For the last couple of years I’ve been very happily flying with a WarBRD base and grip as my primary flight control system. VIRPIL sent this unit to me for review and I gave it high marks for its robust construction, solid feel, and precision controls. From the warbirds of WWI and WWII to advanced jet fighters to civilian aircraft and everything in between, it’s the WarBRD that has been making it happen. That is, until several weeks ago where I noticed that, mid flight, I had lost everything but my pitch and roll controls.
Finding the problem
Some initial diagnostics revealed that none of the buttons on my grip worked and neither did the Z-axis. My initial assumption was that the grip itself had been the thing that failed. A friend graciously sent me their first generation MongoosT-50 grip to see if it that would fix the problem. It didn’t. Their grip didn’t work any better than mine.
At that point I reached out to Virpil’s Support team and to the Virpil support forum. Recommendations from both sources were swift and extremely helpful. The problem, seeing as I had narrowed things down a fair bit already, was likely to be in the connector cable that went between the WarBRD control board and the plate on the top of the base where the unit connects to the grip.
The solution was to order a replacement part from the VIRPIL website. The VPC Base Connector Cable is €8.95 which is reasonable. It also ended up costing me about $47 CDN after shipping but that’s not VIRPIL’s fault. At least it didn’t get caught up in the shipping nightmare that’s unfolding in the Suez canal right now!
Waiting for the fix
The part was back ordered and did take several weeks to arrive so in the meantime I’m very glad that I was able to make use of my old VKB Gladiator Mark I. I limited my sims and aircraft to those without a lot of buttons and ones that I didn’t need to spend a lot of time reconfiguration controls and I spent some time with Train Sim World 2 as well. Sometimes it is good to take a break after all!
Fast forward to Thursday when my new part arrived. It came in a box together with a nice VIRPIL Controls button.
After spending some time doing a little surgery on the WarBRD I was able to remove the old connector cable and then install the new one taking great pains not to move anything else out of place and ensuring that the cable wouldn’t be in the way of any moving parts.
Putting it to the test
Then it was time to put it to the test. And the result? It’s good! It was just the cable after all and full functionality has now been restored. I celebrated by getting into DCS World and putting the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet back through it’s paces after several weeks away. Fortunately, I remember how to do nearly everything and I was up and blasting targets in the air and on the ground.
I am now back to being a happy camper with my flight sim setup. The Gladiator Mark I is a fine stick but it’s a cheaper and less capable unit compared to the WarBRD that I’ve grown to love. Having it back in action is absolutely great news. I do make the maximum use of my flight sim gear and having a relatively cheap part, something that was easily user serviceable, bring my WarBRD back to full functioning made me very happy. Rather than having to toss out the unit and get something new, I was able to fix it myself with nothing more than some tweezers and an Allen-key.
So, thanks to a friend of mine for the grip to test and see if it would work, thanks to VIRPIL Suport for their quick and helpful service, and thanks generally to VIRPIL for making sure that the back order on the part wasn’t that long.