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Chuck_B

WTH?? Emergency at FL310 200 nm East of KMDW!

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All this weekend (11/17 and 18/2007) when I was about 2 hours out of KBOS, and cruising smoothly along with FSNavigator's auto pilot feature in control in the POSKY 737-700, the aircraft inexplicably went bananas. It started pitching and banking, slowly at first, but then more violently. It seemed hard to believe what my instruments were telling me: I started getting over speed warnings even when my airspeed indicator showed as low as 210 kts. The sim seemed to refresh the scenery for a split second, and then my panels indicated that I was suddenly and inexplicably at FL 470 and 540 knots, up from FL 310 and 290 kts. During my 4th attempt at flying this bloody route I was able to properly declare an emergency in FSPassengers and eventually make it to KMDW, my ultimate destination, but was heavily fined because of the over speed "error" and "dive of death", neither of which was my fault (I think). This happened to me 4 times since Friday, even when I flew the route about 125 miles further north or south, and in different aircraft (the Default 737-400). Once down, I rebooted my computer and then had a perfectly fine 4 1/2 hour flight from KMDW out to KSAN. I recently bought FlyTampa's KMDW and KSAN sceneries and AES for both and rebuilt the scenery data base in FSNav after installation -- could this strange behavior be caused due to some error in FSNav? Or was there some sort of storm in that area that I missed in my flight planning?If anybody knows what might have happened to me I'd be very interested in learning from this experience. Was this a severe updraft, or a tornado perhaps? There was some severe precipitation showing on Active Radar and I was flying through dark clouds most of the time, but I thought I had flown around it, and winds aloft data from Active Sky 6.5 didn't exceed 65 kts anywhere along the route. I'm hoping that this isn't part of that phantom command issue many of us have been having with the new Saitek yoke, but that cause seems to be eliminated by my subsequent long flight to KSAN. I may plug my old CH Products yoke in tonight anyway and have a go with the route using that, and then see what happens.Any help or insight from anyone who lives in the area, real world pilots and/or anyone with a similar experience would be appreciated. I'm truly baffled and would like to learn from this and know what to look for to avoid this kind of trouble in the future.

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My guess would be either weather or the dreaded Saitek yoke random keys. My yoke went back because of how it liked to do things like drop flaps and/or gear during cruise. On the weather side, sometimes you can hit areas between weather stations where you can get extreme wind changes. You can usually smooth these inside ActiveSky and FSUIPC. I think the option under FSUIPC allows you to slow down wind changes so you don't get crazy shifts.

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Craig:Just curious -- do you use FSUIPC? Registered or unregistered and which version number?I plugged my CH Yoke back in and used it last night and experienced a new "random key press issue" that was never there before. I wonder if FSUIPC has something to do with this whole mystery.Thanks, and Smooth Skies!Chuck

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Yes, I use the registered FSUIPC, I think I have the latest FS2004 version which I think is 3.75. Not sure about random keys if you removed the Saitek yoke... I would check the assignments inside fs2004 to make sure multiple things aren't assigned to the same button. fs2004 can do strange things when switching controllers. Not sure if this is something FSUIPC would help specifically, but it is one of those programs that has so many uses that it is well worth it.

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By random key, I mean "random": I didn't touch anything, but was only banking when one of the few things I had assigned through FSUIPC just popped up. The CH Yoke had never done anything like that before.I agree that FSUIPC is well worth it, but if the fault is indeed not with the Saitek (or CH Products) yoke maybe everyone over at Saitek has been looking in the wrong place for the solution. Interaction with a program like FSUIPC is exactly the type of thing Saitek might miss, and it might explain why some people are having the issue and others aren't: not everyone uses FSUIPC. I certainly don't want to give the people over at Saitek tech support another easy excuse out of possible poor product design, but it smells like somebody should look into it. What do you think? I'll also do some more experimentation over the weekend.I just ordered the CH throttle quad, too, with overnight delivery from Amazon, confident that I was going to return my (second) defective Saitek yoke.Chuck

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Did you physically unplug your Saitek yoke from the PC? On my PC, the only time I ever got random keys was with the Saitek yoke plugged in. The moment I unplugged the thing, all my issues went away. In my opinion, nothing should cause random key presses except bad hardware. At least on my system, the Saitek yoke was 100% the cause of the problem. I've been flying fs2004 with FSUIPC for years and years, and the only time I have ever had random keystrokes was with the Saitek yoke plugged in on my system.

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Yes, of course I physically unplugged and uninstalled the Saitek yoke and drivers. And my experience with FSUIPC has been the same as yours: no probs whatsoever until the Saitek yoke was introduced -- none whatsoever.But I had one keystroke combination assigned through FSUIPC last night - one and one alone -- and the CH suddenly exhibited similar behavior to the Saitek with only that particular keystroke command. What I'm saying is that maybe there's some remnant or artifact in the Saitek drivers that don't play well with FSUIPC and the "experts" at Saitek didn't know enough about the hobby to test that avenue.I'm just wondering -- the whole issue, and the way in which Saitek (a company of which I've never had a very high opinion) has been very strange.

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Testing the Saitek yoke is easy enough.. just plug it in and open up the Windows controller setup right through windows. On the calibration screen, it will show any key presses. I didn't have the patience, but if someone wants to stare at that screen and see if anything presses without any input, that would prove the problem right there. I suppose you could also map each button to a letter on the keyboard, then open up a word processor or text editor and walk away. If you come back to find random letters... well that would rule out anything FS or FSUIPC related. I sent mine back before bothering to test it. You can search the hardware forum here, some people did think it was driver related. Also, the official forum has a bunch of information. As for FSUIPC issues, you can backup your config file and start over to see if that is an issue.

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I know: I have a thread going here myself from last month, and have contributed to the one over at Saitek. But I'll tell ya' -- I really don't have the time to be doing hardware testing for Saitek, especially since it appears that they don't! But if it's "easily" fixed I do like the feel of their yoke better than the CH plastic one.Chuck

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