Flight controller hardware?

  • I'm considering buying a more suitable controller for Aerofly FS 2 on my PC than the Xbox controller that I'm currently using.


    I've had a look around online and the market leaders/most popular offerings appear to be from Logitech/Saitek Thrustmaster and CH Products.


    I'm reluctant to spend a fortune - ideally I'm looking for something with a price-point of around £100 (GBP) give or take a little, preferably with the flexibility to allow their use for control of other games - e.g. the yoke as a steering wheel for driving sims etc. I'm also unsure whether a traditional yoke design is best or to go for a stick, since they are now becoming more widespread, particularly on large/commercial airliners.


    My search so far has yielded the following items as possible solutions:


    Logitech G Saitek X52 Flight Control System
    There is a Q&A on Amazon that concerns me - there seems to be an issue regarding wiring which depends on the manufacture, i.e. whether it's an original Saitek build or constructed by Logitech.



    Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas

    Seems to be liked but again, I'm back to the decision of Stick or Yoke...



    Logitech G Saitek Pro Flight Control System

    The Saitek vs Logitech Saitek issue again. They look identical as do the specs but there is a price difference, I'm guessing there is a reason but I don't know what it is.

    The Saitek Pro Flight Control System which appears to be identical -

    Saitek Pro Flight Control System


    I haven't listed/linked any CH Products Yokes/quadrants due to their typically significantly higher prices that put them out of my range for now.



    I'd be grateful for any help.


    Many thanks.

  • If you have any VR interest, I'd recommend a stick so you can mount it on your side, allowing plenty of clear space in front of you to use the VR controllers to reach the VR instrument panel without bumping into any real-world objects like a yoke clamped to your desk.

  • If you have any VR interest, I'd recommend a stick so you can mount it on your side, allowing plenty of clear space in front of you to use the VR controllers to reach the VR instrument panel without bumping into any real-world objects like a yoke clamped to your desk.

    Thanks Ken,


    Yes, I'm using the Oculus Rift CV1 with Touch Controllers. I've been reluctant to revert to the traditional stick again but based on your recommendation I might reconsider opposed to switching to a yoke.


    I still frequently skip VR and go back to the monitor so I'm guessing it's swings and roundabouts, although, based on my wishes for flexibility when it comes to the controller for other sims and games, the stick probably wins over the yoke, despite my intention to also use for driving sims, e.g. "Dirt"

  • Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas

    Seems to be liked but again, I'm back to the decision of Stick or Yoke...

    I own this one. Very solid, easy setup, and it comes complete with stick, throttle and rudder pedals if you order so. I'm currently not using the VR hands, but this hardware and I'm very satisfied with it.

    Cheers, Ed

    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 | i7-5820k | 32GB RAM | 3xSSD Samsung 1TB | MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming X 11GB | LG 29UC97C UW Curved | Oculus Rift VR | TM FCS HOTAS // Gaming Laptop ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW | Windows 10 Home | i7-8750H | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD | Nvidia RTX 2070 | TM FCS HOTAS

  • I'm ALMOST ready to commit and buy, one way or another.


    Based on Ken's advice I should probably skip Yoke's and go for a stick I think - on that basis it comes down to these:


    Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas (PC) - Thanks Ed.


    or


    Logitech G Saitek X52 Flight Control System


    I'm disappointed with the lack of a separate quadrant, offering additional/isolated controls. That was a major appeal when included with the Logitech G Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System.

  • EGPF, one scenario I'm curious to try is to mount the Thrustmaster joystick to the left side of my office chair and use the VR controller in my right hand for throttle control and instrument adjustments. Throttle doesn't need the same precision/feel as the yoke does.


    I'll have to push my chair back some from my VR Desk so I don't bump anything with the VR controller but I'll still be able to use the rudder pedals plus the ButtKicker has a long enough cable that it will still work. Hopefully WMR users will get haptic feedback later this month.


    This arrangement will work for many of the FS2 aircraft - for the others, I'll need the flexibility to mount the joystick on the right side.

  • Logitech G Saitek X52 Flight Control System

    For more info, I had this one before the Thrustmaster, when it was just Saitek, and is also good. I liked Saitek controls, but now they're part of Logitech and honestly the Logitech controls only last two or three years at best, on my experience.

    Cheers, Ed

    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 | i7-5820k | 32GB RAM | 3xSSD Samsung 1TB | MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming X 11GB | LG 29UC97C UW Curved | Oculus Rift VR | TM FCS HOTAS // Gaming Laptop ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL704GW | Windows 10 Home | i7-8750H | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD | Nvidia RTX 2070 | TM FCS HOTAS

  • 2 more comments:


    - my son has the X52 (Saitek), I didn't like the feel - joystick felt top-heavy and loose vs the Thrustmaster which has a firm resistance near the bottom of the joystick. I also thought the Logitech throttle felt top-heavy - TM throttle feels easier to adjust


    - rudder pedals add a lot of realism as they have toe brakes on each pedal


    The other bummer about the Saitek version it used just 1 USB cable + a special cable to connect the joystick to the throttle box. I believe Logitech fixed that in their version (each controller has its own USB cable).

  • EGPF, one scenario I'm curious to try is to mount the Thrustmaster joystick to the left side of my office chair and use the VR controller in my right hand for throttle control and instrument adjustments. Throttle doesn't need the same precision/feel as the yoke does.


    I'll have to push my chair back some from my VR Desk so I don't bump anything with the VR controller but I'll still be able to use the rudder pedals plus the ButtKicker has a long enough cable that it will still work. Hopefully WMR users will get haptic feedback later this month.


    This arrangement will work for many of the FS2 aircraft - for the others, I'll need the flexibility to mount the joystick on the right side.

    Your assistance has been very helpful Ken,


    I have to return to requesting advice regarding a suitable control solution that best suits my requirements at this stage though.

  • For more info, I had this one before the Thrustmaster, when it was just Saitek, and is also good. I liked Saitek controls, but now they're part of Logitech and honestly the Logitech controls only last two or three years at best, on my experience.

    Cheers, Ed

    That's certainly helpful Ed.


    As I mentioned in previous posts, Saitek appears less reputable than Logitech - certainly Saitek, after merging with Mad-Catz, went down the pan - sad, since both companies were reputable.


    Logitech, good luck to them, hopefully can manage to salvage some success from them.

  • I recently went through the same controller quandary you are. I had a Logitech extreme 3D. A friend loaned me an X52 and a CH HOTAS stick, and I watched a lot of review videos. The X56 is very poorly thought of because of quality control issues. I ended up with the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS bundle ($100). It has gobs of programmable control inputs, and high resolution sensors. The big negative is excessive stick pressure (spring tension higher even than the Logitech 3D), from which several mods have resulted -- including making your own spring out of coat hanger wire. The popular fix of compressing the spring with zip ties (shorter spring) results in a dead spot in the rudder axis, and movement "bumps" due to the buckles on the zip tie. Also, depending on where the buckles end up, 100% throw in all directions may not be available. I went to the trouble of grinding down the spring wire diameter to about a 50% reduction in tension This provided no negative side effects, but is laborious. Probably the quickest and easiest is using monofilament to compress the spring, bypassing the zip tie buckle issues, but because you are shortening the spring, the rudder dead spot remains. Another side effect of the spring shortening method is that pressure in all 360 degrees may not be "symmetrical". p.s. I also searched for just buying an alternate spring but could find nothing usable.


    I went with a stick because I fly aerobatic and fighter planes, but if you are flying anything else (commercial airliners, or business planes, etc.) you would probably be happier with a control yoke.


    Good Luck!

  • I recently went through the same controller quandary you are. I had a Logitech extreme 3D. A friend loaned me an X52 and a CH HOTAS stick, and I watched a lot of review videos. The X56 is very poorly thought of because of quality control issues. I ended up with the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS bundle ($100). It has gobs of programmable control inputs, and high resolution sensors. The big negative is excessive stick pressure (spring tension higher even than the Logitech 3D), from which several mods have resulted -- including making your own spring out of coat hanger wire. The popular fix of compressing the spring with zip ties (shorter spring) results in a dead spot in the rudder axis, and movement "bumps" due to the buckles on the zip tie. Also, depending on where the buckles end up, 100% throw in all directions may not be available. I went to the trouble of grinding down the spring wire diameter to about a 50% reduction in tension This provided no negative side effects, but is laborious. Probably the quickest and easiest is using monofilament to compress the spring, bypassing the zip tie buckle issues, but because you are shortening the spring, the rudder dead spot remains. Another side effect of the spring shortening method is that pressure in all 360 degrees may not be "symmetrical". p.s. I also searched for just buying an alternate spring but could find nothing usable.


    I went with a stick because I fly aerobatic and fighter planes, but if you are flying anything else (commercial airliners, or business planes, etc.) you would probably be happier with a control yoke.


    Good Luck!

    Thanks Roy.


    I know from your previous posts that, like me, you are pedantic and extremely selective when making a buying choice.


    I'm really struggling with the decision - primarily, whether to opt for a yoke or a stick, then, inevitably, which manufacturer, range and model to choose. Unfortunately, from your reply, it sounds like there is no off-the shelf-solution that delivers an ideal experience.


    For now I'll follow your example and continue to ponder the choices despite it becoming frustrating!


    I'm even resorting to searching eBay but, as usual with that particular resource, beware; so many overpriced offerings when you compare them to buying new if you shop around.

  • I think the kinds of planes you fly will dictate the kind of controller that works best. If most of the planes you fly have a yoke, then get that. If the majority of planes you plan to fly have a stick, then get that. Either choice will work on all planes. If you go VR keep in mind you are using the controller by "braille", so it has to be usable by muscle memory/feel. :)


    p.s. Check out kenvention's setup (the VR Cockpit Desk link above). He is an example of the effort a lot of flight sim people have gone to create an in-home flight experience (did you know there are even 3-axis gravity chairs!). I'm going with a "creeping commitment" plan -- starting with just a joystick HOTAS arrangement. I'm anticipating that as VR develops, the need to build a cockpit in your home will diminish. But I may end up with more hardware on my desk at some point in time, including a yoke controller if I start flying those kinds of planes (for now I'm an SEL/Fighter/Glider kind of guy).

  • First flight with traditional joystick on the left and VR controller for throttle and instrument changes !




    Still using rudder pedals and the ButtKicker. I used some leftover plywood and L-plates to make the mount.


    Seems like the best of both worlds - left hand always on the joystick/yoke and right hand free to adjust throttle/flaps/gear and instruments/radios using the VR controller. Looking forward to haptic feedback once Microsoft turns that on.

  • I think the kinds of planes you fly will dictate the kind of controller that works best. If most of the planes you fly have a yoke, then get that. If the majority of planes you plan to fly have a stick, then get that. Either choice will work on all planes. If you go VR keep in mind you are using the controller by "braille", so it has to be usable by muscle memory/feel. :)


    p.s. Check out kenvention's setup (the VR Cockpit Desk link above). He is an example of the effort a lot of flight sim people have gone to create an in-home flight experience (did you know there are even 3-axis gravity chairs!). I'm going with a "creeping commitment" plan -- starting with just a joystick HOTAS arrangement. I'm anticipating that as VR develops, the need to build a cockpit in your home will diminish. But I may end up with more hardware on my desk at some point in time, including a yoke controller if I start flying those kinds of planes (for now I'm an SEL/Fighter/Glider kind of guy).

    I'm more of a traditional flight simmer and don't tend to go so much for military craft or gliders where a stick is definitely the best option, although stick control is rapidly becoming more standard, even in commercial airliners - now I'm complicating the choice myself!


    Your advice is certainly helpful Roy and I'll take it onboard.


    I thought I might be asking too much when I started this thread/topic but had hoped there might have been a definitive answer - basically someone would have said buy this or that but clearly it isn't so easy!

  • Your setup is certainly impressive and something to aspire to.


    I've bookmarked your link to the construction details on the instructables site - it might be something I get around to eventually!

  • I purchased a yoke for FSX when flying the Boeing Heavy’s. Problem being is that you only use it for approx 2 minutes of the whole flight.


    I just use the TM HOTAS now which I’ve had for years, along with rudder pedals. Just waiting for my Pimax 8K now.


    I’ve also got a buttkicker and gametrix jet seat 💺 which work very well together.

  • First flight with traditional joystick on the left and VR controller for throttle and instrument changes !

    This is good info -- thanks for sharing. I haven't had time to work on some kind of hybrid physical + VR controls thing, so whatever you are discovering will be useful to us. How are you getting around the desk-blocking throttle problem in the C172? By sitting way back before WMR Portal gets launched?


    Looks like your "cockpit" would be suitable for Airbus heavies also. My son is an aeronautical engineer for Boeing and told me they went with a yoke on the 787 and probably anything future because that's what the pilots have requested in their surveys.


    Later...