is still warm so not much detail here yet. And, no I ain’t doin no “un-boxing” post/video.

Except for THIS:
image

5-Year warranty says something to me, along with the initial ‘heft’ - Two of these on a broom stick and you could get a good bicep workout.

And now, the ‘Slow Leak Award’ goes to yours truly: rearranged my Scrap Pit; plugged it; fired up X-Plane; configure it…hey, the yoke buttons aren’t working. Talk about getting sucked in.

See, all the videos I watched on this unit didn’t really go over setup (or I breezed right thorough it): but it’s just a USB joystick! No factor.

One video shows the little pigtail connector, mentioniong that they [too] weren’t sure what it was for, “…guess it’s to daisy-chain the Bravo throttle, when it comes out”, the YT champ said.

Got that stuck in my brain. Then, yeah, I actually RTFM’d it. I also just assumed the wires for the yoke buttons went through the shaft. And it’s kinda hard to see?.

image

“Getting old ain’t for sissies”

Only a few laps with it in the -172. It’s smooth. And coming from CH stuff it has a lot of force. Most reviews like the pitch force and comment the roll force is weak. I know no better but, again, I’ve been using a CH Fighter stick with it, which has next to zero force.

Had an CH Yoke but as I mentioned elsewhere, managed to permanently misplace it when we moved. I do recall I was never really all that happy with the feel of it; plastic on plastic feel to the shaft.

More later, if any interest.

Smooth Rides
JR

3 Likes

Nice! It is a quality controller, and I really like the lack of a center detent. As you said, a little stiff in pitch, a little light in the roll, but overall a huge improvement on the CH yoke, and I’m guessing the Saitek. TBH, for most of my sim flying, a stick is more appropriate and my Honeycomb yoke has not seen much use in the months I have had it. With the imminent arrival of Air Hauler, and later this year, the Bravo Throttle, I can see that I will get a lot more use out of it.

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