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Saitek X52 Pro Flight System


Reviewing hardware is always fun! That’s also the case with this Saitek X52 Pro Control System review.
A long time ago I reviewed the X-65F and at that time, I called it a “Semi-professional HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) unit.” This was partly because the whole stick was made of metal, which is not the case with the X52 Pro stick. Another interesting difference is that the X-65F stick doesn’t move or, more accurately, you can’t move it.

Your force is sensed by integral sensors and that gives a Flight Simulator an output for roll, pitch or yaw. The X52 Pro joystick can move and therefore doesn’t need these kinds of sensors. Long story short, this review deals with the X52 Pro set and I don’t have any intention of comparing the two. This X52 Pro review is worth checking out on its own. The two X52 Pro components work flawlessly with either flight simulator type, but for now I only test is with Windows 10 and macOS Sierra with X-Plane (of course).

The Saitek X52 Pro Control System

Belonging to the Pro Flight hardware group, the X52 Pro is the most fully integrated Stick and throttle flight controller and has been built to meet the demands of the best virtual pilots in the world! By the way, that’s according to Saitek.

Further, Saitek thinks, “The MFD screen (Multi Function Display), first introduced on the X52 Flight Controller, is now interactive. Now you can display important in-game information such as the Radio Stack and interact with your games directly. Shipping with support for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X, there’s also a Software Development Kit (SDK) included which allows budding programmers to create interactions with their own favorite games. See what’s already been created on our forum.”

“New metal parts increase durability and the unique dual-spring mechanism provides a progressive spring force on the stick’s movement, making it more resistant the further you move it from center. The X52 Pro uses the same magnetic hall sensor, non-contact technology as the X52 but we’ve doubled the number of sensors to improve response.

The Saitek joystick:
– Precision centering mechanism, non-contact technology on X and Y axis
– Constant spring force reduces free play, improves control and increases durability
– 2-stage metal trigger; 2 primary buttons in 1 convenient position
– 4 fire buttons including missile launcher with spring-loaded safety cover
– Conveniently positioned metal pinkie switch provides shift functionality
– 2 X 8-way Hat Switches
– 3D rudder twist
– 3-position rotary mode selector switch with LED indicators
– 3 spring-loaded, base-mounted toggle switches for up to 6 program commands
– 5-position handle adjustment system to suit all hand sizes

The throttle Unit:
– Progressive throttle with tension adjustment, detents for afterburner and idle
– 2 fire buttons
– Scroll wheel with built-in button
– Mouse controller / hat switch with left mouse button
– 8-way hat switch
– 2 x rotary controls
– Smooth-action slider control
– Clutch button initiates ‘safe mode’ to allow on-the-fly profile selection

And last but not least for those who want to become an approved Combat Pilot …..
This product is also Combat Pilot approved. Combat Pilot is the ultimate multiplayer combat flying experience created within the Microsoft Flight Simulator X Universe that puts you in the cockpit of realistic, interactive combat training and encounters.”

It’s up to me to find out if this X52 Pro is fun to work with and if it’s accurate and most importantly, in combination with which Flight Simulators can you use it. All questions, and hopefully, I’ll be able to give you answers for all of the questions.

What’s in the Box?

Unpacking the hardware
As you can see on the pictures below, the two components – joystick and throttle unit – are well packed. So far, all OK. If you want, you can mount each unit fixed to your flight control table, but you can also connect the four suction cups at the bottom of each unit. All you have to do is to press each unit firmly to the table and the suction cups will do the work. By the way, you won’t have 100% guarantee that the suction cups will keep the unit in place. When that happens, make them a little wet with water, press each unit again firmly to the table. That should work out just fine.

Anyway, that’s about it for the joystick and throttle units with suction cups. You’ll find a USB cable connected directly to the throttle unit. This cable should be inserted directly into the PC or iMac (in my case). Although a USB hub could be used, Saitek prefers that you connect the cable directly to the PC.

Also in the box you’ll find a separate cable that must be inserted into the joystick and the other end connected to the throttle unit. This was so easy even I was able to manage this. Regarding the hardware, that was it.

Driver(s) and Smart Technology software
Whatever you have in mind, surf directly to this dedicated Saitek web page. If offers all drivers and software which is, as we may expect that, up-to-date.

When you’re at this web page the correct selections to make are:
– “Pro Flight”,
– “Select product” (in my case the X-52 Pro)
– “Windows 10 32 (64) bits, 8.1/8/7 and Vista 32 (64), XP 32 (64) bits)”.

One you’ve done that, you can download the drivers and/or software. And, I know, I’m repeating myself, but these drivers and software are only intended for Windows and not for Mac or Linux!
Now let’s get back to our download software.

The Saitek Smart Technology programming software (Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_7_0_53_6_x64_Software). It allows you to program every button, selector or whatever is there on your joystick and throttle unit, but it’s only for the Windows platform. Saitek has never made this available for Mac OS. If you don’t want to do this yourself; on this Saitek web page there are pre-programmed buttons, switches etc. profile files for X-Plane. By the way, when you’ve downloaded the profiles package, you’ll find a ZIP file that contains a group of profile files for many game types. Unzip it, and pick out “Xplane_v2.pr0”. And then …. Just follow these steps as suggested by Saitek:

Deposit the profiles into your Saitek profile folder. On Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 it’s in C:\Users\Public\Documents\SmartTechnology Profiles.

Open your profile editor, and then use the ‘open’ function to view a profile.

To assign a function to a button, right click a button cell in the editor. The menu will show all the commands saved to the profile document. Left click the command name and it will be assigned to that button.

Repeat this process for any other commands you want to add.

Once you are happy with your setup, click the Save As button and give your new profile a name. You can save over the existing one if you want, but it may be best to keep this one unchanged as a template for new profiles.

You can then activate the profile by clicking the profile button (blue target reticule) in the editor window. Alternatively, once saved, the profile will appear in your Saitek icon menu located in the system tray. Left click on the profile name to activate, and click clear profile to deactivate the profile.

OK, back to the software button screen.

The Driver for downloading the drivers. When you start the executable file (Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_7_0_53_6_x64_Drivers.exe) if you haven’t already done so, the software will ask you to insert the throttle unit USB cable connector. Then follow the steps as indicated by the installer. This will install all the drivers for the joystick and throttle unit.

But what will happen if you don’t do this and you just insert the USB cable in your PC/Mac, and fire up X-Plane? Then X-Plane will still recognize the Saitek controllers and using the X-Plane Joystick Control, you’re able to program each button and/or switch, but with some limitations. Therefore, it’s always better to use the Saitek drivers and, if you can, the Smart Technology software, but again, that’s only applicable for those who use Windows.

For all of those using Mac OS as their primary OS, we don’t have the option to use any Saitek software and/or dedicated drivers. As Mac user, that the build in joystick and equipment section of X-Plane is good enough to work in combination with the Saitek hardware, but it must be said that the different MODES available with the X52 Pro isn’t available on a Mac, at least, I haven’t figured this out yet.

That said, you can program or use every button, POV or switch within MODE 1 and that’s it. MODE 2 and 3 aren’t available on Mac OS!

Hardware Inspection

Let start with the X52 Pro joystick.
Once I pressed it firmly to the table, remember, I used the four suction cups that hold it, you can easily move the stick in any direction – pitch and roll – or twisting it (yaw channel) without too much force. Although it has dual spring control, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or give you the feeling that you can’t reach the end of the travel.

When twisting the joy, the springs are felt more actively and when removing the applied force, the stick returns, in no time, back to the neutral position. On the right hand side, there’s a hand palm plate that you can adjust in height. Depending on your hand size, there could be a need to raise the hand palm plate to a higher position. Although the manual explains how to raise or lower the hand palm plate, the first time isn’t easy to figure this out. A bigger problem is when you’re left handed.

If you are left handed, then there’s no hand palm plate or any other option to put your palm on. Long or short … as far as I know, all joysticks are asymmetric with hand palm plate always situated on the right hand side. That said, although I’m left handed, I control the stick with my right hand and that works.

The stick comes with many buttons, switches, and even a guarded red SAFE switch on the top. On the top right-hand there’s a silver colored knob to select MODE 1, 2 or 3. When you’re not using the Smart Technology programming software, this has no function.

With the Smart Technology programming software and the profile file, you can, depending on the selected MODE position, use every switch and button several times. Let me give you a small example. The white button next to this silver knob can have three different functions within X-Plane. The three functions depend on the MODE selector knob. With the knob in MODE 1 position, the button has function 1, MODE selector in MODE 2, button offers the second function and finally, with the MODE knob in MODE 3, the button gives you the third function. Which mode is active, is shown on the throttle MFD (Multi Function Display).

On the front side of the base plate, you’ll find three silver colored switches that can be moved UP and DOWN. Those switches are indicated with T1, T3 and T5. The numbering is right now not important, but when you use this in combination with the Smart Technology programming software, you will see these numbers again in the software.

Finally, with the joystick connected to the throttle unit and the throttle unit connected to a PC /Mac using the USB cable, the joystick is powered with a green LED that will illuminate. There are also other LED lights that will be illuminated on the joystick unit.

Let’s have a closer look at the Saitek X52 Pro throttle unit.
You can’t miss the massive and huge throttle. A wonderfully shaped unit, and easy to move from full IDLE, by means of a detent to FULL TAKEOFF thrust, and again, before reaching this FULL stop, you need to pass a detent. The force to move this handle can be adjusted. The handle offers also a scale with marking from 0-25-50-75-100.

But it’s much more than a handle that can just move forward and backwards. On the right-hand side you’ll find several switches, buttons, rotary knobs and sliders. These switches, knobs etc. are programmable, either directly in your favorite flight simulator, if recognized, or you can program these switches, sliders, knobs etc. with the help of the Smart Technology programming software. If you use Saitek’s Smart Technology software (just to be clear, only for the Windows platform), all switches, knobs, sliders etc. are recognized and programmable.

On the right-hand side of the base you’ll find the MFD (Multi Function Display). The MFD offers time and a stopwatch function. But it’s also controllable to work with the radio stack and it shows you which MODE is active. More about the MFD later when we’re checking out how this throttle unit functions when connected to a flight simulator.

At the backside of the throttle unit you’ll find the connection for the joystick cable and the previously mentioned USB cable which goes to your PC or Mac. And, the same as for the joystick unit, when the throttle unit is connected to a PC or Mac and the USB cable connected to a PC, a green LED will illuminate and indicate that the unit and the MFD are powered and ready to use.

This means, that when the USB cable is connected to a PC or Mac, the unit(s) are powered via this cable and no separate power supply is needed. This is also applicable to many Saitek components.

Let me give you some bonus photos of the X52 Pro hardware. Check out this dedicated X-52 Pro photo link.

Checking Out Mac

X-Plane on Mac Platform
I’ll start this check out paragraph by connecting the X52 Pro to my Mac, which is using macOS Sierra 10.12.3. Also, I’m going to use and test this X52 Pro in combination with Laminar Research X-Plane 10.
Connect the joystick to the throttle unit and place the USB cable in a free USB fitting on your PC or in my case in my iMac and do this before you start X-Plane otherwise X-Plane could have problem recognizing the X-52 Pro units!

The first time you connect the X52 Pro to X-Plane, X-Plane will ask you to calibrate the units. The screen tells you to move the stick in all three directions – pitch, roll and yaw – and move the throttle forward and back several times. Once you’ve done this, continue with X-Plane. If X-Plane is up and running, move your mouse to the top of the X-Plane window, select from menu Settings “Joystick & Equipment”. In the window that appears you see six tabs. Those that are important right now are the tabs “Axis”, “Buttons: Basic” and “Buttons: Adv”.

There’s not really a need for me to go into each possible step as to how you assign a button or switch to the joystick or throttle unit since the X-Plane manual covers this in much detail.

One thing I would like to highlight is that during the initial movements of the joystick and throttle unit, both basic movements – roll and pitch – are detected by X-Plane. Only thing you need to confirm is the YAW channel and the THROTTLE channel. For this, see the screen shots below.

As I’ve said before, how you assign X-Plane functions to your joystick or throttle unit is described in the X-Plane manual. Once you’ve assigned one, two, three or more X-Plane functions to the X52 unit switches, buttons sliders etc., they are kept in the X-Plane memory. This means that when you shut down X-Plane, disconnect the X52 Pro from your Mac and start X-Plane, nothing happens with these settings. You would say, logically, since there’s nothing connected, which is true. However, when you reconnect the X52 Pro to your Mac, fire up X-Plane, the previous assigned functions are active again and there’s no need to reprogram them.

What have I learned so far?
X-Plane on Mac versus X52 Pro?

There are no problems at all and therefore I think the X-52 Pro is still fully compatible with X-plane 10 and can confirm this also for the X-Plane 11 platform although X-Plane 11 is still under development. We do know, however, that Saitek doesn’t offer any dedicated X52 Pro drivers or Smart Technology programming software for the Mac OS X environment which was and still is a pity.

But there’s something at the dedicated X-Plane.Org page available and that According to the Org user wmk “32bit & 64bit mac universal binary; works on MacOS 10.5+, X-Plane 9 and 10. Sorry, no Linux version (don’t have any Linux box).
For the credits and installation instruction go to the original plugin.

Since XPL version 10 something happened since my MFD doesn’t work well — text strings are being corrupted when refreshed — there is risk that this is my hardware problem (either on my mac or joy level /cables are not in good condition…/), but if anyone would confirm that, I could take a look at this, unless original authors (thanks, Antigraviton & sothis) would do that before.”

Perhaps very useful is this provided YouTube movie by wmk. Although this upload is March 1014, I’ve got the idea it’s still functional and, if you feel you can deal with that, you can modify the included x52control.ini file. I don’t promise anything, but this small package has triggered my mind and perhaps, I say perhaps, I’ll look into this and see what’s possible to do more with it.

This is, as far as I know, the only additional software that does something with the X-52 Pro versus X-plane 10. That’s it. At the modified Saitek website you won’t find anything for dedicated Mac OS or Linux. It’s a pity that Saitek never understood the importance of X-Plane for Mac/Linux and although not interested to us, at their site you won’t find anything dedicated to Prepar3D.

Checking Out Windows

Intro … Saitek X52 Pro and Windows 10
When you plug in the X52 Pro USB cable into your PC, Windows will start a driver software installation process. This means the correct drivers are downloaded from the Internet and once this process is finished, your throttle unit comes more alive than before. Suddenly, the green MFD backlight illuminates and the green or red LEDs along the throttle travel illuminate too. This download and installation of the correct Window drivers is enough to use the X52 Pro with X-Plane. It’s better, of course, to start with the original Saitek drivers, but I only want to make clear that there’s not always a need for this.

Part I – Windows 10 and X-Plane 10.51+
Up to now, there’s not always a need to install the dedicated Saitek drivers nor Saitek’s Smart Technology programming software. That said, this section deals with connecting the X-52 Pro to your PC/Mac, fire up X-Plane 10, calibrate it and assign buttons, switches or POVs to it. I will mention this more then once; you’re only able to use MODE 1 and the other possible MODE 2 and 3 are not available without any Saitek software.

The first time you start X-Plane 10, it will tell you that “Uncalibrated joystick devices have been found. Do you want to calibrate them now?” The answer is of course YES. You click the Yes button. The next window will tell you to move all joystick axis including the throttle handle. Move each axis a few times and when you’re done, click the Continue button.

It will tell you that all axis are now calibrated and you could fly with basic flight controls, but you want to assign more X-Plane functions to the joystick and/or throttle unit buttons, switches, sliders etc. This can be done without the need of dedicated Saitek drivers. X-Plane is in my humble opinion good in that. The following screenshots we’ve seen before during the X-Plane calibration on Mac OS.

Part II – Saitek X52 Pro with Saitek drivers/software
In the previous paragraph, we’ve seen that the X52 Pro joystick and throttle unit work perfectly without the official Saitek drivers and without the Saitek Smart Technology software. You could ask yourself “then what’s the need of installing dedicated Saitek drivers and dedicated Saitek software?”

It’s always worth installing dedicated drivers to get the most out of your Saitek hardware and, using the Saitek Smart Technology software allows you to assign much more functionalities to the X52 hardware and/or creating own profile files.

That said, let’s have a look how this process works. By the way, the shortcut using for this Saitek software is called “Profile Editor”.
But first …. I’ll start with disconnecting my X-52 Pro from my Mac (testing the X-52 Pro via Apple’s Windows 10 boot camp), following by starting the 64 bit Saitek driver executable file (Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_7_0_53_6_x64_Drivers.exe). For your convenience, find those steps within the screen shots below.

It’s a rather easy installation process without difficult questions. The only thing to keep in mind is that at a certain moment the software asks you to connect the USB cable. OK, that’s the only thing you need to do besides clicking the OK or Continue button.

The following screen shots are those that represent the setup process from Saitek. By the way and before I forget it ….. you can recall this Saitek window as follows within Windows 10 although I think the way you can call this popup window is the same for previous Windows versions; via the menu bar you can seek for “Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control System icon “Control Panel”.

The “Saitek X52 Pro Flight Controller” window has five tabs of which 4 are interesting. The first tab, “Test”, looks very similar to the Microsoft Flight Simulator calibration window. Testing each switch, button, knob, slider, selector, HAT switches, mini-stick and much more are all recognized. The 2nd tab, “Dead zones”, allows you to adjust the null zone if the neutral position is not in the middle.
The third tab, “LEDs”, is a funny but interesting tab. It has nothing to do with testing or calibration. It has to do with the LED intensity or the color to display. For example, with the brightness slider you can adjust the brightness of all LED’s on the throttle and joystick unit, not included the MFD. The fourth tab, “MFD”, allows you to adjust the brightness of the MFD screen and how and what time is displayed. Do you want a 12 or 24 hour clock, do you want a time offset and how do you want to display the date? The last tab, “About”, well, that speaks for itself.

Now it’s time to install the Smart Technology Software, previously known as SST software.
Grab the downloaded Saitek_X52Pro_Flight_Controller_7_0_53_6_x64_Software.exe file, start it and follow the screen instructions. It’s a straightforward installation and before you know it you’re done.

Now, go to your downloaded file, unzip it and install the Xplane_v2.pr0 (last updated by Saitek on June 28th, 2016) into the correct folder as described on the Saitek website. Doing this makes your life easier since it offers pre-programmed examples for X-Plane, but is it really what you want? Honestly, I don’t know. Programming the buttons directly within X-Plane works fine for me knowing that I can’t use every MODE being build in the X-52 Pro. Is this really such a big deal?

It’s a pity that you can’t do this without the Saitek programming software, but when programmed all the buttons, switches, POVs etc., it will be quite difficult to remember what you have assigned to when you have again in MODE 2 and perhaps even in MODE 3 available.

Now start the Saitek Profiler program from the Windows Start Menu-Smart Technology-Profiler Editor or via a shortcut on your Desktop. It’s not my intention to offer you, within this review, a complete tutorial on how to program a profile file for X-Plane. Remember that I mentioned that there’s a nice and informative manual available on how to deal with the Smart Technology program. Just follow these steps to create your own profile file.

The Saitek Pro Flight screen offers three options to select from; Product, Programming and Support.

The most interesting one is the Programming option, so click that one. As you can see below, this is the Product View mode and on the right-hand side shows which Mode is the active mode, and below all the switches, buttons, knobs etc. which are assigned to something. Below the three options (Product-Programming-Support) you’ll see the text, “Loaded Profile: Untitled”.

We just loaded some pre-programmed profile file, so let’s pick them up. Select the Open icon on the top. It will go directly to the Profiles folder. Then select the Xplane_v2.pr0 file, followed by clicking the “open” button. Now, in the right hand upper corner you’ll see the text “Loaded Profile: Xplane_v2” and together with that, the Mode 1 section on the right-hand side shows all assignments as programmed in this profile file.

By the way, if you don’t like this Product View mode, you can also go for the Grid View mode. No difference, only a different look!

How to program or re-program this X-Plane file is contained in that well written and explained SST manual. While writing this down, I must add to it that I’ve got the impression that this is a very old document and since a long time not updated by Saitek. On the other hand, considering it, it’s still useable.

Part III – Saitek drivers/software PLUS X-Plane Installer
This section is basically the same as the previous section however, I’ve installed for this section the Saitek dedicated X-Plane plugin. This dedicated Saitek X-Plane for Windows software (Pro_Flight_XPlane_Plugin_7_0_50_1_x64_Software.exe) is an executable installer and installs sub-folder XSaitekProFlight within /Resources/plugins. But what does it do?

Without this XSaitekProFlight folder and its-contents, you can program the X52 Pro in the ordinary way as previous described for the Mac. That said, you assign via X-Plane functions to your equipment with the use of MODE 1 only. Just to make this clear, although the throttle unit shows you in the display MODE 1, 2 or 3, which are selectable via the rotary knob on the joystick, at the end it’s only MODE 1 that is programmable in this way.

But, what’s then changed or added when you have this dedicated Saitek Windows X-Plane plugin installed?
I could start with “not making much difference”, but that’s not the truth although I had hoped for more.
The MFD display offers you due to this Windows X-plane plugin additional info like COM, NAV and ADF frequencies. Besides that, you’ve got DME, transponder data as well as Auto Pilot information like ALT, COURSE, HDG, V/S and if the AP is connected or not. And yes, this is it!

So the end … even with this dedicated Windows Saitek X-Plane installer, it still doesn’t help me and you having more then only the MODE 1. So still no MODE 2 and 3!

No, I you want besides MODE 1 also MODES 2 and 3 which feels logical, then we need a profile file which I discussed before. When you’ve loaded and programmed – sounds more complex then it is – the sample profile file for your needs and saved under another name, you’ll notice that the MFD display not only shows MODE 1, but also the other MODE when selected with the knob on the joystick. Just to make this clear; the above procedure works also when you have NOT installed the Saitek X-Plane plugin, but it only works for Windows. For Mac, there’s no such a profile file. The only thing there’s for Mac is the provided plugin found via X-Plane.Org.

You could ask yourself … what’s the difference without all this Smart Technology software? As I said before, without this Smart Technology software and a profile file for X-Plane you’re not using the X52 Pro in its optimal mode. Not all items on the throttle unit are recognized and thus you miss them. Furthermore, the Smart Technology software makes it possible to use every switch, knob, slider, mini-stick and anything else that can be found, three times, due to the MODE 1,2 and 3 in combination with the Smart Technology software.

Does it fly better with the Smart Technology profiles being active? No, but it does give you more control over your flight sim compared to no Smart Technology software.

What does the MFD (Multi Function Display) offer?

The Multi Function Display, or in short MFD, shows not only which Mode is active, what the time and date are, but also details of your simulated remote Radio Stack. One of the supplied manuals, “mfd_en.pdf” tells you all about this remote radio stack.

Anyway, back to the MFD itself.
Operating the right-hand knob underneath the MFD isn’t as easy as it looks. Why you might ask? The right-hand knob can be pressed and you can rotate it up and down. Up and down changes the value in the window and pressing it means to activate it to make changes. And that’s where I found it isn’t as easy as I thought.

Once you made your selection, let say your AP altitude, you can turn the knob to change the selected altitude but you easily press it incidentally again and then you’re no longer able to change the altitude. You can handle it, but keep that little problem in mind.

Then there’s another thing to remember. When you change the NAV, COM, ADF, TRANSPONDER etc. frequencies, they only change on the MFD when the simulator is not in PAUSE mode! The following screenshots show you which MFD possibilities exist. Along with the well-designed joystick and throttle handle, this is a nice MFD feature.


The X52 Pro has passed my test!
I do have this unit already for a while and thought it would be a good idea to see what’s changed, what new software popped up etc.

I’m pleased with the way it’s made and with the materials that are used, although mainly from plastic. It looks good, is solid and the grip on the throttle and joystick units give you a good feeling. The number of switches, knobs, sliders, rotary knobs, HAT switch and buttons are probably far too much for the average flight simmer, but for those who want to program everything, there are plenty of possibilities.

This is partly because of the MODE 1,2 and 3 switch on the right-hand side of the joystick since that function allows you to triple all the switch, buttons etc. functions.

Because of the four suction cups on each unit, you can easily mount the units to your table and when no longer needed, you can remove the units quickly and park them somewhere else. The cable to be used to connect the joystick to the throttle is 1.72 meters/5.6 feet. The USB cable from the throttle unit is 1.50 meters/4.9 feet. In other words, long enough for general use.

Talking to many flight simmers, I learned that most of them don’t use the Smart Technology (previously known as SST) programming software and thus don’t use the profiles. On one hand, I must admit that it’s some work to program your own X-Plane profile (only for Windows OS), but the advantage is that you will then be able to use every button, switch, slider etc. Having said that, it seems most of the simmers prefer to use the built-in assignments of X-Plane.

Overall, it’s a nice piece of Saitek equipment that works flawlessly under every condition. The MFD on the throttle unit offers additional features when in combination with FSX. Suddenly the MFD becomes a remote radio stack for different aircraft types and not only for default FSX airplanes. All together, keeping the price in mind, a good-looking joystick and throttle unit. Not only just looking good, it works great in combination with many flight simulators.

More information about the Saitek X52 Pro can be found at the dedicated Saitek web page.
I mentioned this before, but let’s highlight it once more. When you’re a Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 32 or 64 bit user, then follow these links for the manuals, drivers, software and profiles:
Saitek manuals
Saitek drivers and Smart Technology Programming Software
Saitek Profile package (only for Windows X-Plane)
Saitek SST Programming Manual

You can buy the X52 Pro at many places, but let’s stick for now with the Aerosoft eShop web page.

Any questions, doubts or other things related to this review, please feel free to comment to this review or you can contact me via email or to

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen



Add-on:Payware Saitek X52 Pro
Publisher | Developer:Logitech | Aerosoft
Description:High quality Flight Simulation hardware
Software Source / Size:Download / Approximately 30MB (unzipped)
Reviewed by:Angelique van Campen
Published:January 27th 2017
Hardware specifications:- iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013
- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (Sierra 10.12.3)
- 3 external 1TB SSDs
- Saitek Pro Flight System
Software specifications:- Sierra (10.12.3) | El Capitan (10.11.4)
- Windows 10 Professional
- X-Plane 10.51c | X-Plane 10.51m | X-Plane 11 pb8


  1. Chateaubrillant

    Hi !
    I have desperately been looking for a way to use that MFD.. Your review is the first one that’s actually positive in regards to that product.. almost every single one of those I come across in my researches are critical of the drivers.. And i feel like I can unfortunately relate to those negative reviews. Maybe, since your x52 pro seems to be working properly you wouldn’t mind pointing me to how getting the informations to show up on it as mine only displays clock and modes.. all the rest is blank..

  2. Arthur van Ancum

    Pity that Saitek doesn’t make the X-65F anymore….

    Personally I don’t like the plastic feeling and looks of the Saitek products.

    • Angelique van Campen

      Pity that Saitek overall is now Logitech, but that’s something I can’t change. I suppose you mean the X56 Rhino since I’m not aware of a X65F? Besides many differences, it’s true that the X52 / X52 Pro are plastic units while the Rhino is made of metal casting and parts, but in my humble opinion, the plastic of the X52 Pro doesn’t feel like cheap plastic, not at all. One of the other advantages, at least for me with an iMac, is that the X52 Pro only needs one USB connection while the X56 needs two (as far as my knowledge goes)

      Perhaps, when I can get it, a review of the Saitek X56 Rhino will follow soon or later.

      • Andrew Brown

        Hello Angelique

        If I may add my two cents worth. The quality of the X52, although more plastic, was at the height of Saitek’s manufacturing quality. Likewise with the X52 Pro, it introduced more metal, such as the switches and hats, and was also a solid piece of workmanship. They then introduced the first non-moveable load cell joystick called the X65F, the joystick used pressure sensors in the now solid centre rod which could be adjusted in sensitivity, to detect which way to move the aircraft. This also introduced the first Saitek twin throttle control.

        Then along came Mad Catz, who bought Saitek around 2008, I’m under correction, and that is when the quality went down. The X55 Rhino was a disaster, and the X56 Rhino was not much better. I have owned these mentioned brands, still have the X52 (nowe given to my younger brother), X52 Pro and X65F, and have given away both Rhino models, having not succeeded in getting my money back, and then the sale to Logitech.

        After the above poor quality fiasco in my opinion, I moved over to Thrustmaster with the HOTAS Warthog and CH Products yokes. Both brands superb quality, never looking back.

        • Andrew Brown

          To add, I have never had an issue to get the Saitek X52 / 52 Pro / X65F to work on a Mac, Linux or Windows up to 10. There is a very good fellow called Sparker on the X-Plane Linux h+/forums that has written code to solve many Saitek throttle, module display and pedal issues. The hardest thing is to get Linux and Mac to recognise pedals, as they are pure axiz, and Linux needs to see a switch first on a controller before recgnizing an axiz. But it can be done with success.

  3. Wilson

    Great review! However, there was one inaccuracy that I saw. “… as far as I know, all joysticks are asymmetric with hand palm plate always situated on the right hand side.” The Thrustmaster T.16000M come with everything needed to use it either right OR left handed by changing out three components. However, the matching HOTAS that is available is just set up for left hand use.

    But, maybe that should be your next purchase (followed by a review, of course). 😉


    • Angelique van Campen

      Hi Wilson,

      Thanks for your reply and advice. Immediately checked this and yes, seen that you can swap many parts of the joystick from one to the other side. I also did via a review request for the T.16000M FCS Flight Pack. Will see and perhaps, soon there’s another review of the T.16000M.

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