GoFlight GF-AC Rack.

One of the most frustrating things you have to do in Flight Sim is mess about with the mouse trying to click the button you want. The amount of times I have been on finals in a 777 trying desperately to disconnect the autopilot before I touchdown, and then you hear the Crash as you hit a house or tree all because you can’t click the button with the ‘stupid mouse!’ Go Flight knows how we all feel, and have produced a product available for a first time Simmer to the most experienced Simmer. This review will guide you through the complete GF-AC rack which includes 5 components.

We will start with the newly released Radio Panel of GF166A VRP (Versatile Radio Panel). This panel enables you to manually tune the 6 digit frequencies in, by turning a dial. These frequencies can be set to either Com1 or 2, Nav 1 or 2, ADF or Transponder. Tuning in is easy, in the bottom right corner we have a turn-able dial with 2 sections (a front and back dial) Turning the front will tune the 1st 3 digits and turning the back will tune the last 2 or 3 digits. In the middle of the 2 frequency panels is a button that when pressed swaps for example Com2 too Com1 or vice versa. Now below this we have another 2 push buttons that can be set a total of 6 different items that can be set by the user. These include, ATC Window popup, NAV1 Ident, DME1 Ident and Nav1 Freq OBS Select. This panel is much easier to use rather than manually tuning in FlightSim. And when shown to real pilots, it is instantly recognised to the real thing! If you hate continually clicking your Nav1 or Com1, then this panel is most definitely for you.
We now move onto the GF-T8 (toggle switches). This panel includes 8 metal switches that can be programmed to match the user’s needs. When turned on they also have a green light above, to show in operation. A total of 58 programmable features allowing almost every control you will ever need from Smoke Switch to Landing Gear, Flaps, Lights, and Fuel switches they are all available. All switches are made of metal providing a great look and long sustainability. Another great panel that instantly stops the bother of switching them on with your mouse. Great!
We now move down to the GF-P8 (Push Switches) these 8 white push buttons work the same as the Toggle switches but enable you to push them in to activate and push them again to de-activate. Again they have the same lighting system as the toggle switches, and are fully programmable with any of the 58 options. Each button is made out of white plastic and made to look professional. I personally find they work great for autopilot.
Next is the GF-45PM (Display Panel), another great panel that can be programmed for use with up to 8 functions. The panel includes two smaller display panels. The top one will show the name of the function you picked, and the bottom show the function at work. So if we were to use this as a Transponder panel the top would show ‘XPDR’ for short, followed by your transponder code below ‘5446’. That’s not it. Below these two display panel are two dials to turn. Now depending on the function you have these become very helpful. The left dial moves as such the cursor to 1 of 5 digits, while the right button adjusts that digit, to whatever you want to set it as. So if we have the Autopilot function enabled, and altitude, we are set at 15000ft, and we move the ‘cursor’ to the second digit so the digit begins to flash, and turn the right dial we can adjust that number to 190000ft, so a very clever, but still very useful panel, that saves all that hassle of holding down your mouse buttons watching the digits fly. The panel can be set to show all autopilot functions, and all radio functions!
Finally we have the GF-LGT (Landing Gear and Trim Control) possibly my favourite panel and very realistic. From left to right we have first our Trim control, now as the same as the real cockpits, this dial can be moved up or down to adjust trim. While being very detailed in design, for example it includes grooves on the outside edge to resemble the real thing! Next we have our landing gear lever. Again very realistic. Do I need to explain how that works? But I will say that when the lever is either up or down the lights on the right will either show green for down or they will go off when they are up. But a clever thing here, when the gear is travelling the lights will appear Red! And finally a flap switch. This switch represents that in a Cessna or similar, but every touch will count as a degree, so 3 touches in a 737 it will have moved to 5 degrees. Very nice indeed!!
Now if all that isn’t enough, there’s one problem here, on both GF166A, GF-T8 and GF-P8, how are you supposed to remember what all those switches represent? Easy GoFlight have provided us with 2 strips of magnets (a strip being 13.5cm high and 16cm wide). The strip is full of magnets with the names of every function available (each magnet being 1.2cm wide and 0.6cm high). These magnets are easy to cut out and read. An extra strip is provided for the Radio Panel. But the clever thing is, if you decide to change the button/switch the magnetic strip can be easily moved.

How do the panels interact with the computer you ask? Well firstly GoFlight provide all the USB cables needed, so plug those in round the back of the panels and then directly into the PC. Next for the panels to work a program has to be installed along with all the drivers. This program is called, GF Config2. This program simply enables the user to pick the function they want for their panel, along with adjusting the brightness of the lighting on each panel! WOW, but when you exit this program it quickly updates your flight Sim aircraft so they will instantly work with the Panels.
How are the panels secured? GoFlight provide very nice shiny metal screws, these screw have a flat shiny head to provide a look of luxury. Each screw is 2cm long by 1cm wide, and believe me they really do make the panels look spectacular!

For all you FS2002 readers GoFlight recently produced a patch to incorporate their panels to work with FS2002. As well as adding a few extras to the panels. What I mean by this is a few extra functions for FS2002. Such as the gear lever can be used to lower the water rudder etc. The new patch also makes Combat Flight Sim2 available!! Also included is a new interface to show all panels inside the GFConfig window so you can switch from panel to panel with ease! The diagrams can be moved around inside the window to also represent how your rack is set!

The panels come packaged with full instructions of how to set them up. Setting everything couldn’t be easier with help guides installed, and even a utility is installed to test the GF-45 display!

If you are a keen simmer, you really haven’t flown until you fly with this panel.

A very big well done to GoFlight for producing such a magnificent panel, and making it affordable for everyone.

Thanks to:
Frank & Doyle.

www.goflightinc.com 



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