Handy little mini Autopilot panel

Last week I received a handy little autopilot panel. It enhanced my flying experience in VR quite a bit. It’s such a nice little panel and I had not seen this unit before so I thought I’d share it here.

I stumbled across a video on Youtube (https://youtu.be/cw3XfAj2Cpg) about a small unit made by the same company (Axair). I was looking for a small AP/Nav/Com panel to go with my VR flying experience. Doing everything with a mouse is not ideal. You have to react quickly to ATC giving you new altitudes, headings, QNH, FLC, VS, etc. So I was looking for something to accompany my Logitech X52 Pro Hotas. There are quite some buttons on the Hotas, but not enough to utilize the autopilot panel in many aircraft and they are also not organized in a way that they can function as an autopilot. I don’t have room on my desk for Saitek panels or a honeycomb Bravo and I don’t want to spend € 400 on a Virpil panel.

The unit I purchased is the Axair Miap. See AXBOX SHOP (laptime.nl). It is small but it can do a lot. There are 6 rotary knobs that can also be pressed, 11 buttons and two switches. I has a lot of possibilities for both GA aircraft, jets and airliners. You have to program it yourself in the sim, but that is quite easy and there are some instruction videos online. It has rubber feet on the bottom so it doesn’t slide easily. The buttons are quite sturdy, but not to the same level of a Virpil or Warthog panel. But it isn’t very expensive. I paid (incl. shipping and import duties) around € 85.

There two other products that I find interesting too: the Axair Mili (basic light functions and some other knobs), Axair Easy (does everything this unit does but even smaller). The mini controls are not my taste but if you’re travelling a lot and want to fly on your laptop it may be for you.

In conclusion if you are looking for a small panel with loads of functionality this is for you. Highly recommended!

3 Likes

Well you sold me on the Axair Miap and Mili. Of course, their videos helped too.

There is currently a shortage for Miap but they still had a few Mili units left. Not certain when I’ll end up getting them but I’m looking forward to it. The ability to use rotary dials with ease will improve my experience with MSFS 2020. I have carpal tunnel and peripheral neuropathy and the need to get a precise mouse selection has been hard to do. I already have a Saitek yoke and quadrant so this will round it out quite well. I haven’t been too excited to get any of the other peripherals that have been out for a while due to size and expense. As I use my computer for a desk as well, I want to maintain a smaller footprint.

Thanks for you post!

You’re welcome! When I ordered the Miap they were on backorder too. But it shipped a week later (maybe I was lucky). After shipping (from Thailand) it took about two weeks for it to arrive in The Netherlands. I hope you get yours soon!

1 Like

I received my MIAP today and began setting it up in the MSFS configuration. And I hesitated when trying to decide just what functions would be most useful for these buttons and knobs. For example is the ALT button better set to maintain current altitude or set AP altitude?

So I went searching on the Net for other peoples’ suggestions and found nothing. There must be something out there and I just failed to find it?

Anyway, could you guys, and anyone else reading this, please post your configuration or your recommendations for assignments you have.

Thanks.

Just to add: the Xtouch Mini is also a great button panel for the sim. Only 55 eur, with 8 rotary encoders (dials) and 16 buttons, which can also be set in 2 different modes ( resulting in basically 16 rotary dials and 32 buttons). Seems to be cheaper than this.

See Behringer X-Touch mini works flawless

You have the marked alt button, the rotary dial and the rotary push button that can be assigned. So two buttons are available. Does that help?

I must admit I like my Behringer I added to my Miap and Mili. Rotaries are much bigger and I like the feedback with the lights. Although I have now added a Stream Deck XL and like it’s configurability as well. So I now have a plethora of buttons and rotaries to contend with but little chance of needing more controllers in the future!

Thank you Mr. Bill. Yes I know WHAT button/knob to use, but what should I assign to that button?

For example, the rotary HDG knob can obviously be turned to increase or decrease heading bug as it is rotated.

But that knob can also be clicked and I was not sure what MSFS function to assign to the knob’s click function. Should that be Select Heading Bug (whatever that is used for? I can adjust the heading numbers on the AP without clicking anything. Just turning the knob is enough!)

Or should that be Set Heading Bug, and that too is something that I am not sure what it does! What is the difference between Set and Select?

And below the knob is another button labelled HDG? Yes, I know I can assign ANYTHING to that button. I can toggle landing gear with it if I choose, but I am looking for advice from more experienced Sim Pilots to make up for my lack of experience, and make best use of these controls.

Perhaps the button could be used to tell the AP to turn and follow the existing Heading Bug setting, or maybe it should tell the AP to maintain the aircraft’s CURRENT heading, or maybe it does not tell the AP anything but just change the bug itself? Yes, I need help!

It is a bit of a mess and different in several planes too. What works in one, doesn’t in the other. If some one could make a diagram with a cockpit and all the knobs/rotaries and the corresponding name in the list that would be very helpful (or maybe Asobo/MS could come up with something). I’m not sure if they changed it in SU5, but it for instance FLC in the TBM works without a problem, in the CJ4 I can’t get it to work (I haven’t found the right listing for it)…

Yes, I understand you might want different settings for different aircraft, and MSFS allows Profiles to cater for that.

But I am not at that stage yet and am just looking for some help to get a STARTING configuration working.

It’s fun isn’t it?

I think what would make this easier for me is if I could see some sort of operational procedure, that is a step by step sequence in an actual situation.

Say we set up a flight in say, the A320, and we go through the steps normally followed:
eg:

Before takeoff:
set AP off;
set HDG Bug to runway heading (Do I have to “Set Heading Bug” to do that? Or maybe “Select Heading Bug”? Or just rotate the bug to the right position on the dial with no other functions needed?)
set AP altitude to ummm, 3000 ft (Any Set or Select functions needed here?)

After takeoff:
Set AP on;
Tell AP to maintain runway heading, that is follow the bug. (What function tells the AP to follow the bug?)
Tell AP to climb to 3000 ft, that is the setting in the AP. What function does that?
Do we also need to set VS? How do we activate the VS?

I guess there are other procedures too, like Auto Throttle? Set that after passing say, 1000 ft?

And what about navigation stuff? Do we configure the AP to use GPS or better to use VOR?

Oh I am sure there are many more questions… Sorry to be so naive, but I have been enjoying just flying VFR with the lovely eye candy out there. Getting serious now and need to relearn a few basics.

Perhaps there is a web site somewhere that already answers these questions?

Great suggestion, thanks!

The way I wanted to set it up it to “mimic” the actual operation in the plane of the AP panel. Even though they are a bit different for the different planes the most important functions are the same and can be configured with the MIAP.

The actual programming can be seen here: https://youtu.be/nXXSoM9buUw (for the MIAP) and
https://youtu.be/Nz2MfGOZMaw (for another panel, but helpful nonetheless)

The operation is different on different planes, but also in different situations. Sometimes you would use VS, but when climbing using FLC is more common. When descending VS can be helpful to figure out where your TOD is, etc. The CJ4 has a VNAV function in it that is quite convenient.

So my thought is to ‘replicate’ the actual panel. The C208 and TBM 930 are to best to start out with, because you can replicate most functions of those. I haven’t gone into Airliners yet so I can’t say for the A320. Those have highly complex systems especially if your flying with a more study level plane like the FBW A32NX.

I don’t use the panel for communications (I let the AI do it). However I do use it for the QNH settings (in the list it’s under Kollsman but also under Altimeter - so it’s a bit of a mess as I stated earlier).

Thank you for the detailed reply.

After watching that You Tube video and reading the MIAP manual I understand HOW to program the various buttons and knobs. I am just struggling now with WHAT to program.

But I am being lazy and looking for someone else to make those decisions for me. And as I mentioned before, I still don’t fully understand the difference between some of the MSFS functions eg Set and Select. And I just had to go and look up the meaning of FLC, a term I am not familiar with.

But you have given me enough to work on, thank you. I will just go a configure some buttons with Set and some with Select and whatever other functions I think might be relevant. Then go flying!

I will find out for myself what functions I need and what work best for me. Once I know what functions I want to use, it should then be easy to figure out what buttons and knobs to use.

I just thought it would be easier to follow someone else who has already done it. Lol

This little MIAP box is a joy to use and will make sim flying so much more satisfying. Thank you for making it easier for me.

Oh dear, I am back again with just one more question please.

I am just having trouble with the Heading function. Forgetting the MIAP for the moment, let’s say I am flying manually on a heading of say 020, and I set the heading bug to 090. I turn the AP on. Then, with the mouse, I click the AP’s HDG button and the aircraft turns to 090. That is how it should work, right?

Now to the MIAP…. I have the rotary knob for HDG configured to inc/dec the Heading Bug. That is working fine and I can adjust the bug to, say, 090. Now I want to click the HDG button on the MIAP to tell the aircraft to turn to 090. I want to use the MIAP instead of using the mouse to click the HDG button on the screen.

Note, I don’t want to “Maintain Current Heading”, or to move the Bug from where it is, I want to effectively “click the HDG button” and turn to 090!

But I can’t find the MSFS function to use. Can you guys please tell me what MSFS function to assign to the MIAP’s HDG button