Sunday, December 27, 2009
Mapping the Joystick Buttons
I have re-mapped the buttons as follows:
There are four buttons on the top of the joystick, and I have made the centre one into a Pause button - it freezes the action.
Buttons 4 and 5 I use to control the rudder, using one to move it incrementally to the left and the other to the right. The rear top button (#2) is used to centre the rudder again. I don't use the rudder very much when flying the small plane as banking the plane gives me most of the turning capacity that I need. However, to make a tight banking turn to get back onto the glide path for a runway I sometimes use the rudder.
Buttons 6 and 7 on the base of the joystick I use to control the flaps. Button 7 will extend the flaps by 20% on each press, and Button 6 will reduce the flap setting by 20% on each press. The effect of the flaps when extended is to give the wing more lift at lower speeds, and flaps also tend to act as air brakes, slowing the plane at the same time. When I am touring familiar areas at 1000 feet or so I often use full flaps and half throttle to slow the plane right down so that I can just drift along but still climb if necessary.
I use Buttons 8 and 9 on the base to control the brakes when taxiing. Holding the buttons down applies the brakes and releasing the buttons lets them off. They also work independently so you can use them to steer when landing, and at very slow speeds holding down one brake will allow you to spin the plane around - very useful when you want to take off back the way you landed.
I have found that the brakes do not work reliably or well on the fast jet plane, making it very difficult to stop the plane even on the longest runway.
I use Buttons 10 and 11 to control the altitude of the nose, moving it up or down in increments. These buttons are least convenient for me as I am right-handed and accessing the buttons requires my left hand to slide under my right. I tend not to bother much with them anyway.
The X and Y axis are the movement of the joystick column and I have not adjusted the settings for them. As one would expect, pulling back on the stick causes the plane to climb, pushing forward makes the plane descend, and the side to side movements bank the plane. The throttle works very nicely, and I have not changed those settings either.
The very best part involves the trigger button. I have changed it so it controls the angle of the view. During regular flight the view is out over the front of the plane, as the pilot would normally see. When I pull the trigger in the view changes to looking almost straight down and a bit forward, and the heads-up display disappears. When this happens, it is as if I am an eagle, and I can soar over the terrain looking straight down. My muscle memory works just fine so I can effortlessly fly the plane with the joystick, rising and falling, drifting to left and right. It is especially cool when flying in mountainous terrain as one can just skirt the cliff edges and drop off the edges of mountains. Very, very cool.
The code for re-mapping the buttons is in the next post.