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MFD Cougar
By: Andy Medley

MFD Cougar
Thrustmaster
www.fthrustmaster.com

Buttons and switches totalling 48 programmable controls, my
mind is whizzing what more does flight simulator need. In this review i use a
Saitek X52 and a normal standard keyboard so the 48 controls do come in handy.
For the diehard fans on flightsim this could be a push too far in this review we
look at its role within the standard cockpit and fighter cockpits. (Thrustmaster
is proud to offer a pack of 2 MFD Cougar modules, taking users another big step
towards total immersion in flight sim games. The ideal companion for joysticks
and yokes on the market, the MFD Cougar Pack lets virtual pilots enjoy more
realistic flight conditions than ever before.)
MFD Cougar Review


Thrustmaster have made many a great products for the flight simulator ranging
from yoke’s and racing wheels. But there latest move into MFD panels looks good
but will it be good.
The MFD Cougar modules from Thrustmaster are replicas of those found onboard the
legendary US-Air Force F-16 jet fighter aircraft. They are compatible with all
military or civil flight simulator games that support multi USB.

In the Box:
In the box you will find i small CD manual and 10 placement cards for inside the
MFD, 2 Plexiglas windows and a manual, plus 4 hard plastic stands oh and the 2
MFD cougar screens.
Many could say nothing much for your money as i place the items in listings, but
in your hand you will feel quality in the build made from hard plastics and a
part from plastic covered card inserts it’s worth the money.
The box in tiny compared to the size of the bag mine came in i could of fitted a
small baby in my bag.

Expectations:
The MFD pack is really for you to fly without using the keyboard, and an
alternative to Go-Flight Modules that cost the earth to buy. And who knows you
may not like FS 1 year down the line and the cougar pack will not be a big loss
to you even if you cannot sell it onwards.
The MFD will look after you for instance, when a button which is assigned to
Doors is pushed, the respective MFD button operates the aircraft DOOR or canopy,
where canopy of course is applicable. This is possible because of the profiler
file.

Brief on the Screens:
Around each side of the display unit, you’ll find 20 programmable buttons which
are, by the way, back lighted. There are also four switches named GAIN, BRT, CON
and SYM, which allows you to control, depending on the inserted card and
software profile, the flaps, elevator trim, landing gear extending/retracting
etc. Operating those switches and buttons goes very easy, and there’s no need to
put a placard on it because the inserted card tells you what kind of function it
offers.
In other words, it’s ready for use and because the MFD’s weight is a little more
than expected from plastic, it’s easy to press them without moving the whole
display. If you wanted to, you could dismantle the two halve of each display
unit and mount them directly to a screen or in a handmade cockpit. Confused or
worried about how you do this? All the information is within the manual.
MFD Cougar Review

Cards:
On the cards you will see pre-printed information such as aircraft type Airliner
pilot / Light Aircraft / Generic pilot and also the Fighter Pilot profile there
on the poly-card insert.
Already mentioned before, for those who like to connect the display units in
relation to FS9, just download those cards via the offered Acrobat file from the
previous mentioned Thrustmaster website. The three lower screenshots are an
extraction of this Acrobat file.

Manual & CD:
The paperback version of the user manual comes in 8 different languages, I took
the English version which covers 18 pages of what and how to install it and how
to program it (program is probably not the correct word). Regarding the program
I missed some things, namely examples. We will see when it’s time to check this
programming. …it comes in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese,
and Russian

Some people will say the Mini Cd which comes supplied could cause concerns, but
i have not seen a simmer that works or fly’s from an upright tower where the
Cd-Drive stands side on maybe 2% of simmer can suffer. But im sure Thrustmaster
will offer the drivers from the net like many other companies' do these days.
All the software installation and configuration steps including the activation
of the different profiles are discussed in the manual. Overall impression of the
manual is very good.

Installation:
That’s really simple and straightforward: just insert the mini CD and the
installer shows the user a start-up screen. Here you’re able to register your
product, install the driver, read the user manuals, and install DirectX and
Acrobat Reader (if required). You don’t need most of the things related to
manuals nor DirectX but it’s all supplied if you need it.
After many installations of product that work from your PC you will need to
restart to correctly install the modules. Simple just like that you will find
there installed and ready.

Test:
We tested only the General Pilot cards in the module’s and flown around 12 hours
using the MFD i must say i was i little confused at first as i kept on reaching
out for the keyboard but not long after my brain kicked in and away we was
flying and not using the keyboard for much other than volume control.
These are just some of the features we used:

Pushback / Virtual Cockpit/View (cycle)/ doors (opens the canopy)/
Kneeboard/Light all/Landing light and many more were used in the display. Other
than the MFD sipping on my desk i had no faults with this package at all.

Conclusion:
Although the Thrustmaster MFDs don’t offer real TFTs, it’s much cheaper than
Go-flight i feel thing like the Go-flight modules are for the pro but if you
just test water MFD Pack is for you 100%. That the package doesn’t come with
FS2004 cards is a shame but not that big a problem because those cards can be
downloaded for free at the Thrustmaster’s website. That the software comes on a
mini CD looks nice, but imagine you have a CD/DVD drive mounted vertically, then
this could lead to a problem. Ok, also in this case you’re able to download the
software directly from their website, but honestly I prefer a normal sized CD
and also the FS2004 cards together in the box.

Ok, just in one sentence: Altogether it’s nice looking hardware and well
designed, great backlighting options, great basic software; however I do miss
dedicated profiles for the most known add-on aircraft models. With that being
said, you pay €79.99 including VAT for the MFD Cougar Pack within European
countries excluding shipping costs.

Review rundown:
Great module well put together made to last, Worth the money i could
not find better out there other than the pricey Go-Flight Modules also make’s
flying a dream so it’s a hit with me. Now it’s your turn see you in the sky’s
above.
 
System Requirements: System Tested On:
USB Sockets X2 Microsoft FSX
Windows XP-Home
AMD 6000+ D-core
4Gb Ram OCZ
PNY 9400Gt 512Mb
MSI K9N Sli Pro

What I Don't Like What I Do Like
No fs2004 Insert cards Back-Lighting

Price: £71.30 $116.00 €79.99 Rating: Silver
Reviewd By: Andy Medley Date: 13 Jan 2010
YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M48wI1UYyFk