Pc flight simulator controllers: The Best Flight Sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator

The Best Flight Sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Video game flight is having a moment. Maybe being stuck inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic opened everyone’s eyes to the joys of exploring the world from the skies. Microsoft Flight Simulator surprised us all with its blend of depth and accessibility, on PC as well as on the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles. Whether it’s flying over real-world locations or contending with real-time weather patterns, this love letter to aviation is positively poetic.

Normal video game controls are already tricky enough, whether you’re using a gamepad or a keyboard and mouse. However, flight controls truly challenge you to take your technical skills to the next level. For that extra layer of accuracy when flying video game planes, for yaw control like you’ve never seen, you’ll need a flight stick (not to be confused with a fight stick).

Microsoft Flight Simulator Is a Love Letter to Aviation

Thanks to the release of the biggest flight sim in years, this niche hardware may tough to find. If you can’t get your mitts on a full hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) setup, you may need to settle for something like a vertical mouse or another joystick alternative(Opens in a new window). However, if you do spot a gaming flight stick, these are the ones we suggest you snatch up before take off. 

These sticks are also good for more than just fun but dry flight sims. If aerial combat is more your thing, Ace Combat 7 resurrected that franchise after a decade-long hiatus. Meanwhile, Star Wars Squadrons delivers a next-gen upgrade to the classic sci-fi fantasy of piloting X-Wings and TIE Fighters. Here are the best flight sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator and other flight-based video games. 

Best for a Realistic Piloting Experience

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog

$499.09 at Amazon

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Thrustmaster is a name you’re going to see a lot on this list considering just how strong the brand is when it comes to flight sticks. If you’re looking for the best of the best, no matter what it costs, go with the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog. This metal beauty looks like it was lovingly ripped right out of its real namesake airplane, and has the array of throttle and dual-engine inputs to match.

Best for Xbox Series X/S Owners

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight

$379.95 at Turtle Beach

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One of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s greatest achievements is how it turned the tricky and technical flight sim genre into something accessible and exciting for newcomers. That said, while you can enjoy the game on consoles with a standard Xbox controller, Xbox Series X/S owners who want to up their immersion should consider the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight. This premium, realistic, modular design gives you all the brake, rudder, and yoke inputs you need to turn your couch into a cockpit.

Best for Make-Believe Boeings

Thrustmaster TCA Yoke Pack Boeing Edition

$496. 79 at Amazon

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The whole point of playing a simulation is to approximate the real world as closely as possible. With this Thrustmaster TCA Yoke Pack, you don’t just control a real plane, but you specifically control a Boeing 787. Every bit of this flight stick is designed to resemble what you would find in the cockpit of the real aircraft, from its sturdy metal frame to the “surgically precise” proprietary throttles. 

Best for PlayStation 4 Owners

Hori HOTAS Flight Stick

$199.99 at Amazon

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Hardware peripherals for PlayStation consoles tend to be slightly different than their Xbox and PC counterparts. Flight sticks are no different. From Hori, makers of fine fight sticks, this HOTAS Flight Stick lets PS4 owners put their hands on the throttle and joystick. It’s also compatible with PC, so this may be the one flight stick to suit all your needs. Just remember that you can’t play Microsoft Flight Simulator on your Sony PlayStation.

Best for a Midrange Thrustmaster Experience

Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X

$274.00 at Newegg

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For a slightly more affordable Thrustmaster experience, consider the midrange T.Flight HOTAS X. While it is made of plastic, it’s hard to care since you enjoy Z-axis rotation for rudder controls (something the HOTAS Warthog lacks unless you get external pedals) and a nifty detachable throttle for a more comfortable setup. 

Best for Arcade Action

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick

$29.99 at Amazon

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Logitech’s budget flight stick is another accessible option. The streamlined controls and rapid fire button make it perfect for action-packed, arcade experiences rather than elaborate flight sims. Still, you can tweak the Extreme 3D Pro more to your liking with programmable buttons and Z-axis rudder control.

Best for Budget Flying

Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition

$69. 99 at Abt Electronics

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This is the budget pick for Thrustmaster flight sticks. However, along with saving you cash, the TCA Sidestick Airbus may prove less intimidating than a full-fledged flight stick that’s covered in scary buttons and knobs. The joystick still offers flight controls more powerful than a regular controller. When you’re ready to go further, this stick also plays nice with other Thrustmaster accessories.

Best for RGB Lighting

Logitech X56 HOTAS RGB Throttle and Stick Controller

$206.95 at Amazon

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Logitech’s premier flight stick is a great, new potential choice. The build quality impresses with its light, but solid, metal body and suction cup stability. You can customize it in a variety of ways, from programming more than 180 controls to flying with unlocked individual engines to adjusting throttle panel knobs to playing around with RGB lighting.

Best for Flight Pedals

Thrustmaster TFRP Pedals

$185. 25 at Amazon

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Okay, this isn’t a flight stick, but why should your hands have all the fun? With the Thrustmaster TFRP Pedals, you can expand your existing HOTAS setup with ergonomic foot pedals to give you smoother and even more precise control. Flying a plane should be a full-body experience. 

Why You Should Game on a PC

Other Video Game Controller Options

  • How to Choose the Best Fight Stick, No Matter Your Budget

  • The Best Video Game Controllers for Every Platform

  • How to Choose the Right Game Controller for Your PC

5 Best HOTAS Controllers for ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’ (2022): Affordable and Luxe Joysticks

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Featured in this article

Best Overall

Logitech G X52 Professional

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$230 $200 at Amazon

Best Budget Option

Logitech G Extreme 3D Pro

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$40 $31 at Amazon

This One Has Controls Like a Small Plane

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight

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$429 at Amazon

This One Is Like a Big Plane Cockpit

Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition

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$190 at Amazon

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4 / 5

The latest edition of the decades-old classic Microsoft Flight Simulator really struck a chord with those of us stuck in our living rooms in the two years (or so) since its release. Playing MFS allows us to float on gentle winds above the earth and free ourselves of those sullen bonds that bind us.

Mind you, MFS (available for Windows and Xbox) is not really a game but rather a realistic flight simulator, which means that staying aloft on those rippling breezes is not easy. One thing that can make the experience more enjoyable is flying your virtual airplane with a set of controls that mirrors the setup a real pilot might use in a real airplane. There are many options for realistic flight controllers, and I looked at several that work well with MFS, including a simple joystick, a few “hands-on throttle and stick” (HOTAS) controllers like those in military jets, and a flight yoke that approximates what you would find on a small aircraft like a Cessna.

My top pick is the Logitech G X52 Pro. It costs over $200, but it is the most solidly constructed, most configurable, and most flexible controller for use with multiple types of planes in MFS and other flight simulators. If you are just dipping your wingtips into the flight simulator world and you want a budget pick, the Logitech G Extreme 3D ($40, frequently on sale for less) is a great choice. It’s a well-built joystick with a slider on the side that works as a throttle control. You don’t get the same realistic feel as the more expensive models, but it’s enough to give you a sense of what flying a real plane is like.

Be sure to check out our other game hardware buying guides, including our favorite wired and wireless headsets, and our favorite game controllers.

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Stock Issues

There’s one caveat: Microsoft Flight Simulator has remained so popular since its release in 2020 that many of these hardware controllers are often out of stock. If you see a recommendation here you want to buy, you may have to wait a week or two for it to become available again. We’ve provided links to retailers that tend to refresh their stock more often, but you still may have to hunt around on your own to find the more popular controllers.

  • Photograph: Logitech

    Best Overall

    Logitech G X52 Professional

    Real pilots control a plane’s throttle using a large sliding lever that makes it easier to quickly throttle up or down. That’s vital in air combat or aerobatics, where throttle control is as important as the stick to maneuvering. This is the idea behind the “hands-on throttle and stick” (HOTAS) approach of controllers like the Logitech G X52 Professional (Rating: 9/10, WIRED Recommends). 

    It comes in two parts: a large, button-encrusted stick and an equally enbuttoned throttle slider. Typically, you use the stick with your right hand and the throttle with your left. The sliding throttle control definitely adds a lot to the experience. You really feel like you are getting things started when you slide the control forward and the engine starts to roar, and it feels much more natural to carefully throttle back when cruising or landing.

    The entirety of the X52 is covered in buttons. There are six buttons, two hats, three toggle switches, and a dial on the stick, plus six buttons, four dials, two hats, and a small slider on the throttle. All of these are illuminated with LEDs, and there is also a safety cover that sits over the main weapons trigger on the stick. Flick the cover open and the trigger button underneath glows a frightening red.

    That trigger might make it obvious that the X52 isn’t really about just flight simulation. It is just at home in air or space combat games like Elite: Dangerous that rely on flying skill and reactions to defeat those pesky aliens. These buttons are great for flight sims as well though. They are all assigned to essential controls by default in MFS, and you can reassign any of them. Even the trigger gets assigned to something: Flick open the cover and press the trigger (which usually fires a missile) and your autopilot is engaged. Pull the finger trigger on the back of the control stick (which usually fires a secondary weapon) and your view changes to the nearest point of interest—usually the airstrip you are trying to land on. With so many buttons at your disposal, you can handle an entire flight without using the keyboard.

    All those buttons can be confusing though. The buttons are labeled, but these don’t correspond with the labels used in MFS. The big button on the top of the throttle slider, for instance, has a big “E” on it, but MFS calls it Joystick Button 8. It’s inconsistent and makes figuring things out harder. In one flight, I accidentally pressed one of the buttons on the throttle that turned the engine off right after takeoff and crashed just off the end of the runway. But at least with this setup, I can try to nail that takeoff again, which I probably wouldn’t be able to do with a real plane.

    $230 $200 at Amazon

  • Photograph: Logitech

    Best Budget Option

    Logitech G Extreme 3D Pro

    The cheapest option I looked at is the Logitech G 3D Extreme Pro joystick (Rating: 8/10, WIRED Recommends). This is a general-purpose joystick designed for gaming as well as flight simulators, but it includes one thing that makes it more suitable for flight sims than most: a slider control on the base that can be used as throttle control. Sure, it feels a little odd to be using a tiny slider to control the throttle of a 747, but it’s much better than hunting for F3 on a keyboard.

    The joystick itself feels rather cheap. The handle has a nice shape, but the all-plastic construction doesn’t feel like it would stand up well to heavy use. It also had a habit of sliding around on my desk as I maneuvered: bigger rubber feet or suckers on the corners would have helped.

    Still, there is no shortage of buttons: six on the base of the joystick, plus the slider control and an additional six on the stick itself. It also has a small hat control (a small finger-controlled joystick) that sits under the thumb, and which moves the pilot view around, so you can look out of the side windows. The buttons on the base are set by default to do things like control the flaps or switch between in-cockpit and external view, while the buttons on top of the joystick do things like control the brakes and change the view. The thumb button in particular resets the screen to the default view out of the front of the cockpit window. It’s useful if you are admiring the landscape and suddenly realize that you are about to collide with it and need to quickly get back to controlling the plane.

    $40 $31 at Amazon

    $40 $35 at Logitech

  • Photograph: Turtle Beach

    This One Has Controls Like a Small Plane

    Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight

    The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight (Rating: 7/10, WIRED Recommends) isn’t a HOTAS in the strict sense of the word. It’s a HOTAY: Hands-on Throttle and Yoke. The VelocityOne includes four throttle controls, vernier levers, a control panel, and a small plane-style yoke. That means it looks roughly like the controls found on light propeller planes, but the system can be used in MFS to control anything from an ultralight craft to a larger jet. It works with both Windows PCs and the Xbox, and it integrates well with Microsoft Flight Simulator on both. You just install the Turtle Beach Control Center on your gaming machine, and the software handles the mapping of the numerous buttons to flight controls.

    The yoke itself feels very solid, with a good level of resistance as you push, pull, and turn it. Although you aren’t going to get the same feel as a real control connected to a plane, it feels solid and tight enough that you instinctively use the light touch and small adjustments that flying needs.

    A small screen and set of controls on the front of the yoke allow you to control the settings directly. You can switch from Xbox to PC mode, save profiles and button assignments, and run a clock to tell you how long you have been flying. There are no foot pedals, but a couple of index finger controls on the front of the yoke are assigned to the rudder, which is usually controlled by the feet in small planes. It’s a compromise, but it works well once you get used to it.

    What you do get are a wide range of controls. There are over 40 separate customizable hat switches, levers, and buttons on this thing, including the 10 on a panel below the throttle axis. As well as a fold-out, stick-on-the-wall poster guide to the default assignments for all of them, the VelocityOne also comes with two sets of labels that can be stuck to the panel buttons. That’s a big help when you are getting started and navigating your way around: no more hunting for a certain control while getting ready to land. Two hat switches (the small finger-controlled joysticks on top of the yoke) control your view, so it is easy to glance out of the window and across the control panel without taking your hands off the yoke.

    As well as these buttons, there is a matrix of 12 LED lights on the front panel that have swappable labels, so you can set up warning and status lights for things like parking brake status, engine fires, or a low-oil-pressure warning. That provides an extra level of realism, but many fliers will rely on the status lights and warnings in the onscreen instrument panel rather than glancing away from the screen. There is also a 3.5-mm headset socket, which means those who like to use a wired headset will have one less cable trailing from PC or Xbox to the controls. It’s also a definite plus for temporary setups and for flying in multiplayer mode, as it means fewer cables when using a headset.

    There’s a lot to like about the VelocityOne. It has a great solid feel to the yoke and offers a veritable smorgasbord of customizable controls. It’s also adaptable: The inclusion of both a pull-knob-style throttle and a sliding lever means that it simulates the controls of both small propellor planes and jets. It’s a worthy investment for the serious flier who wants to get more into the realistic side of flight sims.

    $429 at Amazon

    $380 at Turtle Beach

  • Photograph: Thurstmaster

    This One Is Like a Big Plane Cockpit

    Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition

    Once you’ve mastered the basics of flying the Cessna that MFS starts you in, you’ll want to take on something bigger. The flight sim offers a range of planes, including commercial airliners like the Airbus 320 Neo. That’s where the Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition (Rating: 7/10) comes in. The two-piece controller is styled like the actual instruments that pilots use on real Airbus planes. This pack includes the stick and throttle controls, but you can also add foot pedals and additional throttle controls for extra realism. The control stick offers 12 buttons along the base, plus buttons that can be fitted to either side of the joystick itself: an important option for southpaws, or for simulating the different layouts of the sticks on various real Airbus aircraft. Less authentically, you can add a trigger button to fire missiles at hostile Thargoids.

    The throttle control has two sliders, but because Airbus airplanes are computer-controlled, the throttle works differently. It has several indents that denote the locking positions used in different flight modes. To take off, you set it to TO/GA (Take Off/Go Around) for maximum thrust. While climbing, you set it to CL (Climb). While cruising along, you set it to A/THR (Auto-Thrust), set a speed in the FCU (Flight Control Unit) on the dash, and the computer adjusts the engines to smoothly reach the correct speed. The locking positions can be disabled so it slides like a normal throttle control, which makes it usable with other planes that don’t have this level of computerized pilot assistance.

    The throttle control also includes one thing that many flight sim throttles don’t have: a flight reverser control. When a real pilot lands a commercial aircraft, they engage a thrust reverser that redirects the thrust of the engines forward to slow down. There will usually be a dedicated control for this on the throttle. The TCA Airbus includes this: By pulling up two levers on the front of the slider and moving the throttle fully back, the thrust reverser is engaged to bring you to a stop on the runway.

    As you may have guessed by now, the TCA Airbus is designed to work best with Airbus aircraft, and it does a great job of this, adding a new level of realism for those who want it. However, this makes it less suitable for other planes and games. A more generic control set might be a better pick for gamers and casual fliers.

    $190 at Amazon

    $190 at Microsoft

    $190 at MyPilotStore

Most Popular

Best Computer Joysticks – Model Overview

Classic game joysticks are a type of game controller designed for aviation arcades and simulations, as well as space games. Modern joystick models are unified, so they can work right out of the box with all games that support this type of controller.

Why do you need joysticks for your computer?

The history of aviation has more than a hundred years of exploration, invention and continuous development. Percale was replaced by advanced alloys, and the once slow-moving machines had long since overcome the sound barrier, but one thing remained unchanged – the aircraft control stick. This device is sharpened for a specific task – to provide the pilot with the most natural, comfortable and accurate control of his car. It does not matter whether you are sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet or sitting in a chair at your home computer – your convenience is always the main key to success.

The main part of an aviation joystick is its control knob. When the handle is deflected, a magnetic or resistive sensor registers the position of the joystick, translating this information into binary code and transmitting it to the computer. The deviation sensor is analog, that is, it takes into account not only the direction, but also the force of the deviation. On the joystick itself, as a rule, there are several programmable buttons and a trigger for various types of weapons.

The differences between the joystick models are in the material, reading accuracy, as well as the set of available keys. So, some models of joysticks can rotate around their axis, performing yaw and duplicating the function of the pedals. In addition, modern joystick models include an additional cross, or mini-stick (hat-stick), located under the thumb. On a real plane, he is responsible for choosing weapons, but on a game joystick, you can adjust the hat-stick to your liking. For example, assign the rotation of the game camera to it in order to look around during flights.

Some joystick models come with a motor control stick, or throttle. For arcade games, the presence of a separate throttle does not play a big role, but for serious simulators, the throttle will become an indispensable assistant, since it helps to more accurately control the engine speed and other aircraft units. You do not have to drag the mouse cursor to the virtual toggle switch – all the switches are already at your fingertips.

Aviation joysticks can be used with any game that supports the standardized XInput input protocol. Modern projects work with this protocol by default, you only need to install the driver for your joystick model. But best of all, these devices show themselves in the games for which they were designed – aviation arcades and simulators. Joysticks work equally well with airplanes and helicopters, and the throttle module can function as a STEP-GAS helicopter stick.

In addition, the aviation joystick is a great gift for those who are fond of the world of digital aeronautics, but have not yet decided to buy their own equipment.

How to choose a flight simulator joystick?

When choosing a joystick, you should pay attention to the following characteristics:

Sensor type. Responsible for the durability of the direct joystick mechanism. Classic sensors read the position of the handle using two contacts that move along a resistive substrate. The magnetic mechanism works on the basis of the Hall effect, excluding physical contact and, accordingly, sensor wear. As a rule, the presence of a magnetic sensor is indicated in the description of the model. If this information is missing, then the model most likely uses a classic resistive sensor. Resistive sensors can also serve their owner for many years.

Weight and dimensions. The mass of the joystick affects how stable it will stand on the table. More massive joysticks allow you to implement a more rigid system for returning to the neutral position, eliminating backlash. For arcade games, this indicator will not be so important, since a small backlash can be compensated for by a dead zone. But for simulators, the mass of the joystick and the stiffness of the spring can be crucial.

The presence of a hat-stick and programmable keys. The characteristic speaks for itself – the more buttons, the more additional functions you will have at your fingertips. For arcade games, joysticks with a couple of extra keys are suitable, while serious simulators require much more buttons. Almost all modern joysticks have at least one hat stick – this is quite enough for arcade games and basic simulators without complex weapon systems.

Z-axis available. Turning the joystick along the z axis allows you to control the aircraft along the direction axis during flights and taxiing on the runway. In the absence of a z-axis, this function can be assigned to the hat stick or other keys on your joystick. The Z-Axis is useful when effective directional control requires precise input since this axis is fully analog. Thus, turning the joystick duplicates the function of full-fledged pedals.

Joystick type. Joysticks are divided into military, civilian and universal models. You can easily use the “military” joystick in civilian flight simulators and vice versa. But a suitable model will be more ergonomic for specific types of aircraft. As a rule, professional joysticks follow the shape of the stick, or control stick, of a real aircraft. This feature is indicated in the model name.

Best computer joysticks from IgroRay

Here is a selection of the best joysticks for games of various genres: from complex flight simulators to casual and arcade games. The joysticks presented in the selection are represented by models of different price categories and adapted to different tasks – each of them has its own characteristics and strengths.

Joystick Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog

Hotas Warthog is the flagship model in Thrustmaster’s line of joysticks. The joystick is made in the form of a RUS of a real A-10C Warthog attack aircraft, copying not only the appearance, but also the tactile features of the prototype. All the main elements of the joystick are made of metal, and the neutral return mechanism is equipped with a rigid and reliable spring, typical for combat aircraft. The joystick is mounted on a massive plate, which makes up most of the mass of the device. The plate securely holds the joystick in place, and screw holes are provided for additional fixation. The joystick supports changing the head part to install handles from other aircraft.

Hotas Warthog was developed in close collaboration with the virtual pilot community, taking into account wishes for ergonomics and performance. The joystick sensor is equipped with a magnetic sensor with 65,000 degrees of deflection on each axis. The virtual pilot has access to the release key, brake lever, four additional keys and four hat-sticks. In accordance with the HOTAS concept, the buttons are spaced across the entire surface of the joystick, allowing you to control the aircraft without taking your hands off the handles.

Joystick Thrustmaster Warthog Dual Throttle

The Warthog Dual Throttle is Warthog’s signature engine control knob. The device can be used with Thrustmaster Warthog peripherals or any other computer joysticks. To reduce the number of wires, the unit has a connector for connecting branded pedals. The mass of the block is approximately 4 kilograms, thanks to which the device stands securely on the table even with active maneuvers.

The pilot has 17 keys available, including 6 illuminated functional toggle switches, a slider, 2 hat sticks and 1 full mini joystick. Like on a real aircraft, the direct throttle of this model is divided into two independent parts connected by a switch. If necessary, you can separate the throttle by installing independent thrust for the engines on the port and starboard sides. This feature will be useful for any twin-engine aircraft, including civilian ships, fighters and, of course, the A-10C itself, on the basis of which the Thrustmaster throttle was designed.

Thrustmaster T-16000M FCS Flight Pack

The T-16000M joystick is based on the proven Thrustmaster design. Among the innovations is a modern sensor based on a magnetic sensor. The joystick does not copy the design of real RSS, thanks to which the ergonomics of the T-16000M turned out to be as versatile as possible. The package includes interchangeable pads for the left and right hand. The joystick is equipped with a weapon trigger and hat stick, three thumb keys, as well as a small motor control knob and 12 programmable keys located on the base stand. The RUS supports z-axis rotation. Thanks to interchangeable nozzles, the T-16000M allows you to assemble a mirror circuit from two joysticks, which will be useful for space simulators.

In addition to the joystick itself, the Flight Pack includes a HOTAS standard throttle and external pedals. The ore is built according to a linear scheme. On the back side of the handle is a full-fledged mini-joystick with a click function, two keys, as well as on/off and rotary switches. On the lower part there are petals-pedals that can perform the function of yaw. On the right side, just below the thumb, there is another button and 3 hat sticks. On the back side of the stand there is a connector for connecting complete pedals. The pedals of the set are equipped with a full-size platform for placing the foot. The pedals move linearly on four metal rails for a secure and smooth ride.

Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus edition ww version

The Thrustmaster set for civil aviation is made in the image and likeness of the Airbus A320 controls. The kit includes an aircraft control stick, as well as a signature throttle block with dual levers. The components of the kit are made of durable plastic and painted in Airbus signature blue. The set has good visual and functional detail. The modular design of the kit allows you to customize the joystick components by adding new and removing unnecessary modules.

In addition to the joystick, the Officer Pack includes a branded engine control stick with independent switches for two engines. On the reverse side of the handle there are petals for turning on the reverse thrust. The control knobs are equipped with a distinct fixation in five positions. The throttle base is equipped with physical toggle switches for starting the engines – everything is just like on the real A320.

Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition ww version

Thrustmaster’s Airbus TCA joystick replicates the look and feel of the signature Airbus A320 sidestick. The ergonomics of the joystick are fully mirrored, making the control stick comfortable to use with both right and left hands. The package includes a pair of additional button blocks, with which you can mirror the control in accordance with the configuration of the co-pilot. The joystick mechanism uses a classic resistive sensor.

The joystick supports all basic functions: index finger trigger, brake lever, hat stick and two modular buttons. There are 12 programmable keys on the joystick base, as well as a small engine control knob with a thrust reverser function. The joystick supports z-axis rotation. When using pedals, the additional axle can be locked with a switch.

Joystick Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition ww

The Quadrant kit includes add-on modules for Thrustmaster TCA Airbus throttles. The kit includes two side modules with mechanization switches – a flap handle on the right and an aerodynamic brake handle on the left side. The switches are fixed in four positions. The base stands also house the brake switches, parking brake, landing gear handle and yaw trim.

Joystick Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas 4 official EMEA

T-Flight Hotas 4 from Thrustmaster is a universal joystick for all types of flight simulators. The joystick is represented by a set of two components – a direct RSS and a throttle block. Set blocks can be used as a single module or placed separately from each other. The joystick uses a resistive sensor and supports z-axis rotation. The pilot has access to a trigger, two switches and a hat stick. At the bottom of the handle is a platform for comfortable placement of the hand.

The throttle from the set is built according to the classical radial scheme. On the right side are four programmable thumb keys. On the back of the handle there are two additional buttons, as well as a rocker petal that duplicates the functions of the pedals. The throttle is equipped with a soft fixation in the middle position.

All models listed in the selection are available for order in the IgroRay online store today. The rich catalog of “IgroRay” has a lot of aviation joysticks of various types, from various manufacturers and a suitable price segment.

The aviation joystick is the most important part of immersion in the limitless world of virtual piloting. Holding professional equipment in your hands, you fly the aircraft in the same way as real pilots and civil aviation pilots do. It is tactile sensations and realism of control that allow you to personally touch the endless expanse of the Fifth Ocean, bringing the most sincere emotions.

Best Flight Simulator Joysticks – Flying in full control

If you are a fan of flight simulators, you probably play them with a joystick. What is the best game controller on the market? Well, it’s pretty hard to say for sure. There are many different designs and not all users prefer the same setup.

Some people like simple joysticks without a separate throttle. Others will prefer HOTAS installations. Still others prefer a combination of joystick and keyboard. For them, the simpler the joystick, the better. There are also users who have a combination of joystick and computer mouse. Then they need a “stick with a bunch of buttons.”

We have included both high-end HOTAS and joysticks (do not mix them with combat joysticks) without a separate throttle control. They come in different price ranges and you should be able to find the best flight sim joystick no matter your budget. Let’s start.

Best Flight Simulator Joysticks

  1. Thrustmaster T16000M FCS HOTAS – excellent joystick with symmetrical design

    Thrustmaster T16000M is a relatively affordable HOTAS joystick that is ideal for left-handers. It has a double sided design. In addition to the convenience for left-handers, this joystick offers many other goodies. 16 programmable action buttons, z-axis rotation, 8-way POV hat, and plenty of buttons, sliders, and other controls.

    Build quality is lower than the Logitech model, but the price is not high. This is the perfect joystick for those who want full HOTAS customization but don’t want to pay a fortune for it. It looks a bit flimsy with those orange details, and it could be a bit more sturdy, but other than that it’s one of the best PC joysticks out there that won’t blow your bill.

    What we like :

    • Programmable control set
    • Throttle has many buttons for complex flight simulations
    • Dual-sided joystick design
    • 16 action buttons
    • 4 independent axes including Z-axis rotation
    • Relatively affordable

    What disappointed us :

    • The design is a bit flimsy
    • Build quality could be better
  2. Logitech G X56 H.

    O.T.A.S. RGB – the best joystick HOTAS

    The Logitech G X56 is an excellent HOTAS joystick. It features plenty of programmable buttons and excellent throttle control.

    You can unlock the throttle and use it to separately control the left and right motors. The throttle has multiple switches for a total of 31 programmable buttons. Since you can switch between profiles, the total number of programmable controls is almost 200.

    Build quality is good, but not great. First, despite the large number of metal parts, the throttle and joystick are not completely made of metal. Besides, the whole setup is too easy. But, the setup seems solid and should last a long time.

    What we love :

    • Incredible number of buttons and switches
    • Throttle control excellent
    • Adjustable handle tension
    • Great design
    • 31 programmable buttons
    • RGB lighting

    What disappointed us :

    • Handle and throttle not entirely made of metal
    • Slightly light
    • May be confusing for inexperienced users
  3. Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick PC – A Reliable PC Solution

    Thrustmaster Warthog Flight Stick is the best flight stick you can buy, period. It has impeccable build quality, is a replica of the A-10C Thunderbolt II joystick, and looks amazing. The handle is completely made of metal, so you can be sure that it will last a long time. It also features excellent accuracy and plenty of buttons.

    You have 19 joystick action buttons, but that’s not all. There is also one 8-position POV hat, 2 additional hats, metal double trigger, 2 Pinkie buttons. It’s great for die-hard fans, but the complexity of the joystick’s design can put off newcomers.

    Another small flaw is the lack of Z-axis rotation, but this is due to the original design of the Thunderbolt joystick. Pair this stick with a quality throttle and yaw pedal (there’s a kit containing this stick and dual throttle) and you have the perfect HOTAS system.

    What we like :

    • Hefty and durable
    • Superb build quality
    • Numerous programmable controls
    • Very accurate
    • Completely made of metal
    • 19 action buttons
    • Replica A-10C Thunderbolt II Flight Stick

    What disappointed us :

    • Dear
    • Too difficult for beginners
    • Does not include Z axis rotation
  4. CH Products 200-571 Fighterstick USB – high quality flying stick

    If you’re looking for a quality joystick but aren’t prepared to spend a fortune on a Warthog, check out the CH Products 200-571 Fighterstick . The brand is not known to a wide audience, because the portfolio of CH Products is mainly professional equipment for the most hardcore flight simulators.

    This joystick doesn’t look very good and its design is not particularly exciting or attractive. But, the characteristics of this joystick are excellent. It is very precise and includes 24 buttons. With different profiles, the number of programmable controls reaches 132.

    Based on the F-16 flight handle with a Kevlar reinforced plastic body and handle that will last for years. The joystick does not support Z-axis rotation, but the accuracy is excellent.

    What we liked :

    • Excellent control
    • Excellent build quality
    • 24 programmable buttons
    • Based on F-16 flight stick
    • 132 programmable functions

    What disappointed us :

    • Unimpressive design
    • No Z axis rotation
  5. Logitech Extreme 3D Pro is the best budget flying stick

    The Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick is the ideal starting point for all flight simulators. This joystick features a solid build, more than enough programmable buttons, a quality grip and an 8-position hat. The design is a little immature and the color choices are limited, but don’t let that fool you. This is a great budget solution.

    The base is extra wide for excellent stability. The button layout is excellent, and there’s also Z-axis rotation for easy rudder control. The quick-fire trigger is perfect for dogfight simulations, and there’s also a throttle regulator located on the base. All in all, this is a great starter stick, perfect for games with a lot of dogfights like War Thunder.

    What we liked :

    • Robust design
    • Excellent stability
    • Ideal for beginners
    • Available
    • Z axis rotation
    • 12 action buttons
    • Throttle valve kit

    What disappointed us :

    • Not for experienced flight simulator fans
  6. Gladiator NXT – the best mid-range joystick

    Gladiator NXT 9The 0130 is a mid-range joystick that is ideal for flight sim enthusiasts who don’t want to use two-handed control circuits or just don’t have the space to install them. It comes with a double action trigger, three head switches, four buttons and a base with a throttle wheel and other extra buttons.


    Stick also features programmable RGB LEDs that can be turned off. In terms of design, the joystick itself looks good, but the base is a bit chunky as it houses a lot of controls. On the contrary, the build quality is excellent. It is also worth noting that the joystick comes with modular accessories that allow you to swap certain controls.

    What we like :

    • One-stop solution including joystick and throttle control
    • Solid price
    • Excellent build quality
    • Wide range of controls
    • Double action trigger
    • Seven programmable buttons
    • 3 hat switches

    What disappointed us :

    • The base is rather chunky

How to choose the best joystick

Choosing the best joystick for your needs can be daunting. It’s definitely more difficult than choosing a regular PC controller or a racing wheel. After all, the market is filled with different models that come with many different features. What’s more, your favorite games may prefer different joysticks. The best joystick for Star Citizen or Elite Dangerous doesn’t have to be the best for War Thunder.

Also, if you’re new to the world of flight simulators, it’s probably better to get a simple but trustworthy model that doesn’t cost a fortune before spending a fortune on more advanced models. Models that cost the same as a high-performance gaming processor or graphics card.

Also, some gamers prefer to use a joystick and mouse or keyboard instead of the traditional HOTAS setup (hands on throttle and joystick).

Let’s discuss the important features to look out for when buying the best joystick for your needs.

Determine your budget

This is the first thing you should do. Determine the maximum amount of money you want to spend on a joystick because some models cost a fortune. And once you have a budget in mind, it will be easier for you to choose the joystick that best suits your needs.

Check out some budget and high end models for average prices and then you can set an upper limit for your budget. But, as always, it is wise not to set a strict budget. Leave some leeway (10-20 percent) if you find a really cool joystick that’s a little over your budget.

Decide if you need a HOTAS setting or not

The HOTAS (Hands on Throttle and Stick) setting is the most popular setting in many flight simulators. This allows users to precisely control both elements. But, not all games require a separate throttle regulator. In some cases, you can use your flash drive along with a mouse or keyboard. There is also a setup that uses two joysticks.

If you are new to the world of flight simulators, you can get a joystick with a throttle control built into the base of the joystick. This way you will be able to control the throttle without paying extra or complicating the control circuit.

Detachable throttle not only improves control precision, but also enhances immersion and adds naturalness to flight controls. In addition, a separate throttle allows more buttons and switches to be added to the setup, which is important for some games. For example, Elite Dangerous has a ton of controls and prefers joysticks with lots of buttons and switches.

If you decide you need a HOTAS setup, make sure the throttle has plenty of travel for finer control of acceleration and power delivery. In addition, the throttle must have a certain level of resistance so that you do not increase or decrease the fuel supply in case of an accident.

Decide how many buttons you need

As we said, some flight simulators are relatively simple, while others include a ton of different controls. The best joystick for Flight Simulator will not be the best joystick for Freelancer or Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw. The former is a complex simulation that favors HOTAS settings with lots of buttons and switches, while the last two games are relatively simple games that can be played with budget joysticks.

If you like complex flight simulators and only occasionally dabble in arcade space shooters or flying games, then a HOTAS joystick with many buttons and switches is much preferable. On the other hand, if you’re into arcade flying games, you’ll probably want a simple but high-quality joystick with a few buttons. But, even then, there is a lower limit to the number of buttons you should aim for. A hat switch and about 10 buttons should be enough for most arcade games.

Some joysticks allow you to rotate the Z axis

Most joysticks allow users to control two axes, X and Y. This allows you to control pitch and roll (up, down, left and right). But some joysticks are equipped with Z-axis control. By turning the stick knob left and right, you can control the yaw.

Avid fans of flight simulators prefer special foot pedals to control the rudders. But, if you want yaw control and don’t want to add complexity by adding a foot pedal, or just want to save money, it’s better to get a joystick with z-axis rotation. 0003

Ambidextrous Joysticks

Lefties can make a huge mistake buying a joystick that is not symmetrical. Most joysticks are designed for right-handers. If you want to operate the joystick with your left hand, look for joystick models with a symmetrical grip.

In addition, most HOTAS joysticks are designed for right-handers. This means that the joystick is controlled by the right hand, and the throttle is controlled by the left. If you’re left-handed, you should look for a symmetrical design or learn how to use a HOTAS setup meant for right-handed users.

Can the joystick be used with consoles?

Most joysticks are designed to work with PC only, since most flight simulators are made exclusively for PC. But, if you want to play on consoles (like Ace Combat or Elite Dangerous), make sure the joystick you want to buy is compatible with PS4 and/or Xbox One.

Try the joystick before you buy

Finally, if you can try the joystick you want before you buy, that would be great.