Flight simulator controls are an integral part of the experience of flight. You can have all the fancy graphics and elaborate cockpit instrumentation you like, but if your controls are not up to scratch then it is impossible to get into the simulation. Anyone who has ever used a good steering wheel with a driving game understands this.
Flight simulator hardware varies a great deal, and you have a wide range of choices from the basic to the very elaborate. In this article, we are going to look at some of the main features you might expect of different controllers and consider whether they are needed.
Flight Simulator Controls: Joysticks
The joystick you use is your main interaction with the aircraft, and as such, it is of paramount importance. There is a vast difference between the cheaper joysticks and the more advanced ones intended for flight simulator game enthusiasts. The more elaborate joysticks have a much smoother feel, for one thing, with no awkward dead-zones or clunks through their range of travel. They also usually have more buttons, which can be very useful if you want to keep your hands off the keyboard. One final option to consider is force-feedback, which can accurately simulate having an aircraft fight back at you during bad weather or dangerous maneuvers.
Flight Simulator Controls: Throttles and Pedals
Used primarily for controlling power and yaw, a good set of throttle and pedals can complete the experience of flying a real aircraft. Any good flight simulator controller gives you options, and the more advanced throttles give you plenty of that, with buttons galore. These buttons can be programmed to operate any command you like, from launching missiles to varying the radar sweep to lowering the landing gear. With a full set of flight simulator gear, including a stick, a throttle and some rudder pedals, you can become fully immersed in the experience and keep your hands off the keyboard and mouse.
The importance of a good set of Flight Simulator Controls
Flight simulator controls are some of the most important components of having a good time with flight simulators. If you are currently attempting to use a keyboard to fly then it is definitely worth upgrading to an inexpensive joystick. If you are an intermediate pilot and would like to take your game to the next level, consider looking for a full set of flight simulator hardware to round out your experience. With good flight simulator gear, the sensations of drama and realism are enhanced so much that you will never want to go back.